As most of you who follow me here know I'm heavily influenced by Semie Moseley as a guitar builder and although my newer TMI series guitars don't follow strict design and build ideals like my older Wosrite guitars, they are still heavily influenced by the man, especially in aesthetics and neck design.
So, here we are. Another TMI Custom done and, like my TMI Custom JRS V-2, another guitar in homage to both Semie and Johnny Ramone. While some TMI guitars are more Semie than Johnny, I have a few more Johnny inspired TMIs coming, not all of them Semies creations but let's dig into this one first.
The TMI Custom JRS SB75 is obviously influenced by Johnnys original blue Mosrite Ventures Model II in the version he used from 1975 until it was stolen in '77 when he went out and bought the (probably) more famous white version that he used for (most of) the rest of the Ramones.
The guitar was all original when he bought it in 1974 at Manny's Music in NY and he played it briefly with the original vibrato and bridge. The bridge was changed first to a Gibson harmonica bridge and slightly later the vibrato pivot and spring was removed, and a Gibson stop tailpiece was added over the original vibrato base plate. Unlike his white one the original pickups remained in his blue one and all the live shows and albums up to Road to Ruin were these simple blade single coils straight into 100W Marshall JMPs.
This TMI custom, like all my others has a chambered body made from locally grown, locally cut and processed, sustainable laminated pine that I buy directly from the owner of the mill 10 minutes from my workshop. I then hand make the bodies here in my workshop. This body is traced directly from my original 1965 Mosrite Ventures model II and is 40mm thick.
The neck, again like all my TMI Customs is hand made here by me using locally sourced sustainable Asian mahogany which I laminate into a 5-piece neck for strength and stability before fitting a double acting trussrod and gluing on an Indian rosewood fretboard. Once this is all dry, I hand shape the neck with a file and sandpaper to a thin, playable profile I like.
The neck has a 25.5" scale and 22 frets not including the zero fret and a radius of 17" with small dot markers in the original Mosrite layout of 2 on the 3,5,7 and 9 with 3 on the 12th and 1 thereafter. This neck is 39mm at the zero fret just like a lot of mid 60's Mosrites and I've fitted a handmade aluminium string guide and Gotoh plastic button Kluson styler tuners like the original Mk II. It is attached, like the originals, with 4 screws into the body with a rectangular plate covering these screws.
The pickups are hand made by me to original Mosrite specs except with a little more output for extra punch. These simple single coils used 2 of the segmented magnets used by Mosrite with a thin timber spacer glued together with thin clear plastic top and bottom plates to make a simple bobbin. these were wrapped in wire and the whole assembly epoxied into hand formed covers that were unique in the Mosrite world but similar in construction to the slightly later non pole Mosrite pickups. (I will do a separate blog on these earlier pickups soon)
While Mosrite always made one pickup for both positions and adjusted the height to balance the output, I always make a separate bridge and neck pickup with this set being 11.3K for neck and 13.4K for bridge. These are wired up to the standard wiring of 3-way switch to master volume and tone controls and out. The original Mk IIs had a single ply scratchplate but I've opted for a 3-ply plate to add a little class and give a nod to Johhny's white one.
The bridge and tailpiece are handmade to be reminiscent of Johnnys original with a stainless steel "vibrato plate" and stainless steel stop tail (Johnnys had a Gibson but ...) and a modified Ric style bridge to look half Mosrite/half harmonica.
I have finished this one in an original Mosrite blue (with original white sealer coat) and the body and neck are hand rubbed acrylic lacquer with 4 coats of polished clear while still showing slight grain and small imperfections which as I've said before, I have no problem with as I believe "handmade" things should look ... hand made, and I want my guitars to be played and used so small imperfections don't bother me as hopefully the new owner is going to scratch and ding it up anyway.
The chambered pine body means this whole guitar weighs in at 3.3KG which is around the same as the originals, but the hollow body cavities give this a little more acoustic resonance with great sustain.
This is serial number 0138 and will be available on the site in the coming weeks after I've let it settle in and done a final setup on it and, a hardcase (hopefully) arrives.
I have always built stuff for me and been pleasantly surprised when other people like them, but this means I always want to keep everything I make, which I'm trying MUCH harder to stop doing. The guitar this one is heavily based on was the guitar that actually started Tym guitars and is, and will always be, one of my favourite guitars for being not only played by my all-time favourite guitarist from my favourite band, but also being made by my favourite guitar manufacturer.