Tym "The Johnny model" Wosrite
Since I've been putting up a bunch of old guitars I've made over the years I thought this one was important for several reasons. This whole thing I now call Tym guitars essentially started from my Mosrite and Ramones obsession. The guitar I wanted to own was a Ventures Model II made by Mosrite in 1965. When I started getting into guitars I didn't realize they were so rare.
The first guitar I ever made was a copy of this Ventures II. I say copy but it was pretty primitive and now, looks completely odd, but at the time was my most crowning achievement. I played it live A LOT and people would come up and ask me where the hell I got it from. I made lasting friendships with that guitar. Mosrite people tend to stick together.
I made a few more "Johnnys" for friends and bands and then was contacted by Nicke Royale from Swedish rock gods, the Hellacopters. He was after a left handed one and this was long before the days of "boutique guitar builders" and parts luthiers. I made one for Nicke and a friendship was struck and Nicke ended up with 5 of my guitars all up, but maybe that's another story ?
After playing my original for so long and having improved as a guitar maker, and a Mosrite nut I decided to make another Johnny for myself. I made Wosrite Mark II's as Johnny's guitar, the classic white slab body with Fender style single coil in the bridge and mini humbucker in the neck, Gibson stop tailpiece etc and as the more "standard" Ventures model II which I will do a blog on one day.
This was the first attempt that I was basically happy with as at this stage, I still hadn't actually seen a slab body so was still working off pics. This is serial number 0037 and my serial number book says this was made in July 2001. By this guitar Nicke Royale now owned 4 of my guitars and I made one exactly the same as this for Dregen from Backyard Babies, who I also knew and Nicke took back to Sweden after a tour here.
I later ended up with two original slab body II's and was still pretty happy with how this one had turned out. My friend, and equally obsessive Mosrite nut Deke Dickerson dropped into my place while on tour one time as he always does and we talked ........ Mosrite all night. At one point he asked "can I see one of your slab bodies ?" I said sure and started digging through piles of hardcases. I found my blue one and gave it to him. He said "I've never actually seen one, in all these years of digging, I've never actually seen one in the flesh" So, they're pretty rare.
Of course, this one didn't sound like the originals as this was a copy of my holy grail. A copy of Johnny Ramones Mosrite with all the mods. This was before I could get, or even knew of any Mosrite Japan copies so I thought this was the only way I was EVER going to get one of these. I have since owned quite a few Japanese copies and sold most of them on. Some have been close, some have been no-where near the feel and tone of an original one. All have been too heavy.
The pick ups in the original Mosrites are key to that tone. You can hear when Johnny's tone changed in the Ramones like when his main white Mosrite was converted to the DiMarzio Fat Strat single coil in the bridge in the early 80's after the original pick up died. His tone had already changed when he went from Marshall "plexy" Super Leads to JMP's after all their gear was stolen in late '77. It changed again in the early 80's when he went to JCM800's and his guitar tone got a lot more gainy. That early stuff is clean when you listen carefully and these original Ventures II pick ups have a unique tone that is part of that. Those early albums (and live bootlegs) have a much different guitar sound to later (especially post Road to Ruin) albums and bootlegs and I believe that those cheap Mosrite pick us and Marshall Plexies are the key ingredient, after Johnny's amazing playing style of course. Anyway, I digress ........ again.
This Wosrite has a Queensland maple body and neck which is more like south American mahogany but is heavier than the original Mosrites basswood body. This one is also, it turns out, thinner than an original. I got the shape "nearly" right from good front on pics of originals I could find and the pick up configuration and wiring is like Johnny's (neck pick up not connected) but I used a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound as I preferred the tone. The neck is thin but not slab body thin and it was fun to play.
Within a couple of years these were being cranked out in Japan as a standard model and Johnny was actually given one while on tour in Japan, which he used a back up. I have kept a few Japanese copies including the actual "official Ramones model" released by Fillmour Japan so maybe I should do a story on some of them one day ? I will also do stories on my slab body II's and my actual US Ramones Mosrites when I get time. Both models are very rare guitars indeed.