Mosrite Doubleneck Owned and played by Roy Nichols, Model Arch Top Hollow Body Electric Guitar, c. 1959, made in California, sunburst lacquer finish, maple back and necks, rosewood fingerboards, brown hard shell case. This very early Mosrite double neck instrument is an exceptionally rare and supremely hip guitar, a piece of Bakersfield country fretted heaven with quite a history. Mosrite creator Semie Moseley was one of the great American guitar stories, going from rags to riches and back again more than once building his always unique instruments. This guitar is representative of the instruments he was hand-making in the late 1950s, long before there was a Mosrite factory of any sort. The guitar was custom made for (and still carries the name of) Roy Nichols, one of the seminal pickers of the California country scene, most remembered for a long stint as Merle Haggard's lead guitarist and right-hand man. Nichols is venerated by country guitar fans as one of the unsung greats of the genre, and was a major part of the Haggard sound for decades.When this guitar was built for Nichols, Mosrite (spelled Mos-Rite in the early days) was essentially a one-man operation, but Semie Moseley never stopped trying to get his guitars into places they could be seen -- and heard. He had scored a superbly high-visibility endorsement in the mid-'50s by getting hotshot picker Joe Maphis to play an over-the-top flashy doubleneck guitar as his main instrument, and that was the start of bigger things. Maphis' supremely hot picking was regularly featured on the local California "TOWN HALL PARTY TV" show, which broadcast live country music every week. Maphis was both bandleader and soloist on the show; his ultra-flashy guitar was visually unique, and even on small flickering TV screens made an unmistakable impression. The upper neck was tuned an octave above the lower, inspired by the sounds Les Paul got on record by speeding up the tape. Maphis used it to execute uber-fast picked runs and fiddle tunes that would be very difficult on a standard guitar, and many local pickers took note. Soon Semie was getting orders from other hotshot guitarists who wanted the sound -- and style -- Maphis was showing off every week on TV. This slightly later doubleneck Mosrite is also woven into Bakersfield country music history. It's not possible to know exactly when Roy Nichols decided that he needed a Maphis-style guitar, but it was likely around 1959 that it was built. It probably looked somewhat different then, in all probability loaded up with more decorative "geegaw" in the style of the Maphis model. What is certain is that Nichols' name graced the fingerboard from day one, as benefitted an up-and-coming player looking to make a splash. When the guitar was made for Roy, he was a working player on the Southern California scene but not a well-known name. After a stint with the Maddox Brothers & Rose as a teenager, Nichols had settled in to a day-to-day gigging life, playing most often in local singer Wynn Stewart's band. Stewart was also a bit of an entrepreneur and ran the "Nashville Nevada" Club in Las Vegas, where many California-based players would gig regularly. There is one existing photograph of Nichols playing what appears to be this guitar in Stewart's band circa 1962, with a young Merle Haggard on bass. At the time, "Hag" was trying to break into the business as a pro, and playing as a sideman for an more established artist was a standard route for an up-and-coming singer or songwriter to get experience in the rough-and-tumble world. It is quite likely that the first time Haggard and Nichols shared a stage, Roy Nichols was playing this guitar. While other hot California pickers, including Phil Baugh, made more use of their Mosrites, legend has it that Nichols, a long-time Telecaster user, was not entirely thrilled with his. There is a tale that he eventually left it at a bus station, only to have it returned sometime later; after all, it had his name on it in huge letters!At some point, likely long after the alleged bus station incident, the guitar was heavily re-worked by Moseley himself, which was not uncommon. Most similar early Mosrites were rebuilt or updated over the years as Semie Moseley went from garage-based amateur to head of a manufacturing operation, and back again. Although there is no record of how many were built, current estimates of the number of surviving original hand-built doublenecks is less than 10, with only I or 2 in fully original condition. Moseley himself was extremely proud of these first handmade guitars, and wanted to keep them in professional playing condition so they would continue to be functional player's tools. Preserving their original state was not considered important compared t

Reverb Buyer Protection

Reverb has your back if your item is lost, damaged, or doesn't match its description. Simply report any issues within 7 days and we'll help you get a full refund.Learn more about Reverb Buyer Protection.

Listed5 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
  • Doubleneck Owned and played by Roy Nichols,
  • sunburst lacquer
  • 1959

Reverb Protection

Simple Returns, Secure Transactions, Human Support

Learn more

Secure Checkout

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.