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Vox AC-30: The TRUE sound of British Rock'N'Roll

Published: Thu September 10, 2009  News Feed

2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the most legendary British amp ever made: the Vox AC-30. Used by everyone from 60's bands such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones, to acts such as Queen, U2 and new bands such as Oasis, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, no other amp has put its mark on British rock music as the Vox AC-30 has.

Vox AC-30 Amps - the genuine sound of British Rock'n'roll

Vox AC-30: the classic sound of British rock! Buy Now Buy Now

The Vox AC30 was created in 1958 as “big brother” for the fifteen watt AC15 model, Vox's original flagship amplifier. An article from the current issue of Total Guitar magazine describes how Hank Marvin, the guitarist in Cliff Richard's band The Shadows, asked Vox to create a louder amp, so his guitar could be heard above the deafening noise of Cliff's screaming, pubescent audience. Thus was born the ultimate British valve amp, launched in 1959 to great acclaim. The AC30 is one of the most recorded guitar amplifiers in rock history, not surprising given its universally acclaimed warmth and three-dimensional tonal character. What is slightly surprising is that it seems to have lost none of popularity over the years, quite the reverse in fact.

With a number of modern enhancements including blendable channels, a true bypass FX loop, spring reverb and master volume, to name just a few, the new AC30 Custom Classic is an evolution of the original that is sure to become a classic in its own right.

Models Available:

Vox AC30CC1 - Custom Classic 1x 12" speaker

best priceVOX AC30 CC1 (1x 12" speaker) £759

VOX has taken the best AC30 designs and added a number of useful, very cool features to create the AC30CC1, the most tonally flexible and affordable AC30 to date!

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Vox AC30 CC2 - Custom Classic, 2x 12" speakers

most popularVOX AC30 CC2 (2x 12" speakers) £799

The AC30 CC2 updates the legendary amp with new and improved features - a guitarist's dream amp, no less!

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Vox AC30 CC2X Custom Classic with 2x 12" Celestion Blue Alnico speakers

boutique modelVOX AC30 CC2X Custom Classic (2x 12" Celestion Blue Alnico speakers) £1299

The VOX AC30CC2X uses the same circuits as the original VOX AC30 with the Top Boost channel, preserving the authenticity and tone of the original's circuit. Even the original components were copied when possible

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Vox AC30H2, Heritage Series

Best AC30!VOX AC30H2, Heritage Series (Hand-wired) £1399

Your search for the Holy Grail of VOX tone ends here. This amp transports you through the golden age of VOX tone, combining the prized EF86 preamp channel of 1958 with the 1963 Top Boost channel all in one amplifier, and the result is perhaps the finest VOX amplifier in the company's 50 year history.

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Prices still too dear for your budget? You can still get a classic Vox valve tone with the new, all-valve 5w amp Vox AC4 TV for only £169! Also available as a limited-edition Vox AC4 TV with 8" speaker, only £159! ALSO AVAILABLE: Vox AC4 Head, only £195.

A bit of history:

When the Vox AC-30 was launched, it didn't take long for it to become the amp of choice for British rock bands, used by everyone from The Beatles (both George and John had AC-30s) to the Rolling Stones - and most other British Invasion bands who followed. Keith Richards said: "The Vox AC-30 is the best all-round British amp of all time, without a doubt."

The Beatles and their AC-30 amps...

The Beatles and their AC-30 amps...

The Rolling Stones with their AC-30sJeff Beck in his Yardbirds days, with Vox AC30

The Rolling Stones (left) and Jeff Beck in the Yardbirds: defining sixties rock with AC-30s...

The AC-30 is an amp suited for most styles of music: Jeff Beck(in The Yardbirds) helped to invent garage and psych-rock with the help of a fuzz pedal and a Vox AC-30; Marc Bolan recorded some of the most enduring Glam Rock songs with it; Rory Gallagher helped to define 70's Blues Rock with an AC-30; Brian May used AC30s (lots of them!) in Queen; Paul Weller kick-started a mod revival with his punk band The Jam and trusty Vox AC-30s, and The Edge of stadium rockers U2  still swears by his old AC-30.

Brian May and lots of AC30s...

Brian May and lots of AC30s...

Marc Bolan The Edge and his trusty old Vox Ac-30

Marc Bolan of T-Rex (left) and U2. The AC30 was essential to their sound

Metal-heads be warned! The Vox AC-30 is not the ideal choice for crunchy, hi-gain tones. But, even so, Kirk Hammet of metal gods Metallica also fell in love with the sound of a Vox AC-30 and used it in the studio for the Load and Reload albums. He said: "I was also impressed with the Vox AC30, I didn't really know how good that was before."

Today, despite the popularity of many great amps (by Fender, Marshall, Orange or Hiwatt, for instance) it's still the Vox AC-30 that is used, live or in the studio, by many of the biggest new British rock acts, crowning the Vox AC-30 as the classic Bristish rock'n'roll amp - as popular now as ever, having helped to shape the sound of some of the finest rock songs of the past 50 years!

Since the 90's, the Vox AC-30 has been as essential to the new generation of British bands as it was in the 60's. Bands who use/ have used AC-30 amps include Britpop legends such as Oasis, Suede, The Verve and Radiohead.

All three Radiohead guitarists use AC30s

All three Radiohead guitarists use AC30s

Noel Gallagher Bernard Butler of Suede

Noel Gallagher of Oasis (left) and Bernard Butler of Suede

In the 2000's, after a few years of the UK music scene being dominated by US-acts like the Strokes and White Stripes, The Libertines started a British rock revival with Vox AC-30s and became the most influential new English band of the decade. Since then, acts who have used AC-30s include Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Razorlight,  The Kooks, Babyshambles, Mystery Jets and many, many others...

And on the other side of the Atlantic, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters is perhaps the most famous Vox AC-30 user. He told Total Guitar: "We used an AC30 on pretty much everything. You can go clean, dirty, bright or fat."

The Libertines, with Vox AC30s

The Libertines, with Vox AC30s

Arctic Monkeys kasabian

Arctic Monkeys (left) and Kasabian, also using the trustworthy Vox AC30

The Vox AC-30 saga continues, and there's no question it'll help to define rock for many years to come. The question is - have you discovered how amazing this amp is yet? If not, check the models we have in stock and step into rock'n'roll history!

Related Products

VOX AC4TV Tube Practice Guitar Amplifier Combo

This up-to-date Class A version retains the distinctive EL84 power tube of the original and features a 12AX7 powered pre-amp, all driving a custom-made Celestion 10 inch speaker. The sophisticated sound is unmistakably VOX, delivering that distinctively British top-end tone.

Simple and sexy, the AC4TV wears its pedigree proudly. The cabinetry features the same “TV” front…

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