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Summary: An American guitar manufacturing company, based in Bakersfield, California, from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.
Description: String instruments
Known For: American guitar manufacturing company, based in Bakersfield, California
Instruments: Guitar
Location: United States of America
Web Site:
Other Links: For other links about this entertainer click on the Links button above

An American guitar manufacturing company, based in Bakersfield, California, from the late 1950s to the early 1990s.

Founded by Semie Moseley, Mosrite guitars were played by many rock and roll and country artists that include:

Tommy Tedesco, Davie Allan, Kurt Cobain, Joe Maphis, John Entwistle, Larry Collins, Buck Trent, Nick McCarthy, The Ventures,Bill Parrilli, the MC5, Iron Butterfly, Arthur Lee Love, Johnny Ramone, Ricky Wilson, Kayama Yuzo, and Kevin Shields.

A friend of Moseley, a singing preacher named Rev. Ray Boatright, was deeply impressed with Moseley's guitar designs, and put up front money for Moseley to found his guitar company.

In gratitude, Moseley named the company by combining his and Boatright's last names.

It is generally pronounced "MÔZE-right.

Mosrite guitars were known for innovative design, beautiful engineering, very thin, low-fretted and narrow necks, and extremely hot (high output) pickups.

Moseley's design for the Ventures, known as the "Ventures Model" (later known as the "Mark I") was generally considered to be the flagship of the line, but all of his guitars bore his unmistakable touch.

Mosrite also produced several types of double-necked guitars, which were the types favored by Collins and Maphis; this design was also used by Nick Nastos, lead guitar player for Bill Haley & His Comets, during 1968.


In Bakersfield, Semie Moseley started playing guitar in an evangelical group at age 13.

Semie and his brother Andy experimented with guitars since teen-age years, refinishing instruments and building new necks.

Semie Moseley began building guitars in the Los Angeles area around 1952 or 1953.

He began by apprenticing at the Rickenbacker factory, where he learned much of his guitar making skills from Roger Rossmeisl, a German immigrant who brought old-world luthier techniques into the modern electric guitar manufacturing process.

One of the most recognizable features on most Mosrite guitars is the "German Carve" on the top that Moseley learned from Rossmeisl.

During the same time, Moseley apprenticed with Paul Bigsby in Downey, California, the man who made the first modern solid-body guitar for Merle Travis in 1948, and who invented the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece, which is still used today.

In 1954 Semie built a triple-neck guitar in his garage (the longest neck was a standard guitar, the second-longest neck an octave higher, the shortest was an eight-string mandolin).

He presented a double-neck to Joe Maphis, a Los Angeles-area TV performer. By 1956, with an investment from Reverend Ray Boatright, a local Los Angeles minister, Semie and Andy started their company, Mosrite of California.

In 1959, Andy moved to Nashville, Tennessee for a year to popularize the Mosrite name and sold a few to Grand Ole Opry entertainers, people, and to road musicians.

Moseley made guitars in Los Angeles until 1959, when he moved to Oildale, California, just north of Bakersfield.

In 1962 he moved his shop to Panama Lane where he designed and produced the first Joe Maphis model guitars, which would become the Ventures model guitars. (Joe Maphis would later get a model of his own, similar to a Mosrite Combo model but without the F-hole.)

At the peak of production in 1968, Semie and his brother Andy, with their crew of 107 employees were making 1,000 Mosrite guitars per month which included acoustics, standard electrics, double-necks, triple-necks, basses, dobros, even mandolins.

Mosrite of California went bankrupt in late 1968 after they contracted with a competitor to market their guitars.

After this, the they tried to deal directly with stores, and they sold 280 guitars in 1969 before they came to the shop one day and found their doors pad-locked.

Two years after his bankruptcy, Semie was able to get back the Mosrite name, and in 1970 he started making guitars again in Pumpkin Center near Bakersfield.

He moved his factory three times in the next 20 years, to Oklahoma City in the mid-70s, to the township of Jonas Ridge, in Burke County, North Carolina in 1981, and to Booneville, Arkansas in 1991.

The company fell on hard times repeatedly in the late 1960s and 1970's, but continued to produce Mosrite guitars until 1993 in North Carolina and Arkansas.

Most of them were exported to Japan, where their popularity remained very strong. The quality of the instruments always remained very respectable.

Semie Moseley died in 1992. His wife Loretta continued to produce Mosrites a year or so after his death.

Mosrite has recently been restarted by Loretta in 2007 and since 2008 has been selling custom Mosrites via their website.

The company now has recently released the Semie Moseley Model ’63 and ’65, based on the Ventures models.

Semie's daughter, Dana Moseley, is also a luthier and continues to build Mosrite guitars.

Further information can be obtained at the web sites listed on the Links button above

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