The History of Mosrite Guitars
Mosrite guitars are best known today for being used in surf rock. Semie Mosely, owner and founder of Mosrite, even made a line of guitars based around the surf band The Ventures. But the truth is, these guitars go much deeper than that.
Semie Mosely apprenticed at the Rickenbacker factory in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. Here he learned how to incorporate old-world luthier techniques into modern electric guitar manufacturing from a German immigrant named Roger Rossmeisl. At the same time, Semie was also apprenticing with Paul Bigsby, who made the first modern solid-body guitar in 1948 and invented the famous Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.
With training from these accomplished mentors, he started making his own guitars and founded Mosrite (pronounced MOZE-rite) in 1956. In 1959, in order to popularize the brand, Semie’s brother Andy moved to Nashville and sold several custom guitars to country music musicians, including some Grand Ole Opry entertainers.
At the same time, Semie Mosely moved just north of Bakersfield, California. Here he designed many of the guitars that would end up being his most popular. In 1962, he produced the first Joe Maphis model guitars, which would eventually become the Ventures model. The Ventures line ran from 1963 to 1967 and made Mosrite guitars a huge name in surf music, which was also at its peak of popularity in those years. Though The Ventures line made them famous in the surf rock scene, Mosrite guitars were also prevalent in rock ‘n’ roll and country music, especially in the ’60s.
The Ventures and the Perfect Wave of Surf Music
In the early to mid ’60s, surf music was huge and helped form a larger-than-life image of Southern California. First came instrumental surf, which used reverb and jangly guitars to put people in that beach/ocean headspace. Vocal surf, such as the Beach Boys, came after, adding vocal harmonies on top of a then-refined instrumental surf sound.
One of the top groups to come out of this era were The Ventures, an instrumental surf group best known for their first wide-release single, “Walk, Don’t Run”. With over 100 million records sold in total, The Ventures are, to this day, the best-selling instrumental band in history.
As the Ventures reached the peak of their popularity in the early ’60s, Mosrite rebranded the Mark 1 electric guitar for The Ventures simply by putting “The Ventures Model” on the headstock. The band ended up adopting Mosrite’s Ventures series guitars and bass for several years, even going into business with Mosrite from 1963 to 1968.
For the vast majority of the band’s existence, they played Fender instruments such as the Jazzmaster, Stratocaster, and Fender Jazz Bass, but because those 5 years were so important in The Ventures’ history, Mosrite’s guitars are usually what people remember. This perfect timing lead to Mosrite’s Ventures Model guitars going down in history.
Eastwood Guitars, headquartered in Canada, rebooted this famous guitar design with the Sidejack Pro. It’s a design reproduction of the old Mosrites, but it’s made with modern guitar making technology to achieve modern playability and reliability.
- Body: Alder with German carve top
- Finishes: Vintage White, 3 Tone Sunburst, Vintage White LH
- Pickups: ‘Eastwood of Canada’ Custom M-90 x2
- Switching: 3-Way
- Controls: 1 Volume, 1 Tone (‘Eastwood of Canada’ Custom knobs)
- Bridge: ‘Eastwood of Canada’ Custom
- Neck: Bound Maple, Satin finish, Bolt-On Neck, ‘Eastwood of Canada’ Peanut neck plate
- Neck Profile: Mid D Shape
- Neck Radius: 10″
- Fingerboard: Rosewood, Bound, ‘2-3-1’ Dot Markers
- Scale Length: 25 1/2″(648mm)
- Frets: Medium Jumbo
- Nut: Custom Graphite, 1 5/8″ width
- Tuners: Nickel Button Kluson-style
- Hardware: Nickel/Chrome