Johnny Ramone’s Mosrite Guitar Goes Up for Auction

Johnny Ramones Guitar
Pictured: Johnny Ramone’s Personally-Owned and Stage-Used 1965 Mosrite Ventures V1 Guitar

Johnny Ramone’s Mosrite Guitar will be featured at a live auction event by Boston, MA based RR Auction this month. The personally-owned and used red 1965 Mosrite Ventures V1 guitar is signed on the body in black felt tip, “Best always, Johnny Ramone, 5/22/90.”

The six-string guitar features several modifications Ramone made to make the guitar fit his sound and style, the most significant being the replacement of the tremolo system with a stop bar tailpiece and installation of a DiMarzio FS-1 bridge pickup, as well as a tortoiseshell pickguard. Included in the sale, is the original hardshell case.

This is a rare instrument in its own right, and the only red guitar or Ventures Model 1 that Ramone owned; it was in his possession for at least seven years, from circa 1982–83 until he sold it in 1990; the first photographic evidence of Ramone playing the guitar comes from a show at the Eagle’s Hippodrome in Seattle on May 5, 1983. Johnny most often used this guitar for TV appearances and it can be seen up-close during a 1988 performance on MTV.

In 1990, Ramone sold this guitar to friend and former Ramones band driver Gene Frawley, signing and dating it on the occasion. A subsequent owner later personally confirmed the ownership details with Ramone, who acknowledged that he owned and used the guitar throughout the 1980s before selling it to Frawley.

“This is one of just nine Mosrite guitars owned by Ramone known to exist — an exceedingly rare and historically important piece of music history,” says Bobby Livingston, Exec VP at RR Auction.

Johnny Ramone was a founding member of the seminal punk band that broke onto the New York music scene in 1974. Johnny was known for his fast, high-energy guitar playing. His style almost exclusively consisted of rapid down strokes and bar chord shapes. This unique playing style and buzz saw-like sound of Johnny’s guitar parts was highly influential on many early punk rock guitarists and keeps him listed on numerous top lists of the greatest guitar players. Johnny Ramone died in his Los Angeles home on September 15, 2004 at the age of 55 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer.

The Johnny Ramone guitar will be part of a special live auction event, featuring nearly 150 items, that will take place on January 22nd, 2015 at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery, but Online Bidding begins January 15th, More details can be found online at RR Auction Dot Com.

One thought on “Johnny Ramone’s Mosrite Guitar Goes Up for Auction

  1. He met future bandmate Douglas Colvin, later to become Dee Dee Ramone, in the early 19 while delivering dry cleaning. They would eat lunch together and discuss their mutual love of bands like the Stooges and MC5. Together they went to Manny’s Music in New York City in January 1974, where Johnny bought a used blue Mosrite Ventures II guitar for just over $54. On the same trip, Dee Dee bought a Danelectro bass. They collaborated with future bandmate Jeffrey Hyman, later to become Joey Ramone, to form the Ramones with Richie Stern on bass. Stern left after a few rehearsals. Tommy joined the Ramones in the summer of that year after public auditions failed to produce a satisfactory drummer.

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