1960s Mosrite Celebrity Hollowbody Electric Bass

Update 2018: I've updated the photos, included a video instead of a soundclip, and have rewritten the entire post. The video is taken with a mic on a Fender Rumble 40 amp in "bright" mode.

I took this bass in trade back in August of 2017 and I've been using it regularly since then. It's had a few gigs under its belt, a ton of jams, and even some theater work. Frankly, I think it's a great workhorse bass as it's lightweight, fits the body nice and snug, looks like a million bucks, and has the most stable neck I've had on any bass so far -- and I've had a lot of basses over time. I haven't had to touch the truss at all.

It's the kind of bass that works really well for a player in an acoustic band environment as its "default role" -- strung with light flatwounds and utilizing the factory foam mute that's under the bridge cover -- gives it a round, bouncy, uprighty/'60s jazz-like voice. It'd also fit right into surf or late '50s/early '60s sounds with the right strings and techniques. I mean, it is a California-made Mosrite, afterall. I wouldn't use it in a heavy-handed situation where you'd want a P-Bass vibe, though with the bridge (really center) pickup only selected, it has tons of punch.

Like many '60s hollowbody basses, when it came in the neckblock was semi-detached from the top/sides. I reinforced this with both glue and a number of hidden screws to make it secure and it's been 100% since then. Other work included a fret level/dress, moving the bridge post feet and modifying the saddles for proper height and intonation, new wiring harness (the original harness didn't have shielded wire and it was really corroded), cleaning, and a good setup with LaBella (I think?) 95w-40w flats. Aside from the wiring harness, the only other replacement parts are the tuners and they were on it when I got it. She's been stable-in-service and good to go every time I've picked it up.

Specs are:  30 1/4" scale, 1 9/16" nut width, 1 1/4" string spacing at the nut, 1 3/4" spacing at the bridge, 16" lower bout width, 11 1/4" upper bout, and 1 3/8" depth. The action is dialed in from 3/32" low to hair-over 1/16" high at the 12th fret, the neck is straight, and the frets have plenty of life to go.

The body is all ply with flamed-maple veneer and rich-looking binding everywhere -- including the f-holes!

It features a zero fret and big old steel nut.

The neck has a 12" radius and a slim, fast, C-shaped profile on the rear. I can play all sorts of stuff on this bass that I'd otherwise get a lot of crazy cramping on -- sliding octaves and chord shapes and whatnot.

Note that there's chipped-out/flaked-off finish around the binding at the heel area. The neck pickup's ring and cover is also slightly warped from years of storage before the neck block repairs. This pickup also does not adjust up/down as the baseplate became unattached. Currently it's taped-up on the rear and wedged-in nice and tight with some padding to keep it firm. It hasn't moved and it's exactly where you want it in relation to the strings. Minor output-adjustments can be done via the adjustable poles like on a P90.

The bridge pickup's height-adjustment works fine and it's a little stronger-output than the neck pickup. It's quite punchy.

The bridge cover has a pad of factory-installed foam under it to lightly mute/deaden sustain on the strings. I like this as I'm an upright player to begin with, but if you take the cover off or remove the foam you get more of a "normal" reaction from the strings. Personally, I like the more percussive sound as-is.

My new wiring harness uses Gibson-style grounded/braided wire for the pickup leads, 500k pots for volume/tone, a small-value tone cap for less of a roll-off, and a new 3-way switch. It's a vast improvement over the dark pots and unshielded wiring that was on this.

It's hard to see in the pics, but there's some weather-check/cracks to the finish in general. There's one long finish crack on the back and then a few shorter ones on the front where hardware meets the clearcoat.

It comes with its original Victoria Luggage Company hard case and it's in excellent shape for its age.


tim gueguen said…
Can't say I've ever seen a steel nut on a bass before. It makes me think of Paul Bigsby, because can I imagine a motorcycle guy like him using a steel nut.