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The Mosrite Guitar Company

Updated on May 22, 2012

Semie Moseley - Mosrite Guitars

California, 1950, Semie Moseley started building his own guitars out of a need for a better guitar. A friend of Moseley, a preacher named Rev. Ray Boatright, was impressed with Moseley's guitar designs, and put up the money for Moseley to start his guitar company. In gratitude, Moseley named the company by combining his and Boatright's last names.

Mosrite Guitars, USA has been owned by Semi's daughter Dana since her father passed. She has now licensed the guitars to be built by guitar guru Ed Roman for several years now. Though many say there will never be another true Mosrite because Semi is gone, a credible reissue has been established through Fillmore Guitars of Japan.

Design And Function

There can be only one Mosrite

Mosrite's were well known for design, engineering, and very thin, low-fretted and narrow necks, and high output pickups.

Moseley's design for the Ventures, known as the "Ventures Model" (later known as the "Mark I") was generally considered to be the flagship of the line, but all of his guitars bore his unmistakable touch.

Mosrite also produced an unusual double-necked guitar, which was the type favored by Collins and Maphis; this design was also used by Nick Nastos, lead guitar player for Bill Haley & His Comets, during 1968.

Semie Moseley began building guitars in the Los Angeles area around 1952 or 1953. He began by apprenticing at the Rickenbacker factory, where he learned much of his guitar making skills from Roger Rossmeisl, a German immigrant who brought old-world luthier techniques into the modern electric guitar manufacturing process.

One of the recognizable features on almost all Mosrites is the "German Carve" on the top that Moseley learned from Rossmeisl. Around the same time, Moseley apprenticed with Paul Bigsby in Downey, California, the man who made the first modern solid-body guitar for Merle Travis in 1948, and who invented the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, which is still used today.

Moseley made guitars in Los Angeles until 1959, when he moved to Oildale, California, just north of Bakersfield. He moved his shop to Panama Lane in 1962 where he designed and produced the first Ventures Model guitars.

The red Mosrite in the photo is an official Ed Roma/Mosrite, USA 2009 reissue. A real Mosrite. I can't sell you one of these but Ed Roman can! Look for a price tag when you call, in the neighborhood of $3500 to $5500 depending on the model.

Honorable Mentions at Amazon Even

Often Imitated

The Ventures

Even Found On Ebay

A Rare Name In Guitar History

The Genius Of Semi Moseley

Hard Times Of A Killer Guitar

Though a genius at guitar design and construction, Moseley lacked many basic skills necessary to be a good businessman, and the company fell on hard times repeatedly in the late 1960s and 1970s, but continued to produce Mosrite guitars until 1993 in North Carolina and Arkansas.

Most of them were exported to Japan, where their popularity remained very strong. The quality of the instruments always remained very respectable. Semie Moseley died in 1992. His wife Loretta continued to produce Mosrites a year or so after his death.

Kurt Cobain's Mosrite Gospel Guitar (one of only two 'Mark IV gospels', the other is owned by his daughter Michelle Moseley) was featured in an online auction by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, TX, fetching $131,450.00.

Used and Reviewed On YOUtube

Notable Users

Mosrite Guitarists Through The Years

Davie Allan - Davie Allan And The Arrows

Kurt Dräckes - The Sewergrooves & The Royal Cream

Nokie Edwards - The Ventures the guitar is on the front page!

Johnny Ramone - The Ramones

Tommy Tedesco

Joe Maphis - Wanda Jackson, Ricky Nelson and others.

Arthur Lee - Love

Buck Trent

Nick McCarthy - Franz Ferdinand

Kurt Cobain - Nirvana

Jimi Hendrix - Used a Fuzzrite pedal.

The Ramones

The Intimate Description

Mosrite - The Design

Vibramute Tremelo

The Vibramute Tremelo consists of a solid cast metal base, a string stop connected to a tremelo arm lifted by a large spring. There is also a Roller Matic bridge. Each string sits atop a raised post with individual string rollers. This allows for the tension between the string stop and bridge to stay equal to the tension between the bridge and nut which helps with guitar stay in tune and reduces string wear when using the tremelo.

