Dogu Custom Electric Guitars’ MOS-01
Price: $2,200 (list)
Improving upon classic designs is a consistent theme in the guitar-manufacturing community. While many companies take a pragmatic approach to updating older designs for better performance, Mehmet Dogu (pronounced “Dough”) took a wistful one. He was determined to replace the guitar that got away.
The guitar in question was a 1968 Fender Stratocaster he acquired in the mid-1970s as a teenager. During the formative stages of his music education, Dogu developed a special attachment to the guitar, but at the end of his college years felt compelled to sell it to a good friend who showed more promise on the instrument. The lucky buyer went on to become a successful session guitarist and touring professional.
Although Dogu remained steadfast in his decision, he always dreamed of replacing it. He searched for a guitar with a similar feel and sound, but eventually realized that the only way he’d find another instrument with that “special something” was to build it himself. Years later, the Dogu MOS-01 was born – the latest in Dogu Custom Electric Guitars’ impressive lineup catering to guitarists with a taste for traditional looks and modern playability. (MOS stands for “My Old Strat.”)
Made in Santa Barbara, California, the MOS-01 may be Dogu’s attempt to re-create the magic of his long lost ’68, but it does come with a few updates. Weighing in at a solid 8.6 pounds, the MOS-01 is handsome, with its two-piece swamp ash body, sunburst finish under clear satin, parchment pickguard, and three aged control knobs and switch tip. It sports a unique V-shaped figured maple neck with a Pau Ferro fretboard and a compound radius from 10″ to 16″. The neck also has 22 6105 frets, a fatback shape, and a 111/16″ Corian nut. Hardware includes vintage-style Gotoh tuners and string tree, as well as a JP Woodtone bridge with titanium saddles for slightly narrower string spacing than the MOS-01’s vintage counterpart.
For electronics, the guitar features three Seymour Duncan Antiquity II Surfer single-coil pickups. In keeping with the guitar’s vintage inspiration, the pickups are very clean and low-output, offering 5.15k in the neck, 5.27k in the middle, and 5.47k in the bridge. The rear Tone knob, however, acts as a blender to add degrees of the neck pickup into either the bridge or the two and four positions, or to add the bridge pickup in degrees to the neck pickup.
Plugging into a Peavey JSX 120-watt head and a ’65 Fender Pro Reverb, ultra-clean shimmer and organic sparkle poured from the neck pickup. It lacked the warm lows one might normally find in the neck pickup of a vintage Strat, but it had enough bottom end to keep the guitar from sounding shrill. The exaggerated thickness and V-shaped curvature of the neck offered plenty of leverage to dig deep and push against the strings for expressive bends. Chords rang with unbridled integrity, clarity, and character. The guitar sounded best plugged into a loud and clean combo amp. It displayed luxurious nuance, complex spank, and earthy muscle.
The MOS-01’s bridge pickup offered similar qualities but with a sharp kick. Using the two and four positions, it became apparent the guitar has a Nashville flavor. The pickups were pristine, allowing the wood to be heard, and the blender knob did an excellent job of incrementally warming up the bridge pickup; with the knob maxed, the guitar produces 50 percent neck and 50 percent bridge. Engaging the two and four positions with the blender knob produced convincing Tele and surf sounds.
The super-clean nature of the MOS-01’s pickups isn’t a perfect match for overdrive much less distortion, and 60-cycle hum is present except for in the two and four positions. With electronics and sound consistent with vintage Strats, the MOS-01 might not be the best choice for heavy rock players with complex pedalboards and amp rigs, but the workmanship is tops and it feels spectacular, plays effortlessly, and looks awesome. The MOS-01 is a very special guitar with a classic design and cool appointments.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.