The new Danelectro ’64 introduced at NAMM 2016 looks just like an old Mosrite Ventures or Mark I guitar. Danoelectro has used a body profile loosely based on the Mosrite before with their earlier Hodad guitars. However this new model is a solid body with the authentic looking German carve top, an offset neck pickup, zero fret and control knobs like the original Mosrite guitars from the 1960s that Semie Moseley created. Part of Danelectro’s 60th Anniversary.
The differences from an actual Mosrite guitar are the Bigsby tailpiece instead of the superior Mosrite tremolo (Vibramute). Also the pickups are a P90 style in the neck and Danelectro’s own ’90s output dual lipstick humbucker in the bridge position. Pull on the tone knob for single coil. The neck on an original Mosrite have micro-frets for very fast playing that some call “speed frets.” The Danelectro ’64 has normal sized frets that are more conventional.
I love the look of these guitars. Other company’s have done Mosrite style guitars like Eastwood’s Sidejack/Hi-Flyer models and the Univox Hi-Flyer. Also there have been some Japanese Mosrites. Danelectro did a nice job on this model, as there have been many Mosrite inspired or clone guitars from Hallmark, Jay Turser, Audition, Kawai, Teisco/Silvertone, Excetro, Morales, Aria, Honey, Minister, Firstman, Coronet, Sakai, Fillmore, Gun, Dillon, Wilson Brothers, Noble, Mooring, Guyatone, Di Pinto, etc. Some of these are decent guitars, but as you might expect are not the same as an actual Mosrite. Finding an original Mosrite in good condition at an affordable price is near impossible. Mosrite USA reissues can be ordered but also cost over $3K. So for many of us mere mortals the new Dano ’64 is a great deal on a classic design.
Vintage Mosrite guitar prices have risen mostly due to being associated with Johnny Ramone, Kurt Cobain and other alternative bands…. of course older players and collectors will always associate Mosrites with Surf music and the Ventures who had a Mosrite signature models in the early 1960s.
The original Mosrite guitars had a very cool look and sound. Seems smart for Danelectro to do a Mosrite style guitar at such a reasonable price. Danelectro did a really nice job with this model. These guitars will be in limited numbers with dealers only getting a select few in different colors at first. Danelectro has said this model is a limited production run. I wanted one of these as soon as I heard about them. I placed my order to the first dealer that had one in stock. This one was manufactured on 1-15-2016 according the documentation that came with guitar.
The quality of the build is quite nice for a guitar in this price range. The neck pocket is tight the German carve is done well. Danelectro got the basic Mosrite shape correct. The pickguard is plastic and not the standard painted masonite that most Danos have. Tuners are vintage style and seem to be decent quality. Seems to be a better build that some Dano models.
Love the offset profile and the candy colors they are using to make these guitars. The Sunburst is also nice. Weighs in at 7-lbs 11-ozs and is well balanced. The fretwork and setup from the factory is quite good. The zero fret and the roller adjustable bridge works nicely with the Bigsby. Very fun guitar and a blast to play.
Semie Moseley was born in Durant, Oklahoma on June 13th, 1935. Semie Moseley while in Bakersfield California with his brother Andy were building guitars since they were young kids. Semie later apprenticed at the Rickenbacker guitar factory. It was there he learned building techniques from famous luthier Roger Rossmeisl. Rossmeisl as a native of Germany learned the luthier trade from his father. A trademark of Rossmeisl was the German Carve. This is a technique were the perimeter of the guitar is carved and beveled to give the instruments body a raised surface. This is a feature Semie also used on the Mosrite guitars. Some Fender guitars that Rossmeisl designed while working there in the mid-1960’s also have some of these features.
After leaving Rickenbacker, Semie Moseley apprenticed with Paul Bigsby. Probably why you can easily see the influences of Rossmeisl and Bigsby in Semie Moseley’s original guitars. Semie was just nineteen when he built his first triple-neck guitar and was even repairing guitars for Merle Travis. He built a custom double-neck instrument for TV artist Joe Maphis, who was billed as the King of Strings.
Mosrite was founded by the Moseley brothers. The name Mosrite is a combination of the last names from friend and mentor Reverend Ray Boatright, who purchased the equipment for the upstart entrepreneurs. By the 60’s, the Mosrite was a very desirable boutique guitar costing nearly double that of a Fender Stratocaster.
California session player, Gene Moles, showed his Mosrite guitar to Nokie Edwards of The Ventures. Edwards feel in love with the guitar soon visiting Moseley for his own Mosrite guitar. Soon after the Ventures had Moseley build custom made Ventures guitars and basses replacing their trademark Fender guitars. Ventures had their signature instruments and Mosrite had a huge endorser. Nokie Edwards turned Mosrite into a household name among guitar enthusiasts as lead guitarist for the kings of ‘60s surf-rock, the Ventures.
The Mosrite’s had narrow neck and a low profile with very low action due what were called ‘speed frets,’ where you could slide up and down the neck without getting held up on high-profile frets.”
Mosrites were used on songs like “Walk, Don’t Run” and the theme from “Hawaii 5-0.” The Ventures, having signed a special distribution agreement with Mosrite, featured the guitar on its album covers. Also lets not forget the Mosrite fuzz!
Around 1966, Moseley purchased the Dobro Company in an effort to broaden their offerings. Mosrite soon came out with a Dobro style guitar called The Californian, which had the Dobro resonator and a Mosrite pickup. He also made a hollow body Mosrite named The Boatright guitar. This instrument used a European body that looked much like a Gibson ES-335, but the neck and all the parts (except the tuners) were made by Mosrite.
Semie actually passed on an offer from Sears and Roebuck to purchase Mosrite for well over a million dollars. Semie felt that because his name was on the guitars, he just couldn’t sell the brand name away.
Semie’s daughter, Dana Moseley has re-opened Mosrite and is making and selling handmade electric guitars. She builds Mosrite guitars using the same methods her father taught her.
Danelectro 64 Specs:
- Construction: Double Cut Solid Body
- Bolt on neck
- Frets: 22
- Scale Length: 25-inch
- Body Material: Agathis
- Neck: Maple with Rosewood fretboard and dot inlays
- Neck Pickup: P90
- Bridge Pickup: Double Lipstick Alnico with tap for single coil
- Pickup Selector Switch: 3 way toggle
- Bridge: Adjustable Roller Bridge
- Tremolo: Bigsby
- Hardware: Nickel
- Made in Korea