TMI Versatone model II

To follow on from my other bogs about some new designs I'm working on with both the hybrid and hollow timber versions of the new TMI guitars I hope to make soon (well, one day) for general consumption, here's another one I made recently. 

This one is essentially made in a very similar fashion to the Vibratone and the "Flame guitar" I made for Kim Salmon and is a three piece body with the top and back hollowed out from the inside before it is glued to a solid centre piece of marine ply. The top and back are hollowed out by hand and there is a "spine" that runs from the neck pocket to the strap button with anchor points for the pickups, bridge and tailpiece left in the top. The back is completely hollow except for a thinner spine and the bridge support.

Because the "slab body" Mosrite model II was the first guitar I made and was my most common model back when I was making guitars, it, and the Vibratone (my first original design) were the obvious shapes to start these new guitars.

 

I made the slab body in several different forms back then as a Johnny after, of course, Johnny Ramone and a Versatone II which was a much more accurate copy to an original '65 Mosrite.

This was the shape of guitar that started this whole thing for me and I still love it's simplicity and beauty.

So with this idea of hollow chambered guitars bugging me for years I decided to make some for my 20th anniversary this year (2017) and worked out a way I could take some time to make them, which hasn't really panned out as well as I'd hoped. I'm hoping to make some of these in the near future for friends and hopefully hang some on the wall in the shop.

This one started life as a more faithful copy of the slab body Mosrite with black mini humbuckers which look very much like the original Mosrite ones used on this model (and this model only) back in mid '65.

Even though I LOVE Firebird style mini humbuckers, and these looked right I kept looking at it staring at me from the corner of the workshop and wanted it to be more .... Ramones.

So one day I took the scratchplate off and cut a new one to mount a DiMarzio FS-1 just like Johnny used. 

Even though the rest of the guitar is not really a slab body (hollow, Fender scale, no zero fret etc) it just seemed like it needed that angled single coil in the bridge and the chrome mini in the neck. Johnny's neck pickup wasn't hooked up but I did wire this as you'd expect with the three way switch and tone and volume controls. 

I do love the original slab body a lot but it was Johnny's guitar that got me into them, and this so it just seemed ... right to make it a Johnny. 

 

While the body is traced from one of my original slab body Mk II's the longer scale length means everything doesn't sit exactly where it does on the short scale Mosrite so the scratchplate is longer and the bridge further back etc but it still keeps the general vibe and looks of the original quite well. 

 

Johnny had Grover tuners on his but I had already fitted vintage Kluson style tuners for the sixties look and left them on. It also has the original spun Mosrite style knobs instead of Johnny's mismatched ones but .... well ... 

 

If I can find time away from running this place and building pedals and doing repairs and putting on instores and running a record label and ... well, I'd really like to build some of these TMI guitars for friends. We'll see how that pans out. 

Dec 01 2017 Written By: Tim Brennan