26 November 2011
The 1968 US VOX catalog described the "Astro IV" bass guitar as follows:
"An electric acoustic bass guitar with the popular violin shape body.
Has built in G tuner, distortion booster, treble and bass booster ("distortion" is a very cool Fuzz effect powered by the BC 108 transistor which was used in the original Dallas Aribter Fuzz Face pedals).
All new easy-to-fret fast-neck with the Vox double T-bar and adjustable steel rod.
Has two exclusive VOX Ferro-Sonic pickups high output wide range.
Fully adjustable bridge.
One volume, two tone controls, 3-position pickup selector switch.
Has jumbo chrome plated machine heads. Sunburst, Cherry, or Sandburst."
The 1968 US VOX price list indicated that the retail price of the "Astro IV" bass guitar was $395 USD. In 2011 dollars, the "Astro IV" would retail for about $2500.
The "Vox Astro IV Bass Guitar" was offered in the 1967 "Vox, It's Whats Happening" and the 1968 "The Sound That Travels With the Stars" catalogs.
A color reprint of either of these catalogs is available at North Coast Music.
"Vox Astro IV Bass Guitar" featured a number of onboard battery operated special effects.
The styling of the "Vox Astro IV Bass Guitar" was obviously inspired by the "Hofner Beatle Bass Guitar", popularized by "Paul McCartney" of "The Beatles".
This is the same type of model of VOX electric bass that you see in the hands of "Bill Wyman" in "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" filmed in December 1968.
The Rolling Stones on stage during Rock and Roll Circus: Keith Richards and Bill Wyman with Vox Astro IV Bass
"Bill Wyman" used various basses during the Sixties, including a teardrop-shaped Vox that was actually billed as the "Wyman Model", but he had one of these, too. "Bill Wyman" used a "Vox Astro IV V273" violin Bass for some of the "Beggars Banquet" and "Let It Bleed" sessions.
Bill Wyman in 1969 during Beggars Banquet sessions with Vox Astro IV bass
Nut: ultra thin
Number of Strings: 4
Number of Pickups: 2
Pickups: 2 Sonic Ferro Pickups
Technology: Early Active Bass/Treble Boost, Distortion and "G" Tuner.