Mosrite Avenger

Some of you know that this whole beast that is Tym guitars can be blamed on one guitar manufacturer from the sixties called Mosrite. I became totally obsessed with them in the early nineties and built a business and a website around them. It's true the Ramones got me into them, but I still think they're the most fascinating and best looking guitar ever made.


While I own too many original Mosrites (and copies and inspireds) and know stuff about them that humans shouldn't know, I'm not as obsessed with them as I once was but every so often something crosses my path that reminds me why I love them so much. This is one such job that hit my bench a couple of weeks ago.

It's an early seventies Mosrite Avenger. Mosrites were, and still are, HUGE in Japan thanks mainly to the Ventures. These Avengers were made in Japan from the late sixties first as a Firstman (Teisco spin off) and then just as the Avenger but with the "illegal" use of the actual Mosrite names and logos. Firstman eventually turned into "Mosrite Japan" in the very early seventies and made these Avengers in several different forms and even ended up having "the Ventures" logos illegally used on the headstocks also.


 


This one was bought on EBay and had some real issues when it arrived (surprise surprise) that needed attention before it could even be played. Apart from the obvious missing of parts it had some stability problems with the neck probably just from being used and abused in a past life. The basis of the actual guitar was all there and quite good.

The first issue was to repair these cracks around the neck pocket which had been badly glued before. Time to get in there and see what's going on.


 


 

So this "problem" had been  an issue for the last owner and it obviously wasn't fixed to his satisfaction so on EBay it went. The previous repairer had done quite a bit of work to stabilize this area but a couple of issues were still letting it down.

 

They had fitted a brass plate and metal machine bolts and nuts in an attempt to strengthen this whole joint but unfortunately the cracks in the body and the neck tongue were still causing big issues.


These were fixed easily and then it was time to move onto the tailpiece. The new owner wanted a tune-o-matic and stop tailpiece ala Johnny Ramone (I know, wrong model, right colour) and since the vibrato was incomplete anyway it wasn't such a big issue. The Moseley vibrato is, I think the greatest vibrato design out there but parts (and complete vibratos) are expensive and hard to get so they're not really a good option for retro fitting on other guitars.

Because the bridge adjustment screws are slightly closer together on the Mosrite and a different size thread I started by filling the original holes with hardwood dowel. This is glued in and then new holes drilled in the right place for the new bridge.

Don't just assume the bridge was in the right place and put the new one there. You do see on guitars in any price range bridges that were put in "slightly" the wrong place from the factory and then the guitar will never play in tune properly or the strings don't line up with the neck/pick ups so I always check this when fitting a new bridge. This one was spot on so the new bridge goes where the old one came from


.

 


With the new bridge in place it was time to line up the tailpiece and drill holes for the anchor plugs to fit into the body. Make sure the strings run straight across the bridge to the tailpiece and the strings don't hit the back of the bridge from the break angle.

Also make sure you drill the holes deep enough, but not too deep. More than once I've seen "homemade" guitars come in for work where there's patch jobs on the back of the body where the person has drilled this hole too deep and broke through the back.


Next up was a string guide. Because Mosrites use a zero fret (like ALL guitars should) the "nut"isn't actually a nut but a guide to space the strings across the fretboard.

On Mosrites these are metal half or quarter round pieces with the string slots cut into them. This was missing this piece so I made one out of a plastic nut. You don't have to set the height on these as the zero fret sets your action so these are purely slots deep enough the let the string rest on the fret


.

 


With everything fixed and back together it's just a straight set up now, and I've set up a few of these over the years.

I actually don't mind the stop tail on these as I don't use vibrato a lot (Johnny :)) and I think they look kind of tough with a stop tail. This one, like most of these Japanese Mosrite copies from this period came together like a dream. I personally prefer the "Mosrite Japan" copies over other Japanese brands and these Avengers are quite good if you can get them for the right price. This one needed a fair bit of work, but it's a great guitar now.


Aug 10 2013 Written By: Tim Brennan