1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

1965 VOX Phantom IV Clones, two of them to menace.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dadagoboi, Jun 29, 2014.


  1. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    A long time ago I posted on a TB thread about the variations between early British Phantoms and middle/ late Italian ones. I owned an Italian 1970 model, it wasn't a very good bass, neck dive and bad trussrod made it unplayable. So I switched to TBirds. About 8 years ago, I came across this one. English with Cheney rectangular case, flame maple 1.75 wide neck, ebony fretboard and perfect balance. Plus two loud UK single coils, unlike the anemic EKO ones.

    P1060442P_zpsf617d77f.

    SUPPOSEDLY it was designed with help of students at the London School of Art around 1962 or '63 and went on sale in bass and guitar form in '64. I like the shape a lot. Many people don't and if they ever played one like my '70 I understand why. But this particular bass proves you can design something strange and/modern minimalist that is ergonomic and sounds good.

    A customer contacted me last month because of that old TB thread and asked me to build him one. Building two is only slightly more work than one so I decided to build a pair and keep one. Customer's will be maple body, mine basswood. Both will have maple/ebony AP necks with Cataldo headstock. Single ThunderBucker 'S' for customer, a pair of modded 62 Jazz reissues for me. Both will be white.
     
  2. randyripoff

    randyripoff

    Jul 12, 2008
    Chicago
    Awesome. I'll be following along.
     
    dukeorock and Dadagoboi like this.
  3. Splods

    Splods

    Oct 7, 2012
    Adelaide, SA
    I've played the Chinese RI of the portable ones with the speaker in the body. Really fun bass to play, and the neck was awesome.

    Subscribed
     
    dukeorock and Dadagoboi like this.
  4. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Love the VOX Phantom - I wanted a white one (like Fang - Paul Revere & the Raiders) but none were to be found in my town and besides, I wouldn't have been able to afford one back then anyway. I ended up buying a used VOX Cougar instead. Will definitely follow this thread. The one you posted looks like it has a less pencil-thin neck than the Italian ones - more P bass-like (at least at the nut?)
     
  5. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Somebody posted one of these under "ugliest bass" heading, which I gather is a forum no no. I actually like them, kind of a Jetsons appeal. I'm guessing they can't be played comfortably sitting down? Didn't Brian Jones from the Stones play one of these in a guitar version?
     
    blindrabbit likes this.
  6. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Brian Jones played a white non-standard 2 pu Mk IV (teardrop) VOX. Ian Curtis of Joy Division played a white '65 Phantom Special in '79, and Tony Hicks of The Hollies played a 12 string version in '65.
     
    blindrabbit likes this.
  7. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Nice to see there are some Phantom fans! Yeah, not too easy to play sitting down but coolness factor is off the chart IMO. The neck is very much like a '51 Precision neck, chunky profile, square heel, small frets and 1.75 inches at the nut. Not as much taper, 1.375 at the heel. Nothing like the EKO pencil necks. Bridge is also very similar to the original Fender 'threaded saddle' bridges'
    P1060453P_zps48894b7a.

    I got some 1-3/4"x 9 " wide soft maple. First step is the jointer for preliminary edge straightening.
    P1060454_zpsa4aa9fd2.

    Then figuring the cuts with pattern folded on the center line. Saves a little wood this way.
    P1060459_zps8cff4ce1.

    P1060458_zpsedb61e51.

    Cutting with Bosch jig saw.
    P1060456_zps9dcda53c.

    After final jointing, glue up with Titebond. Bandsawn notches keep the clamps from creeping on the angled cuts. Clamps alternate side to side to equalize pressure.
    P1060457_zps90a53bed.

    The '65 Phantom body weighs 4.6 lbs and the bass balances well. The glued up blank weighs 8+, too heavy. I decided to thin it down.
    I only have an 8" planer and no wide belt sander. Solution is to use the pin router. I attached 'batter boards to the sides of the blank flush to the bottom and made 3 passes of about 3/32 inch
    P1060460_zpsd3879275.

