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Semie Moseley’s Customized Chicken’s-Eye Magnificence

Semie Moseley’s Customized Chicken’s-Eye Magnificence

With its zero fret, Maphis-signature form, and distinctive vibrato arm, this guitar screams Mosrite, however with its personal luxurious chook’s-eye maple physique and different appointments.

Earlier than the Mosrite model was born, its founder, Semie Moseley, was simply an unbiased luthier making an attempt to make a splash. In the identical manner Paul Reed Smith pitched his pre-factory builds to Carlos Santana and Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Moseley discovered his first golden ticket in a Southern Californian picker by the title of Joe Maphis.

Again within the mid-Fifties, Moseley received fired from Rickenbacker after making a guitar of his personal. Quickly after, he constructed a three-necked amalgamation that contained an ordinary guitar, an octave guitar (one octave greater), and a mandolin—all in a single solidbody electrical. The purpose was to draw consideration, and appeal to consideration it did.

Joe Maphis was a flashy nation participant who led the City Corridor Celebration radio present, which was beamed throughout Southern California and into Northern Mexico. Maphis requested a double-neck model (with out the mandolin), and from then on Moseley was a recognized entity, crafting about one customized instrument a month for years.

This close-up brings the brass nut, elegant binding, Grover tuners, and sterling silver headstock inlay into focus.

Later, in 1960, Maphis received a correct Moseley-made signature mannequin, with a physique that regarded like an upside-down Stratocaster. Within the early ’60s, the Ventures—the top-selling instrumental rock group who helped codify surf music—turned Mosrite’s distributor. They took a Maphis-style signature guitar as their very own, and created a rush of capital and orders.

Johnny Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures II mannequin fetched almost $1 million at public sale in 2021.

Enterprise went up, enterprise went down. Mosrite’s distributor agreements and dad or mum corporations got here and went. As Moseley wrote to purchasers and inquirers in 1986: “Some day, within the close to future, the Semie Moseley and Mosrite Guitar story shall be in course of. It can learn like a fairytale—a drama—a love story; from rags to riches—to rags—to the struggle again, from one main tragedy to a different, from the very starting by means of its evolution to the Nineteen Eighties.”

However by then, regardless of the vagaries of the musical devices trade, Moseley was again doing what he had all the time executed finest: constructing unimaginable customized guitars. And that’s the place we choose up the story for this month’s Classic Vaultdiscover.

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Walnut pickup rings machined to match the chook’s-eye maple physique encompass these split-coil humbuckers.

After Maphis’ demise in 1986, Moseley created this one-of-a-kind magnificence for a good friend, Ross Coan Jr. Whereas commonplace Joe Maphis fashions had spruce tops and single-coil pickups, this Maphis-style customized construct has a chook’s-eye maple prime and distinctive split-coil humbuckers. Nevertheless it retains the sure neck and beveled edges that Moseley should have discovered first-hand from Rickenbacker’s Roger Rossmeisl, together with the angled neck pickup, steel nut, dual-knob, and 3-way pickup-selector change of Moseley’s earlier fashions. And the headstock and fretboard inlays are sterling silver.

Check out these pickup rings, too, which—not like pickup rings on almost another customized guitar—are remarkably beautiful and carved out of a wooden that completely enhances the maple prime. Clearly, Moseley put quite a lot of care and consideration into this construct. He even stamped the title and date of beginning of his good friend on the final fret and inscribed the again of the headstock: “Handcrafted for Ross Coan Jr. by Semie Moseley 1986.”

It’s unimaginable to place a value on what this guitar would’ve price again then. Whether or not it was a present or a fee, it was a labor of affection—a late-career testomony to Moseley’s guitar-building prowess.

The again of this distinctive guitar is made from figured walnut.

George Gruhn writes that Moseley’s pre-Ventures customized guitars are extremely sought-after by collectors. Johnny Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures II mannequin fetched almost $1 million at public sale in 2021. However most production-era Mosrites—people who have been notperformed by well-known musicians—typically promote on Reverb within the vary of a number of thousand {dollars}.

Moseley signed and dated the headstock of this guitar constructed for his good friend Ross Coan Jr.

This practice construct from Moseley himself, who died just some years later, in 1992, is at present listed for $12,500.

Sources embody Reverb listings and pricing information, American Guitars: An Illustrated Historical past by Tom Wheeler, and Gruhn’s Information to Classic Guitars.

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