Here’s a collection of serial numbers of Mosrite’s cheapest electric guitar. The guitar Johnny Ramone has used as his main guitar his entire Ramones career from 1974 to 1996. Originally designed as a student model, a few months later changed to a more elaborate model with German carve, Moseley vibrato, bigger pickups.
The Ventures logo has not been used by Mosrite anymore after the distribution deal with the Ventures has ended. Some sources say that’s happened in 1967, some say late 1968.
The last Ventures record promoting Mosrite guitars is Super Psychedelics, released June 3, 1967. The next record, $1,000,000 Weekend, released December 23, 1967, is not promoting Mosrite anymore but Award Amplifiers. So the deal may have ended in middle to late 1967.
Del Halterman tells on page 162 of „Walk-Don’t Run – The Story of the Ventures“: „While Flights of Fantasy climbed to 169 in Billboard, The Ventures‘ five-year contract with Mosrite expired.“ Flights of Fantasy was released on May 25, 1968. Mathematical, a 1963 5-year contract should last until 1968. On „The Horse“ (released: August 24, 1968) the band poses with Mosrite guitars on the cover.
I guess the deal has ended in late 1968, so that may be the date when the Ventures logo disappeared from the headstocks.
Unfortunately, he neck heel and pocket stamps have only been used from July 1965 to October 1966, perhaps November. Early Slab Ventures II do not have a date stamp.
The „—“ in the table means that I don’t have the data, not that there is not such data.
Please note: All information here is the autor’s belief. The estimated numbers of made exemplars are a rough guess. All information is without engagement, no responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information.
If you have more information about serial number and model and year or have pictures of your Mosrite that you’d allow me to publish here, please tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct 12, 2018: s/n added to B120
Dec 11, 2018: new pix added to B674, 015 (Mel-O-Bar) and 027 (Mel-O-Bar) added
Jan 04, 2019: B1392 added
Jan 18, 2019: B1687 added
Jan 22, 2019: B188 added
Jan 24, 2019: B317 added
Feb 29, 2019: B970 added
That means that the following numbers have been produced:
Ventures II SLAB body: approx. 150 pcs.
Ventures II/Mark V/Gospel GERMAN CARVE body: approx. 1550 pcs
The German Carve guitars are more or less the same, only small changes over the years regarding finish (nitro or poly), routing of the electrics cavity, number of pickguard screws, position of the trussrod nut, backplate or inserts, etc.
Ventures II — slab body
approx made: 150
There seem to be like two different runs; differences in generation 2:
- slight modification to body’s neck joint (thicker and shorter)
- neck-thickness at body joint, joint became shorter, too
- fretboard became way thicker (maple thinner)
- slightly differently shaped upper horn
- vibrato unit’s top part changed from flat to arched (rolled edge)
- ½ round string guide changed to ¼ round
According to a Japanese website Don Wilson has played a slab Ventures II in summer 1965 at Shinjuku Welfare Pension Hall as backup and again in 1967. Nokie Edwards has had a slab Ventures II as backup, too (perhaps prototype #1). These two white guitars are often called prototypes – difference to the regular run of slab bodied Ventures IIs is the binding on the fretboard and a little longer headstock.
The very first production models have a thicker neck heel while the body is exactly the same as that of the regular generation 1 models. B002, B006, Johnny Ramone’s blue and Sunburst, and I think B017 have that thick neck heel, I can’t tell for the guitars in between. My B021 has the regular generation 1 neck heel.
Ventures II — German carve
„transition“ — rounded neck heel and folded sheet vibrato
approx made: ?
These guitars are sometimes called „transitions“ because they have attributes from the early slab body models (vibrato, neck) and from the later German carve models (body, pickups, pickguard, knobs). They have no serial number.
My guess: made from factory left overs that were on auction in 1969; some parts sold by Andy Moseley years after.
Ventures II — German carve
transition — narrow head, cut at heel, enlarged pickguard
approx made: 100
- German carve body
- Moseley vibrato
- Mosrite of California pickups without pole pieces
- „hat type“ volume and tone knobs
- pickguard all the way under neck-pickup
Enlarged pickguard to close the gap from the pu-routing (pu is put a little bit more in direction neck because of the neck’s cut end); reason may be: New body-design with german carve was ready for production with a newly shaped neck’s ending, but there were around 100 Ventures II necks left over that were used BEFORE the newly designed necks were used…
Ventures II—German carve
wider head, uncut neck
approx made: 400
December 1965–February 1966
As before, but:
- pickguard half the way under neck-pickup
- wider headstock
- neck heel uncut, longer than on slab body models
The final Ventures II design: neck matches body, head wider than first Ventures II design, normal Ventures‘ attribures: vibrato, ¼ round string guide, 3 piece neck…
Ventures Mark V
„Mark V“ instead of „II model“
B480–B891; B1177 (outlier?)
approx made: 200
The final Ventures II design with a slightly different logo
Ventures Mark V
trussrod nut at headstock
approx made: 550
April 1966–1968 (?)
After the Ventures‘ split: no logo anymore
approx made: 150
1968 (?) to early 1969 (Mosrite bankruptcy Feb 14, 1969)
The neck plate disappears: nearly all have 3 or 4 bolts without a neck plate and with japanese tuners. Seems the last ones have been equipped with slightly reshaped over run D-100 Dobro necks (thanks to Ed Elliott for that info!).
headstock labeled „Gospel“ instead of „Mosrite“
approx made: 15
1969 after the bankruptcy
No Mosrite, no Ventures, 4 bolts, no plate, japanese tuners…
Mark V Bass
German Carve Ventures II / Mark V body with (guitar scale) bass neck
I’ve no idea if they’re partsrites or custom made, all seem to be quite different.
Slab Ventures II body with steel guitar neck
You may ask what those some kind of weird Mel-O-Bar guitars have to do with the Mosrite Ventures II guitar…
Well, while the production of the necks began around March 1966, there are two runs of the body, whereof one does not have a date stamp while the other is stamped October 1965. The unstamped bodies (1) have a shape very close to that of the Ventures II Slab bodies, with very small pickup routings, something like a missing link between the Mark I body and the Slab. The October 1965 bodies (2) look like the common German Carve Ventures II bodies, only without the German Carve, and are dated before the earliest German Carve bodies. I guess these bodies used for the Mel-O-Bar have originally been some kind of prototypes, the unstamped for the Slab, the October 1965 for the German Carve Ventures II.
last modification: February 19, 2019