Body

The body of Mosrite guitars are shaped so that the lower horn of the body is longer than the upper. Many Mosrite Guitars have a beveled edge around the body called a "German carve". The Gospel models have a unique flat face body with rounded edges.

Neck

Mosrite necks are narrow and thin. They have thin frets and a "zero fret." The head of the neck has a the lower outline of the letter "M" towards the top of the guitar.

Or even if you don't let me know what you think of this page!

Do You Have A Mosrite Guitar?

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    • george williams 3 profile image

      george williams 3 4 years ago

      I love the Ramones which is why I picked up a used 66 Mosrite Ventures II on Ebay. Fastest neck and fretboard around. And it keeps going up in value! I bought a celebrity and gave it too my niece. Now if I had some real talent!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      The most fascination Moserite I ever saw is Semie Moseley's personal Blue Gospel Guitar. It is the only surviving prototype of the first Gospel guitars he built, starting late in 1964 or early 1965. Semie's is transparent blue. The only other was all natural, which Semie gave to his partner, Reverend Boatwright, but the Reverend was killed in front of his church and the guitar was smashed. Semie's Blue Gospel is made with violin joints and bears the number GA009. It is absolutely beautiful!

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Wish I could help with the pricing. It sounds like you have a good instrument, it seems though - instruments are a buyer's market right now. People are selling super cheap to keep gas in the tank to get to work. I'd hang on to it for a while at least until the market comes back a bit. Also I would suggest locating a buyer rather than throwing it to the auction/listing sharks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great way to learn about my Mosrite

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a mosrite celebrity s/n A0 414. Archtop with a signature under the front pickup has a volume and tone knobs on the bottom back and a select switch on the front bottom horn. Sunburst body and sunburst neck. No patens R marks on the pickups a patens number on the Mosley vibrato .origanal case and guitar strap. Plays like a dream and in tune everywhere on the neck. Playing super slinkys strings. Trying to find out what year and how much it's worth today.

    • PickupTrucksFan1 profile image

      PickupTrucksFan1 4 years ago

      Learned something here. Thanks...

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Typically it will depend on how much you play it and use the trem. I don't actually have my Mosrite anymore, but my Aria and my Raven's West both stay in tune when I use them a lot. Not so much with new strings or no practice. You might need to look into having Spurzels installed, if the machines are backing off during playing. Otherwise it is just the strings not being seated properly, which comes from either new strings or climate/humidity change. Hope this helps.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      does the mosrite guitar stay in tune when using the tremolo bar?? Mine does not.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      when i played Mosrite 62 mark 5 ventures model i feel in love with it. The tones and the feel brought tears to my eyes. i kept thinking about it and got no sleep and it drove me mad. i sold my 1987 steinberger m series guitar at auction for 2300 dollars and shot over to the music and bought it for 2000 and ran out of their. it is custard yellow with a moseley roller and tail piece and a beautiful german carve top body. The frets were almost worn to nothing so i had it refretted and replaced the machines for locking type. it has the original pickups and other hardware. the back of the guitar looks like a little kid dragged it across a street with his friend riding on top of it. but who cares i would never have refinished. it can sound deep or twangy. i love this guitar and iam a proud ventures guitar owner now and for life. Indian Mike of Massachusetts Boston Rocks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      can you let me know how i could talk to Michelle Moseley,or seethat she has my e-mail.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: hi i watched the ventures on you tube and feel in love with their music and sound. i sold my steinberger m series guitar for 2300 and bought a 1962 v1 ventures model guitar. when i first tried it out it brought tears to my eyes and knew i wanted it so bad. its custard yellow with a beautiful german figure cut carve top body with the moseley roller bridge and tailpiece and original pickups. it needed fretwork and and replace them with stainless steel wire and the original machines needed replacement. but the sound and the weight is extreme quality. i noticed a look of later models did not have that same quality. iam a proud Ventures Guitar owner. Indian Mike Massachusetts (Boston Rocks)

