Catch of the Day: 1958 Mosrite Custom Double-Neck

1958 Mosrite Custom Double-Neck

This unusual Mosrite double-neck is on eBay right now with the auction scheduled to end on Sunday, December 22. As of this writing, the bidding is up to $3550 with no reserve, but I suspect it will go for a much higher price. Scroll down for a description of the guitar and more photos.

These days Semie Moseley is best known for the Mosrite guitars he built for The Ventures but in the 1950s he was known as that crazy guy in Southern California who built those wacky double-necked guitars for pickers like Joe Maphis and Larry Collins. Moseley got his start in the early 1950s at Rickenbacker and later worked with Paul Bigsby before setting out on his own. His first guitars were all pretty much made to order but by the late 1950s he was trying to come up with simpler designs that could be more easily manufactured than his regular, more ornate guitars like the one on this LP cover.

It appears that this double-neck was one of his first attempts to come up with a guitar that sounded like something Joe Maphis would play but without all the bling.

The long neck was set up in standard tuning while the shorter neck was tuned an octave up.

When you pop out the control plate you can see that Semie Moseley signed the back of the guitar, dated it and left the ambiguous inscription, “No. 1 Double.” The “Double” obviously refers to the number of necks but does the “No. 1” mean this is the first in this proposed new series? Is this a prototype for a model that was never put into production? I think it is a very strong possibility.

There is no logo on the headstock, a fact that supports the prototype theory. But it does have the distinctive Mosley “M” cut into the to of the headstock.

The 1958 date means that this guitar was built in Granada Hills, a year before Moseley moved to Oildale, a town near Bakersfield. At the time. Mosley was buying his pickups from Carvin, another Southern California-based guitar builder and the only source for off the rack pickups at the time. When Moseley moved to Oildale he started making his own pickups.

This guitar was built when Moseley was still doing set necks. In a couple of years he would switch over to bolt-on necks in the Fender style.

Moseley used Bigsby vibratos on some of his early handmade guitars so if he was trying to come up with a less expensive model, he would most like try to come up with a cheaper alternative. Is this crude vibrato an early iteration of the Vibramute he created for his Ventures model guitars?

Not the prettiest soldering job, but it looks like it’s mostly original.

Here’s a great clip of Joe Maphis and Larry Collins playing their fancy Mosrites in 1958, the same year this guitar was built.