Tym Wosrite Versatone deluxe
Back in the olden days I used to make Mosrite copies 'cause I was SO obsessed with them and couldn't actually find one to buy, anywhere. This was pre-internet days and shops here in Brisbane were a wasteland for interesting things like Mosrites. I had bought anything that looked anything like a Mosrite by those wonderful Japanese brands that I've written so much about throughout this blog, but an actual Mosrite alluded me until this one.
I started making guitars because I wanted a Mosrite, specifically a Ventures model II and once I found out how rare they were I started making them.
Pretty quickly I wanted a ventures model too so the second guitar I ever made was a pretty primitive version of one. I didn't have access to a real one and very early internet was pretty scarce with info on them so I was basically working off any pic I could find.
The Wosrite thing kinda took off after Nicke from the Hellacopters started playing them and people got exposed to them worldwide. I had made a few for friends and myself by this stage but they were still mainly confined to Brisbane. With pictures and info opening up, and finally having access to real ones my Wosrites became more refined and closer to the real thing. In early 1999 I refinished a real Mosrite for a customer and started talking to Mosrite nuts around the world, who sent me pics and info that helped me get closer to the mid sixties versions I was trying to make.
This Wosrite is serial number D0045 with the D standing for "deluxe" which was my attempt at making a Mosrite as close as possible to an original.
This is a fairly "early" one with pickup covers formed in the oven over a mold just like Semie did in the early days. I think I started making these aluminium vibratos at about serial number 18 but I really didn't keep many detailed records or photos (no digital cameras back then) but I'm pretty sure D0018, which I still own was the first to have one. 18 also has P-90's with hand made surrounds so I was not yet putting the Mosrite clone pickups in these Wosrites.
This Wosrite was made August 2002 and has a hand carved solid Queensland maple body. By this stage I was using Qld maple, Honduran mahogany, pine, durian, Victorian ash, New Guinea rosewood and ply for bodies. Qld maple has always been a favourite of mine for both bodies and necks but it can get a little heavy with bigger bodies. Once my friend Adam introduced me to pine it became, and still is my personal preference for a solid body guitar body.
The neck is Qld maple with a jarrah fretboard. I had been using Qld maple for necks since my first neck and it is still my favourite neck building timber. By this stage I had also made necks from ash, teak (which I had a horrific allergic reaction to) and aluminium. Jarrah was my choice for fretboards and as I've discussed before I would cut it into strips about 7-8mm thick and write a date on it and let it dry for ..... I would come back 12 or more months later and any that hadn't curled or split I would use for my (6mm) fretboards. Australian hard timbers are very stable (and tough) once dried properly but splitting them down to thin strips meant I had to leave them in that state for longer to find the good ones, however the good ones are GREAT.
This one has a hand made trussrod in it 'cause, well, I made everything myself. These were double acting rods copied off the "hot rod" design and I used brass blocks and stainless rod. I made a bunch of them that worked backwards by mistake and this is one of them so turning the rod clockwise adds relief but it's pretty obvious once you turn it which way it's going. I did put stickers in the neck pickup pocket of these explaining this but this one doesn't have one, just the serial number which I was doing when I started making several guitars at once.
The neck is copied straight from a real Mosrite and is a typical mid 60's profile with Mosrite scale and big volute on a very thin neck. The headstock is slightly angled back, like a real one and has the classic Mosrite shape with the M cut in the end.
The Wosrite name just came to me when I started making guitars because well, I thought Semie WAS RIGHT, and the Versatone name came from the Ventures originally being called the Versatones.
I started making these vibratos because of my obsession with trying to make a "Mosrite". Other vibratos just don't .... look right. I worked in a foundry at the time where I made my aluminium necks and "dogs head" pedal boxes and thought I should make these like the original Vibramute vibratos Semie made. I made a copy out of car filler, in 3 pieces, and made 4 of each which I attached to a cast board so I could make 4 at a time. This was a huge step for me in making a Wosrite.
I cast the knobs from original Mosrite knobs and spun them on my lathe and made the neck plate from stainless. My obsession was .... obsessive.
I made these bridges out of stainless steel by cutting a box section in half, drilling all the holes and then cutting stainless rod to make the saddles. This is technically more a copy of the non roller Mosrite bridge not found on the Ventures model but I couldn't make those roller bridges by hand and this looked close enough.
The pickups are high output exact copies of Mosrite pickups which is kind of an oxymoron really as Semie made several different pickup constructions over the years and yet all of them sound like a Mosrite pickup. A lot of people will claim that you NEED the segmented magnets like the originals to make a Mosrite pickup sound like a Mosrite pickup but I don't believe this to be so. I have Mosrite Ventures models with at least 4 (could be more but I haven't checked them all) completely different construction methods that all sound like a Mosrite and having made pickups for years, and seeing just how different original Mosrite pickups are, those legendary magnets are all part of the myth and snake oil, like many other vintage guitar mythology.
I have always used acrylic lacquer for all my new builds as I think it's the best finish ever invented. If you believe nitro "sounds better" that's cool but I only work in nitro when I'm doing vintage restorations as it's very bad for me and the environment. All chemicals, including acrylic are but nitro is especially bad and because it doesn't make any difference to tone, I'll keep using it.
This Wosrite is owned by the original owner and has lived it's life in a studio here in Brisbane which is why it's still in very good condition. There's a couple of knocks and chips but it's in very good condition. It came in as the tone pot seized and wouldn't turn so I replaced that and did a full set up on it. All services on anything I make is free for life so this is heading back to it's owner to get used to record a bit more.
It's kinda weird sometimes seeing and playing stuff I made so long ago. I never meant for this to turn into what it did. I just wanted a Mosrite and couldn't find one so I built one, then another, then another and so on. I love that fact that my stuff has been used for so many years all over the world to make some pretty amazing music and inspire people to do great stuff. It's an amazing honour.