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't personally have any way to contact her. I had heard ( I think I mentioned it in this article) that she has had some sort of affiliation with Ed Roman's shop in Las Vegas. You might try with him.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have a moserite that was given me by the man himself at a revival in Stockton Calif. in late 60s also the stand up amp that is completely pearlised. it's a beautiful pair.i had the guitar stolen 10 yrs ago and hunted it down and found it in a pawn shop ,it was still in rhe back i got it back for 1000.00 it hadn't been damaged. i have never played it once,since i have an old martin that i play

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I would love to see one in person.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      No but they are really cool. Great lens

    • sirkeystone lm profile image
      Author

      sirkeystone lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: You should make up a YouTube video when you get it back! I'd love to hear it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just acquired a 60's Mosrite Combo guitar, serial H-1250, and took it to Ed Romans Custom Shop in Las Vegas to be refurbished. Will take about 90 days to complete. Can 't wait very anxious to get it back.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      ALWAYS LOVED THESE BUT HARD TO GET A GENUINE ONE HERE IN ENGLAND.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      so my aunt has one,its red and white,serial # b247, and it has the number 77 on it,It was given to her in about 68 by a gentkeman named Red Simpson. She was told by a guitar company that there is a picture of the ventures with this guitar with President Nixon in it with them,not sure if its true,haven't been able to find it.it's a ventures series and it has Mosley on it,we think its a Mark 1 but not to sure either.were trying to find out something about it,it seems to be a 66 or 67 again we think.

    • guitaristic profile image

      guitaristic 6 years ago

      No, but I will probably test and get one someday! Congrats on your lens ;) Rock on!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have a 1985 Mosrite Ventures Model. It is all original including it's red paint and is the 5th Mosrite to come to Canada for 1985. It also has a vibramute. It plays awesome and it is vintage of course. I have owned it for more then half of it's life,and it wil always be my #1 guitar! I was told it was worth a lot of money in the U.S. because of it's serial number. Any how Mosrite guitars ROCK! R.I.P. Semie Moseley Master luthier! .R.I.P. Johnny Ramone Master of the Mosrite ! And long live Mosrite Guitars the best guitar in the U.S.A. and also the world ! Markus Burzdzus Toronto Ontario Canada

    • profile image

      Positivevibestechnician 6 years ago

      you have an awesome lens here i rolled it into my music lens

    • dedolex profile image

      dedolex 6 years ago

      They also had those cool nylon picks (I think that they were marked: "Bakersfield/Mia"). And they came in salmon-colored for thick, white for medium and black for thin.

      Can't find 'em anymore. I wish somebody would re-issue them! Nice lens...Good info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Dana Moseley is now making them again by using Filmore of Japan just like her dad did. She's doing the assembling and hand winding the pickups etc⦠What's better is that she's back in Bakersfield, CA where it all started. You can find one at Front Porch Music of Bakersfield. http://www.frontporchmusic.net

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I am the proud owner of a Mosrite, Double Neck, JM65, serial #JM10. I traveled with and played Bass for Semi Moseley in 1971 and 1972. He was a personal friend and called my church, in Woodland, California, his home.

      His daughter, Dana, lived in my home for a short while.

      In 1973, I moved my family to Portland, Oregon. Semi Called my in 1986 and said Joe Maphis had died at age 65 and he was going to build 65 Joe Maphis models as a memorial and ask if I wanted one.

      My answer was a harty u-bet.

      Jim Nimmo, Pastor, Cowboy Church of S.W. Washington

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Very nice lens... Squid Angel Blessed.

    • A RovingReporter profile image

      A RovingReporter 8 years ago

      Great info here for the guitar lover.*****