NAMM 2024: A live rig in a gigbag? Vox delivers the APC-1, a guitar with a built-in speaker, drum machine and effects unit, rendering the rest of your band redundant

Vox APC-1
(Image credit: Vox Amps)

With NAMM 2024 on the horizon, Vox Amps has announced its latest guitar, which is more than just that. The Vox APC-1 combines '60s aesthetics with contemporary tech for an eye-catching all-in-one guitar and performance machine. Not content with just having six strings and some pickups, it has a built-in amp, effects unit and rhythm machine, making for a "self-contained musical experience ideal for any setting".

It might look like something Gerry Anderson dreamt up after eating some funny mushroom soup, but Vox has strived to equip this weird and wonderful guitar with high-end modern tech to make sure it stands as more than just a gimmick.

It has a tectonic audio 180° wide-directional speaker and passive radiator for what it believes is "superior sound quality", although context is key here. It’s unlikely to compare with a 4x12, but tailored tweaks have been made to rectify the issues prevalent across similar builds. The amp’s uniquely designed encloser and isolated speaker mounting should therefore make it feedback-resistant and provide enough low-end to satisfy.

Its effects unit offers chorus, tremolo, delay and reverb. Their intensity can be adjusted via a control knob featured on its top-mounted interface.

Its rhythm machine, meanwhile, contains 33 rhythm patterns, which some would argue is 32 more than Phil Rudd, with the beats traversing 11 different genres. That makes for three variations for each genre.

There are knobs for selecting your effect of choice – with only one usable at any one time – and rhythm genre, which includes R&B, funk, dance, metal, blues and pop. Taking things one step further, there’s a tap tempo button and an in-built tuner, too.

These come alongside a pickup selector switch, gain, boost (on/off), tone and volume controls. The boost mode pushes the guitar's clean tones into distortion town, so perhaps it can djent, too?

The guitar itself has a budget-friendly poplar, body, maple neck and purple heart fretboard and 610mm scale. There's a hardtail bridge, two humbuckers, and comes in your choice of orange, blue and red.

The body shape is borrowed from the Vox Apache II guitar, which is something of a golden nugget in the vintage guitar market, fetching up to $600 each. That’s double its original retail price.

With a standard 3/4" output, aux input and headphone out, this new incarnation should have all bases covered. Powering all its gizmos comes at the price of six AA batteries, which can be accessed at the back of the guitar. Sadly, that means it does not feature a rechargeable battery, most likely a move to keep its price down.

Vox deems the APC-1 "a jam-packed guitar perfect for you to take anywhere in the world". It ships out from July 2024.

To keep up to date with the latest gear releases as NAMM 2024 draws ever closer, head over to our guide to the latest NAMM 2024 news.

For more information on the APC-1, head to VoxAmps.com.

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.