Thomas Walter Jennings (28 February 1918 – 1978), also known as Tom Jennings, was an English businessman who was the founder of Jennings Organ Company. In 1950 he formed Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI) Ltd, the company that produced the famous Vox Guitar amplifiers. In 1956 the company name was changed to Jennings Musical Industries Ltd. Disenchanted with the company direction, he left JMI Ltd in 1967 and set up a separate company, Jennings Electronic Industries.
Jennings Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of musical instruments, and the original owner of the Vox brand. The company was founded by Thomas Walter Jennings.
Vox is a musical equipment manufacturer founded in 1957 by Thomas Walter Jennings in Dartford, Kent, England. The company is most famous for making the Vox AC30 guitar amplifier, used by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Queen, Dire Straits, U2 and Radiohead, the Vox Continental electric organ, the Vox wah-wah pedal used by Jimi Hendrix, and a series of innovative electric guitars and bass guitars. Since 1992, Vox has been owned by the Japanese electronics firm Korg.
A guitar amplifier is an electronic device or system that strengthens the weak electrical signal from a pickup on an electric guitar, bass guitar, or acoustic guitar so that it can produce sound through one or more loudspeakers, which are typically housed in a wooden cabinet. A guitar amplifier may be a standalone wood or metal cabinet that contains only the power amplifier circuits, requiring the use of a separate speaker cabinet–or it may be a "combo" amplifier, which contains both the amplifier and one or more speakers in a wooden cabinet. There is a wide range of sizes and power ratings for guitar amplifiers, from small, lightweight "practice amplifiers" with a single 6" speaker and a 10 watt amp to heavy combo amps with four 10” or four 12" speakers and a powerful 100 watt amplifier, which are loud enough to use in a nightclub or bar performance.
Jennings was born in Hackney, London, England in February 1918. He became an accomplished amateur accordion player. He served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during World War II, but he was discharged from the Army on medical grounds in 1942. Jennings then worked at the Vickers munitions plant in Kent. There he met amateur guitarist Dick Denney who played with a local big band. On occasion, the two played together, but not professionally. Denny also had an interest in electronics and radio technology.
The London Borough of Hackney is a London Borough in Inner London, United Kingdom. The historical and administrative heart of Hackney is Mare Street, which lies 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. The borough is named after Hackney, its principal district.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist. The concertina and bandoneón are related; the harmonium and American reed organ are in the same family.
In 1944, Jennings started repairing accordions and trading in second hand musical instruments part-time at first. In 1946, Jennings set up his first shop in Dartford Kent and began importing accordions and other musical instruments. He also invented new products, the first being the Univox electronic organ, which was a huge success, and not only inspired the "Vox" brand name but was the springboard for his musical instrument amplifier manufacturing empire.
Dartford is the principal town in the Borough of Dartford, Kent, England. It is located 18 miles south-east of Central London, and is situated adjacent to the London Borough of Bexley to its west. To its north, across the Thames estuary, is Thurrock in Essex, which can be reached via the Dartford Crossing.
An import is a good brought into a jurisdiction, especially across a national border, from an external source. The party bringing in the good is called an importer. An import in the receiving country is an export from the sending country. Importation and exportation are the defining financial transactions of international trade.
During the early 1950s, Jennings focused mainly on keyboards; he attempted to modify organ amplifiers for electric guitars, but had little success. Dick Denney, was also experimenting with guitar amplification and succeeded in producing a 15 watt amplifier paired with a 12-inch (300 mm) speaker. After adding a tremolo unit, he made two more prototypes, one of which was shown to Jennings. Jennings offered Denney a job with his company, now named Jennings Musical Instruments (JMI). Denney accepted the position of engineer and further developed his prototype. In 1957 JMI launched the short-lived AC2/30, the first guitar amplifier to be branded Vox, but it was the AC/15 guitar amplifier, launched in January 1958, that made the Vox brand name world-famous.
The watt is a unit of power. In the International System of Units (SI) it is defined as a derived unit of 1 joule per second, and is used to quantify the rate of energy transfer. In dimensional analysis, power is described by .
In music, tremolo, or tremolando, is a trembling effect. There are two types of tremolo.
Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations.
Displeased with the direction his old company was taking, Tom Jennings left JMI in 1967, roughly the same time that Marshall overtook Vox as the dominant force in the British guitar amplifier market. He set up a new company, Jennings Electronic Industries (JEI), in his old Dartford location. Later, Dick Denney joined the new company which operated for several years, making an updated and rebadged version of the AC30, along with other amplifiers and a new range of organs. Jennings died in London in 1978 at the age of 60.
Roland Corporation is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972. In 2005, Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It has factories in Taiwan, Japan, and the USA. As of March 31, 2010, it employed 2,699 employees. In 2014, Roland was subject to a management buyout by Roland's CEO Junichi Miki, supported by Taiyo Pacific Partners.
Korg Inc., founded as Keio Electronic Laboratories, is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures electronic musical instruments, audio processors and guitar pedals, recording equipment, and electronic tuners. Under the Vox brand name, they also manufacture guitar amplifiers and electric guitars.
