Well, here it is.
What would happen if you somehow melded the greatest rock rhythm guitarist with the greatest punk rock rhythm guitarist? Or, possibly more accurately, what would happen if some idiot who builds guitars under his house in Brisbane wanted to make a Mosrite like Malcolm Youngs Gretsch?
This would happen.
I'll start off by sacrilegiously saying I'm actually not a huge AC/DC fan. I mean, I get they were great, and I understand the importance, and some of their records were the first records I ever bought with my own money back in the early/mid 70's but, I'm not a huge fan.
I am a huge fan however of Malcolm Young. He is undeniably the ROCK in Rock 'n' Roll. His rhythm guitar playing is exceptional and his tone is, well, it IS R'n'R. So, when I thought about making something in homage to him, I started thinking. I could make a copy of his Gretsch 6131 Jet Firebirds as I love that shape, but Gretsch (and Jaydee) already have/do. I thought about making a Gibson L6-S "double cut" which could be kinda cool. Or I could just do something a little sillier.
As most of you know I'm a HUGE (HUGE) Mosrite fan and everything I do and make is somehow influenced by Semie Moseley and/or Johnny Ramone so when I thought about Malcolm's playing, I decided it didn't actually have to be a Gretsch or something he actually played. It was the utilitarian aesthetic of Malcolm's guitar that I loved as much as the tone and function. Like Johnny's Mosrite it was a tool for making music. It was everything he needed to make that sound. It just happened to look very cool too.
So, I decided to somehow meld the 2 great guitarists while keeping true to my influences and this was born.
This is traced directly from one of my '66 Ventures models and the hollow body is made from locally grown and processed sustainable pine with integrated neck and bridge blocks and solid timber bracing. It is 42mm thick and has 3 ply top edge binding in homage to the original Gretsch.
The bolt on neck is a 5-piece Asian mahogany neck with an Indian rosewood fretboard with 22 frets and a zero fret, just like the original. I use zero frets on all my guitars not only because Semie did, but I think every guitar should have one. The neck construction is mostly Mosrite with a big volute and slightly angled drop headstock, but this neck is slightly deeper than my usual necks. I based this neck on a friends late 60's Gretsch which although slightly "big" for me, is very comfortable and feels great in the hand. The string spacing is 36mm at the zero fret and 50mm at the bridge.
The Indian rosewood fretboard has binding and small dot markers in Mosrite configuration. The string guide is laminated plastic to show a nod to the body binding and is carried over to the jack and back control cavity plates. The headstock is my usual TMI shape and has Gotoh Schaller style tuners.
The pickup is based on an early 60's Mosrite Ventures pickup with wooden and plastic bobbin wound to 14.5K with segmented magnets all enclosed in a hand formed cover with Phillips head screw polepieces. I then cast a clear pickup surround with silver sparkle in it to look a "little" bit like the original Gretsch surround. This all runs to a volume pot and tone pot and straight out.
The bridge is an original Gretsch stainless steel Space Control bridge with ebony base and is not pinned down although if the new owned would prefer this I'm happy to do it. The tailpiece is handmade aluminium and is based on the back half of the Moseley vibrato with a simple round stop tailpiece attached. Part of Malcolm's sound would be the excessive string length by having the original Burns vibrato anchored all the way at the back of the body, so I wanted to replicate that.
Because I wanted some of that original aesthetic, I routed the hollow body for 3 pickups and considered drilling all the extra holes but then decided against it. I did however drill a switch hole where Mosrite would have it and an extra pot hole just to add effect. I also considered relic'ing it but I'm not a huge fan of new relic'ed guitars and I'm really not a fan of "thin skin relics with grain showing" (ie: can't be bothered doing a proper paint job) so in the end I figured the new owner can "relic it" by playing it a lot.
The finish is all hand rubbed acrylic lacquer with a solid black sides and back on the body and the whole neck and headstock with a tinted clear on the face of the body. I painted the inside of the body matt black before gluing the (3mm) top on.
All in all, I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I think it shows a bit of love for both Malcolm and Semie (and Johnny) and it plays and sounds great, and I really like the way it looks. That high output single coil combined with a hollow body with blocks and bracing makes it a real rock machine with plenty of resonance and sustain.
This one is serial number 0142 and will be available on the site over the next week or so after it's settled in and had a final setup. If it's too silly for anyone I'm more than happy to keep this one.