    P1060461_zpsc5dbba72.

    Next step is cutting neck pockets.
     
    theFixer, Remyd and JIO like this.
  8. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    What year is your black one, what is the body wood, and finally how much does the whole bass weigh?
     
  9. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Neck says Jan 1965. Some sort of mahogany, not Honduras, maybe Phillipine. I think total weight is around 8 lbs, it's currently disassembled. Both of the clones should be very close to that. Goal is as light as possible with good balance. The Italian bodies are also some sort of mahogany, probably an African species and very light. Major neck dive on my 1970.
     
    theFixer and JIO like this.
  10. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    I made this maple teardrop in homage to the Vox w/a ebony-board fretless J neck - not especially light at 9.3 lbs but it has a nice deep/rich tone & balances well.

    IMG_5534.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
    theFixer, RedVee, blindrabbit and 8 others like this.
  11. randyripoff

    randyripoff

    Jul 12, 2008
    Chicago
    That's pretty sweet.
     
    JIO likes this.
  12. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Beautiful work, Jio!
    Neck pocket time. I use my pin router with my standard template I modified to get a very tight pocket. The depth cuts are made in two passes with flaps down. The final one pas perimiter cut is made with the flaps up and the pin just kissing the sides of the template.
    P1060468_zpsdbf182e2.

    P1060468A_zpsd8d9bf3f.

    The router is old and needs all the help it can get. Here's the results
    P1060468C_zpsa499efcf.

    P1060468B_zps13f83e65.

    The pickguard takes up most of the body and the bridge screws go though it so it's next. Usually I'd just remove the electronics from the original and trace it. But almost 50 years have made getting the knobs off the pots impossible. My solution is to cut out around the pots, etc. so I can get the file folder flush with the pickguard.
    P1060475_zpseec71ed9.

    Then I can trace everything
    P1060476_zps57bfd43a.

    Cut out taped back in place.
    P1060477_zpsfbec60f8.

    There's tape under the template so sharpie will show up. Screw holes are marked with spring punch.
    P1060491_zpsf3b588b4.

    Centerline is very important on these! If you look closely you can see marks made by spring punch
    P1060492_zps4c74aa46.

    After holes are drilled in the pickguard it gets mounted on the body and neck pocket area gets trimmed with router and bearing bit. Then 3TPI bandsaw blade makes quick work of the rest.
    P1060480_zps0074b9d0.

    Template attached to body. One screw in the neck pocket, one where the bridge will cover it.
    P1060484_zpsf1d42c22.

    Bandsawing close to the line. 3TPI, the only blade you'll ever need!
    P1060485_zps88cb0b90.

    The clones, basswood is bandsawn, maple is next. All major measurements are done. Since the top one will be mine it gets a recycled neck.
    P1060502_zpsbf3bf0ca.
    Perimeter routing, body contouring and electronics cavity are next.
     
    theFixer, PaulNYC, JIO and 1 other person like this.
  13. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    Thanks! Nice work on that neck pocket! (can you say… tight?) It's fun seeing your process - I've reverse-engineered stuff like that! I like the black pg - did VOX ever make black Phantoms?
     
  14. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    Toronto
    This is looking really good Carlo., especially the version with the white pickguard and your headstock on it. Can't wait to see it finished.

    Might just have to order one for myself.

    TD
     
    Dadagoboi likes this.
  15. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    That red Honda is looking a bit dusty… :rolleyes:
     
  16. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Thanks, TD. Love to build one for you! Both of these will have Cataldo headstocks but I'd also do a Vox one.
    Not as dusty as the black Ducati Monster next to it. AFAIK Vox only did white Phantom bass pickguards but they did do black for the guitars.


    Trim time.
    P1060507_zps378f7484.

    My other bodies are a maximum of 1.5 inches thick so one pass of the router bit does the job. These are 1.75 so I trim the rest with trim router and bearing bit.
    P1060506_zpsacaa95b6.