A wah-wah pedal is a type of electric guitar effects pedal that alters the tone and frequencies of the guitar signal to create a distinctive sound, mimicking the human voice saying the onomatopoeic name "wah-wah". The pedal sweeps the peak response of a frequency filter up and down in frequency to create the sound, a spectral glide, also known as "the wah effect". The wah-wah effect originated in the 1920s, with trumpet or trombone players finding they could produce an expressive crying tone by moving a mute in and out of the instrument's bell. This was later simulated with electronic circuitry for the electric guitar when the wah-wah pedal was invented. It is controlled by movement of the player's foot on a rocking pedal connected to a potentiometer. Wah-wah effects are used when a guitarist is soloing, or creating a "wacka-wacka" funk-styled rhythm for rhythm guitar playing.
Silvertone was a store brand used by Sears, Roebuck and Company for its line of consumer electronics and musical instruments from 1915 to 1972. The Silvertone brand was introduced by Sears in 1915 with a hand-cranked phonograph. Beginning in the 1920s, the brand was expanded to include Silvertone radios and again expanded in the 1930s to musical instruments, superseding the previously-used Supertone branding.
Teisco (テスコ) was a Japanese manufacturer of affordable musical instruments from 1948 until 1969, when the brand was acquired by Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co. Ltd.. The company produced guitars as well as keyboard instruments, microphones, amplifiers and even drums. Teisco products were widely exported to the United States and the United Kingdom.
"Clonewheel organ" is a musician jargon term used to refer to an electronic musical instrument that emulates the sound of the electromechanical tonewheel-based organs formerly manufactured by Hammond from the 1930s to the 1970s. Clonewheel organs generate sounds using solid-state circuitry or computer chips, rather than with heavy mechanical tonewheels, making clonewheel organs much lighter-weight and smaller than vintage Hammonds, and easier to transport to live performances and recording sessions.
A music store or musical instrument store is a retail business that sells musical instruments and related equipment and accessories, and may provide maintenance services for these instruments and accessories. In United States and Canada, most music stores in the 2010s sell a range of electric instruments, instrument amplifiers; electronic instruments; drum kits and acoustic classical, concert band and jazz musical instruments. Stores may sell the sound reinforcement system and PA system gear or sound recording equipment.
Ace Electronic Industries Inc., or Ace Tone was a manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, including electronic organs, analogue drum machines, and electronic drums, as well as amplifiers and effects pedals. Founded in 1960 by Ikutaro Kakehashi with an investment by Sakata Shokai, Ace Tone can be considered an early incarnation of the Roland Corporation, which was also founded by Kakehashi. Ace Tone began manufacturing amplifiers in 1963.
The Vox AC30 is a guitar amplifier manufactured by Vox. It was introduced in 1958 to meet the growing demand for louder amplifiers. Characterised by its "jangly" high-end sound it has become widely recognized by British musicians and others.
The Vox Continental is a transistorized combo organ that was introduced in 1962. Having a characteristic bright but thin, breathy sound, the "Connie", as it was affectionately known, was designed for touring musicians. It was also intended to replace heavy tonewheel organs, such as the revered Hammond B3.
Soultone, is an American guitar amplifier manufacturing company, based in Chandler, Arizona, and known for making hand wired instrument amplifiers using vintage and modern techniques, components, and features.
Kay Musical Instrument Company is a musical instrument manufacturer of the United States, in operation from the 1890 to present day.
Viscount International SpA (Viscount) is a musical instrument manufacturer based in Mondaino, Italy. The brand Viscount was registered in 1969 by Marcello Galanti, but the company was established in the late 19th century by his forefather Antonio Galanti. After 1969 Viscount’s primary focus has been on classic organs and digital pianos. Several alternative brands were formed in the 2000s to aim at expanding into other markets: VERSE and Voice Systems, respectively, for the high and low-end Pro-Audio markets and Physis for digital organs using Viscount’s physical modeling technology. The company also used the Oberheim brand for several years, to market vintage organs, synthesizers and guitar effects. Currently, Viscount’s manufacturing and R&D activity is based in Italy. The company has been continuously owned by the Galanti family since its inception.
Valco was an American manufacturer of guitars, guitar amplifiers, and other musical instruments from the 1940s through 1968.
Del Casher is an American guitarist and inventor. He invented Wah-wah pedal, the Ecco-Fonic, and the Fender Electronic Echo Chamber. He was the first to introduce the Roland Guitar Synthesizer for the Roland Corporation.
Vintage musical equipment is older music gear, including instruments, amplifiers and speakers, sound recording equipment and effects pedals, sought after, maintained and used by record producers, audio engineers and musicians who are interested in historical music genres. While any piece of equipment of sufficient age can be considered vintage, in the 2010s the term is typically applied to instruments and gear from the 1970s and earlier. Guitars, amps, pedals, electric keyboards, sound recording equipment from the 1950s to 1970s are particularly sought. Musical equipment from the 1940s and prior eras is often expensive, and sought out mainly by museums or collectors.
Vintage Guitar magazine is a consumer publication that focuses on vintage and classic fretted instruments, amplifiers, effects, and related gear, as well as notable players from all genres and eras. The publication's feature stories and monthly columns cover a diverse range of topics by contributors, including some of the biggest names in the industry and renowned authorities like Dan Erlewine, George Gruhn, Wolf Marshall, Richard Smith, and Seymour W. Duncan, as well as some of the best-known writers in the field, including Walter Carter, A. R. Duchoissoir, Dan Forte, Lisa Sharken, Rich Kienzle, Michael Dregni, John Heidt, John Peden, and others.