Kay / Univox Effector Guitar

There’s something charming about looking back to a point in history when we thought we were onto something new and then, very quickly, realised we weren’t.

There’s little glimpses of these moments in time sprinkled all over the history of modern guitars and amps. Zero frets being one of them and these Kay / Univox Effector guitars, being another.

They were manufactured in the 60’s and, unbelievably, right through to the 80’s. They were sold via the Sears catalogue as an affordable home guitar with an added extra. Built in effects. It even has a headphone socket, so there’s no need for an amp. I imagine this guitar was a good choice for parents who wanted to encourage their children to learn to play but didn’t want to hear them play loudly through an amplifier.

They’re powered by a 9V battery and the volume knob actually acts as an on / off switch.

I’ve heard the built in effects described as “tone suckers”, and I understand why. The echo effect (it’s not an echo, it’s a tremolo), is very useable, however. It has an old school dub reggae vibe to it. It’s nice for playing more paired back, stripped down tracks and you can get an ambient feel from it.

The other effects are pretty much not worth even mentioning. They create harsh tones and doesn’t really provide anything useful, although the Whirl-wind effect can be fun for an auto wah style sound.

The truly useable effect, though, is the fuzz. It really sounds great for lo-fi punk rock riffs and high energy thrashing chords. But equally as great for noodling solos.

The Kay / Univox Effector is an interesting and rare piece of guitar history but it’s not difficult to understand why the built in effect technology didn’t take off in a big way.

It’s been nice to work on I’m pleased I had the opportunity to fix this one up as best as I could.

Hear the effects here and if you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel:

HH Electronic VS-Musician Amp

In the late 60’s and 70’s, these amps were big business. Initially sparking interest among up and coming punk rock bands of the era, HH equipment eventually became a favourite of big name acts like Pink Floyd, T-Rex and The Buzzcocks.

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This particular model, the VS-Musician, offers a feature not seen on any of their other amps. VS, stands for “Valve-Sound”. And, for a solid state amp, it does emulate the warm sound of a glowing valve, very well. The clean sounds are so clear and crisp, I actually think I prefer these to any real valve amp. And when you crank the gain up, it really comes into its own.

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The green glow of the front panel always looks great on these things.

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One reason I bought this amp is because it came with the now super rare Valve Sound foot switch. Unfortunately, I no longer have the pedal.

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The VS-Musuician is a 100W 2×12 combo and it’s as loud as hell!

If you get the chance to pick one up for a good price, for the love of God, do it!

This is great amp is for sale for £250. Get in touch here to make it yours.