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Vox Bobcat S66 and V90 with Bigsby review

No sooner had we finished testing Vox’s Bobcats in 2021, there’s now a pair with Bigsby vibratos and a moodier vibe

Vox Bobcat S66 & V90 with Bigsby
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Our Verdict

These might look like anyone else’s thinline clones, but it’s the sounds that give them their own place. Our only quandary is which one we prefer!

For

  • Lightweight.
  • Very tidy build.
  • Good pickup style and voicing.

Against

  • No hum-cancelling in mixed pickup positions.
  • Plenty of competition in style, often at trimmer prices.

Outwardly, the contemporary Vox Bobcat (based on the Italian-made Vox original from the mid-60s) looks like any other Gibson thinline clone. But, as we discovered in our review, it’s a different take on that hallowed design. 

It retains the 416mm (16.38-inch) width of that classic style, but the scale length is increased to 635mm (25-inch) and the weight-relieved centre block swaps to spruce, narrower under the pickups and fuller widthed from the tune-o-matic bridge to the base and at the neck joint. 

While that helped keep those original versions around the 3.2kg (7lb) mark, the addition of a Bigsby only marginally ups the weight and slightly changes the seated balance. The craft is faultless, if a little generic, with both bodies fully bound, including the f-holes – likewise, with the Indonesian ebony fingerboards and the classic-style headstocks.

Vox Bobcat S66 & V90 with Bigsby

Vox Bobcat V90 with Bigsby (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

The other differences are purely cosmetic: both colours come with flashier deeply coloured abalone-like block inlays and headstock logos, while the pickup covers and pickguards change from bright white to black.

The Sapphire Blue finish retains the chromed hardware – the Bigsby in its traditional polished-aluminium finish – although the neat knurled aluminium knobs change to a black finish. On the Jet Black version all the hardware, including the Bigsby, change to black.

Vox Bobcat S66 & V90 with Bigsby

Vox Bobcat S66  (Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

The three single coils of the S66 make for quite the semi. There’s a volume control for each pickup, and a master tone, but only a three-way toggle pickup selector. In effect, it functions like a two-pickup guitar and you just roll in the middle pickup to any of the switch selections. Cross a Strat with an ES-335 and you get the picture.

There are some cool sounds and lovely sparkle with the middle pickup added or more direct without. The addition of the Bigsby adds perfect shimmer – and if you live for blues or rockabilly, you’ll be at home.

Vox Bobcat S66 & V90 with Bigsby

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

The V90 appears more standard, except the pickups feature rod magnets rather than the usual adjustable poles of the soapbar style. It’s a more direct drive, too; it has a slightly brighter, more percussive note attack married with a little more width. Like the S66 it really suits the Bigsby addition.

Vox Bobcat S66 & V90 with Bigsby

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Specs

  • PRICE: £1,514 (in Jet Black inc case); £1,414 (in Sapphire Blue
    inc case)
  • ORIGIN: Korea
  • TYPE: Double-cutaway centre-blocked thinline semi-hollow electric
  • BODY: Laminated maple w/ weight-relieved spruce centre-block
  • NECK: 1-piece mahogany, glued-in 
  • SCALE LENGTH: 635mm (25”)
  • NUT/WIDTH: White synthetic/42.7mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Indonesian ebony, block inlays, 305mm (12”) radius
  • FRETS: 22, medium jumbo
  • HARDWARE: Tune-o-matic style bridge with Bigsby B70 (Blue) or B700 (Black), Grover open-back tuners
  • STRING SPACING, BRIDGE: 52.5mm 
  • ELECTRICS: (S66) 3x Vox S66 single coils, individual pickup volume controls and master tone; (V90) 2x Vox V90 soapbar single coils, individual pickup volume and tone controls
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): (S66) 3.42/7.5; (V90) 3.52/7.75 
  • OPTIONS: With trapeze tailpiece from £1,214
  • LEFT-HANDERS: No
  • FINISHES: Jet Black (as reviewed, S66);
    Sapphire Blue (as reviewed, V90) 
  • CONTACT: Vox (opens in new tab)

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Dave Burrluck
Dave Burrluck

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.