    Control cavity template. Switch circle cut with forstener bit, the rest of template is done with bandsaw, cutting and nibbling. Bandsaw entry cut doesn't cause a problem because router guide is .5 inch diameter. One screw hole gets covered by the neck plate, the other will need to be filled.
    P1060508_zpsc005c34b.

    I made the cuts deeper in the maple body to lighten it up.
    P1060510_zpsc62dc3f8.

    Shark Pull saw does a great job of cutting the bevels. Following the top line for .25 inch then the side line for .25 inch and going back and forth gives a very straight line.
    P1060512_zpsee639d81.

    P1060513_zpsb6b84ce5.

    Files keep the line crisp better than sandpaper IMO.
    P1060514_zpsa396ed07.

    This bad boy makes quick work of the belly cut. Out of production Porter Cable 4x24. Bought off Ebay for $95...note feeble dust collection attempt.
    P1060515_zpsa4961940.

    Files again plus 60 grit sandpaper. The flat handle thing in the background is a 'file card' for cleaning file teeth.
    P1060516_zpsaf2fa56f.

    Belly cut on the maple is deeper to get the weight down. This is before finish filing and sanding.
    P1060517_zpsfa947cc0.

    Trussrod access cut with small dremel drum. With another Porter Cable workhorse, 330 Speed Block sander.
    P1060520_zpscc361ff2.

    Closest I could come to Vox style knobs. These are chromed brass strat style by Schaller. All Parts sells them.
    P1060523_zps4afde3b2.
     
  17. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Here's the comparison between the aluminum Phantom knobs and the chrome Schallers. I drilled a .25 inch hole in the side of one and ground an aluminum rod to emulate the original 2 position switch control, bridge OR neck, not both. Mine will have a 6 position: Off/Bridge/both parallel/both series/Neck/Off.
    P1060545_zpscdba919a.

    First pickup cover attempt.
    P1060564_zpsfd27b485.

    Took a standard cover, shortened it and took off the mounting ears, then glued 1mm styrene to it. The top bobbin plates had to be trimmed on a '62 Fender Reissue Jazz set. Cut down .75 aluminum channel makes the carrier.

    Came out fairly well but I've decided to use a pair of Duncan SCPB-3 Quarter Pounders which are basically what Vox used on the originals. Copies of Fender 1st generation Precision pickups but with .25 inch magnets...around 40 years before Seymour came up with the idea. I'll scratch build the covers from 2mm styrene.
     
    theFixer, Splods, JIO and 1 other person like this.
  18. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Pickup route gets done with pickguard in place. Top bearing rides on the pickup ring....I'm cheap but notice the tools that count are all USA Porter Cables, mostly bought used.
    P1060527_zps3830e429.

    Centerline and outside limit lines on making tape for proper pup location.
    P1060528_zps16711609.

    Cataldo headstock template.
    P1060529_zpscfcb523d.

    2 minutes with the 3 teeth per inch bandsaw blade. Tight radius is 'nibbled', standard bandsaw trick.
    P1060532_zps30a68d70.

    5 minutes with oscillating spindle sander.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-oscillating-spindle-sander-69257.html
    P1060535_zpsd7f540f8.

    Pickup cover is a nickel dummy, real one will be chrome to match the rest of the hardware. High mass bridge, pickguard, and knobs still have plastic on them. If the weather holds up I should have this one painted by the end of the week.
    SOL_zpsec379f9a.
     
  19. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Weather is cooperating. With A/C running from 7AM to 2PM, temp in the shop is 82F with 55% humidity. Not bad for the swamp in July.

    Sanded to 180, heavy sealer coat, application of lacquer putty to fill dings, etc. Sanded 2 hours later with 240, heavy sealer coat. Sanded one hour later with 320. ready for primer coat.
    P1060568P_zpsfd92a2f0.

    If everything goes well and the weather holds I might be able to finish the painting tomorrow.
     
    theFixer and vmabus like this.
  20. Are you going black on black with one of these? Because a black on black Phantom would look *very* cool methinks.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.