Vox Continental

The Vox Continental is a transistor-based combo organ that was introduced in 1962. Known for its thin, bright, reedy sound, the "Connie," as it was affectionately known, was designed to be used by touring musicians. It was also designed to replace heavy tonewheel organs, such as the Hammond B3.

While this was not entirely accomplished, the Continental was used in many 1960s hit singles, and was probably the most popular and best-known combo organ among major acts. Although phased out of production in the early 1970s, the organ still has a strong following to this day, and remains among the most sought-after of combo organs by enthusiasts.

Description

The Continental came in two basic models, each with its own variations. The basic models were the single manual Continental, and the dual manual, which was known as the Vox Continental II in England and the Vox Super Continental in Italy. For a short time single manual Continentals were built in the USA at a very high production rate.

The Continental was also very striking to look at, and had features not often found in keyboard instruments, both then and now. The most obvious being the reverse-coloured keys (black naturals and white sharps) similar to a harpsichord. Then the chrome Z-shaped stand and bright red (in some models grey) top made for a very distinctive and handsome-looking piece of equipment. The Vox Continental used six slider-type, metered volume controls called drawbars instead of the stop-tab rocker switches seen on other combo organs. Two of the drawbars controlled the voices (flute and reed tones), and three of the other four controlled the footages (in reference to ranks of pipes on a pipe organ, but were essentially successive octave controls; the lower the footage number, the higher the octaves were pitched), the last of the four controlling a mixture of high pitches. There was a single-speed, single intensity vibrato, but the Connie had no other special effects or bass notes. Its simplicity was appreciated by very many players.

Single Manual Continentals

Although they all made the same tones and were similar in appearance, there were 4 different builds of the Vox Continental. The first were UK models built by Jennings Musical Industries, or JMI, in Dartford, Kent, England. Later UK models were built by Vox Sound in Erith, Kent. The USA versions were built by Thomas Organ Company under license, and the Italian Models were built by EME under license. Italian models were distinguishable from UK and US models by the flimsy plastic keys, white and black (instead of red and cream) drawbars and the stand braces crossed. Some think that the sound of the Italian versions was a bit varying from its UK and US counterparts, and that UK and US Continentals, as far as appearance, sound, and overall quality, were essentially identical (even with some variations of the generator board configuration).

Derivatives

In the late 1960s and the early 70s, various derivatives and variations came along, including the Vox Jaguar, Vox Corinthian and the last of the single manual Continentals, the Vox Continental '71.

Dual Manual Continentals

The UK had the Continental II, and Italy had the Super Continental. Both had plastic keys and were available with and without percussion. Confusingly, the UK version with percussion (which only came with a Grey and not red top) was known as the "Super II".

The dual manual had its developments and variants. These included the Vox Continental 300, which introduced reverb and presets, and the Continental Baroque, which included internal amplification.

Usage

The instrument is commonly associated with classic rock of the 1960s, being used by such artists as The Doors. Famous songs that use the Continental include "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals, "Light My Fire" by The Doors, "96 Tears" by Question Mark and the Mysterians, "In A Gadda Da Vida" by Iron Butterfly, and "I'm Down" by The Beatles. In addition to these 60s groups the Vox Continental played a large role in generating many of the keyboard sounds heard in 1970s and early 80s New Wave and Punk Rock. The Continental was used extensively by prodigy Steve 'Nieve' (aka Steve Nason), keyboard player for Elvis Costello & The Attractions, and by Mike Barson of 2-Tone group Madness. Most recently in popular music culture, the organist Rhys Webb, of the UK garage band The Horrors can be seen using the Continental, as can Sam Steinig of Mondo Topless and Kenny Howes of Atlanta psyche-pop group Orange Hat.

Two Vox Continental organs are seen in the promo video for "Summer in the City" by The Lovin' Spoonful, played by John Sebastian and bassist Steve Boone, although the signature keyboard line is played on a Hohner Pianet. A Vox Continental is seen in use by Eric Harvey of Spoon in the music video for their song Sister Jack.

Links

*The history of the Vox Continental in detail: [http://www.reinout.nl/?page_id=7]
* [http://www.Combo-Organ.com Combo Organ Heaven]
* [http://www.voxshowroom.com Official Vox Site]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vox Continental — Die Vox Continental ist eine transistorisierte elektronische Orgel (Combo Orgel) des britischen Herstellers Vox, eingeführt im Jahre 1962. Typisch für die „Connie“ war ihr dünner heller Klang. Konzipiert wurde die Orgel als ein transportables… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vox (musical equipment) — Vox is a musical equipment manufacturer which is most famous for making the Vox AC30 guitar amplifier, the Vox electric organ, and a series of innovative but commercially unsuccessful electric guitars and bass guitars. Founded in Kent, England,… …   Wikipedia

  • Vox (fabricant) — VOX Valvetronix AD60VT Vox est un fabricant britannique d équipement musical, notamment d amplificateurs pour guitare. Histoire La Jennings Organ Company est fondée par Tom Jennings après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Elle fabrique l Univox, un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vox (Verstärker) — Logo VOX Gitarrenverstärker Valvetronix AD60VT; davor …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • VOX (Verstärker) — Logo VOX Valvetronix AD60VT Vox ist ein Hersteller von Musikzubehör mit Firmensitz in England. Besonders berühmt ist die Marke Vox für ihren Gitarrenverstärker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Vox Amplification — Vox es un fabricante de equipos musical con sede en Gran Bretaña, famoso por producir el amplificador de guitarra AC30. La Compañía de Órganos Jennings (Jennings Organ Company) fue fundada por Tom Jennings después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Vox Jaguar — The Vox Jaguar was a combo organ that was built in the 1960 s, in Italy, (for the exception of a Heathkit version), as a budget variation on the Continental. It was built into the Continental s cabinet. Its technology was far less intricate, but… …   Wikipedia

  • Wah-wah pedal — A wah wah pedal (or just wah pedal) is a type of guitar effects pedal that alters the tone of the signal to create a distinctive effect, intended to mimic the human voice. The pedal sweeps the peak response of a filter up and down in frequency to …   Wikipedia

  • Combo organ — A combo organ is an electronic organ of the frequency divider type, generally produced between the early 1960s and the late 1970s. The combo organ concept, at least in the context of mass production, is thought to have been born from the… …   Wikipedia

  • Alex Turner — con Arctic Monkeys en 2007 Datos generales Nombre real Alexander David Turner …   Wikipedia Español


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.