The JMI Years
He adds, “It was amazing how proprietary
many of the engineers were. Some stories
‘evolved’ as a level of trust was built up.
Everyone was very gracious about working
their schedules around mine, and also in sharing their photos and other materials. The biggest problem was that so many of them had
lost their photo scrapbooks in fires years ago.”
Somehow in all those travels, Elyea still ended
up receiving a great deal of technical information, and copies of schematics from former
engineers and salespeople who were eager
to share them. “Most of the rest came from
the attic at 119 Dartford Road,” he says. “It
took me two years to talk my way up there,
and when I finally went up there, I was able to
The portfolio has its own index and comes
with no less than 70 pristine schematics for
everything from small tube amp designs to
hybrid amps to powerful solid-state circuits,
including effects and the Top Boost circuit.
“To restore them,” Elyea says, “we had three
artists going full-time for several months.
They didn’t re-draw anything, but instead,
just cleaned up what was already there on a
previous version. I am very proud of how the
restored schematics look. They are actually
usable once again. Korg was also very kind to
allow the use of what are their designs.”
The treasure trove of technical data and
know-how the book accumulates and organizes has already found a hungry audience.
The next book might take a while, but that’s
okay. We’re going to take our time with this one.
The stand-alone, 682-page Standard edition
is published by the History for Hire Press,
and retails for $85. The Deluxe Edition, which
comes with the Vox Schematic Portfolio and
a slipcase designed to look like a Fawn AC30
Twin in a green, Vinyde cover, retails for $150.
The first thousand of these are numbered and
signed by the author.
Here’s a summary of
the book’s contents:
In 12 chapters, Section 1 details the history of JMI and Vox in pictures, and in the
words of those who were there.
In 18 chapters, Section 2 investigates
every physical aspect of the amplifiers
themselves, from cabinets and control
knobs to valves and vent covers, and all
elements in between—this section features loads of charts and timelines.
In 4 chapters, Section 3 treats the design,
manufacturing and promotional history
come back with some fantastic information.”
As plenty of afficionados (who’ve had to
rely on their own resources to dig them up
for decades) can tell you, many vintage Vox
schematics are now rare, and quite hard to
find. Often extremely poor copies, unreadable in some places, have circulated for lack
of anything to replace them. Elyea wanted to
publish the schematics he’d uncovered, and
his tech-saavy friends encouraged it, but
the book had already become so expansive that to include them would’ve made it
unmanageable, so the decision was made
to offer them in a separate portfolio with
the Deluxe edition, so enthusiasts could
get the whole batch.
“We’ve had people following the progress
of this book literally for years,” Elyea informs
me. “Now that it is actually published and
released, I am very pleased with the reception. I think as word spreads, more and more
people will become excited about something
I am very proud of.”
In 12 chapters, Section 4 covers each
of the Vox amp designs, with the more
famous among them receiving their own
Section 5 is a short reference guide to
dating your Vox amplifier.
When I asked him how he was going to top
such an achievment, Elyea said, “part of me is
so anxious to start another project I can practically taste it. There are, of course, several
good ideas ready. The more rational side is
going to make me enjoy this moment, at least
for a few months.”
In 4 chapters, Section 6 discusses The
Shadows, The Beatles, and the other
groups that made Vox a name heard
Finally, Section 7 contains as appendices
all of the additional material and organization that makes the book such a useful
reference manual: a list of JMI people,
a chronology, a glossary, notes and