RR Auction’s Top Five Selling Ramones Guitars

by Brooke Kennedy

The influence of the Ramones has left a lasting impact on the music landscape, making them punk rock legends. The band toured non-stop between 1976 and 1996, and in that time the band went through quite a few guitars. Guitarist Johnny Ramone and bassist Dee Dee Ramone were well renowned for their string skills, and their playing style solidified their legacy in rock and roll.

RR Auction has had the pleasure of auctioning off many pieces of Ramones memorabilia for members of the Ramones and their families including the Joey Ramone Estate, Dee Dee’s wife Vera, and CJ Ramone. We have offered several Ramone guitars, so come on, let’s go and explore the instruments that have made their way to our auction block.

5. Johnny Ramone’s Stage-Used Rickenbacker

Johnny Ramone's Rickenbacker guitar.
Johnny Ramone’s Rickenbacker guitar.

At number five, we have a pre-1983 piece of memorabilia. Made in 1966, this Rickenbacker 450 ‘Fireglo’ finish guitar was personally-owned and used by guitarist Johnny Ramone. In order to modify the guitar’s sound, Ramone removed the guitar’s original Rickenbacker bridge and swapped it out for a more advanced Startocaster version.

Chris Lamy, Ramones historian and former friend of the group, states that this guitar can be seen being played in their performance at the San Francisco Civic Center in 1978.

Instead of keeping this guitar in the band’s storage unit, Ramone stored this under his bed at his 10th street and later his 22nd street apartments between tours and after he retired the guitar. Only 64 of these model-450 guitars were produced with this finish, adding to the collector’s value. This is just one of three known- stage-used pieces of Ramones memorabilia from before 1983. This beautiful piece realized $56,250 at our Remarkable Rarities auction in September 2015.

4. Johnny Ramone’s Owned and Stage-Used Signed Hamer

Johnny Ramone's custom white Hamer.
Johnny Ramone’s custom white Hamer.

Our fourth guitar on this list is a custom Hamer brand electric guitar. Designed to fit Johnny Ramone’s needs, this lightweight guitar is equipped with a white finish, deep body contours, and a more flared headstock. Featuring the serial number “0185”, this model was not found in Hamer factory logs that consisted of other Ramones guitars. The back of the guitar has an inscription by the famed guitarist that says “To Adam, Johnny Ramone.”

This particular Hamer was used in live performances for about 3 years, and was the first of Ramone’s own Hamers to be used live. He used this guitar for the band’s famous Sha Na Na appearance in 1979 as well as their Top of the Pops performance in 1980. This one-of-a-kind piece sold for a rockin’ price of $55,248.

3. Johnny Ramone’s Personally-Owned and Stage-Used 1965 Mosrite Ventures I

Johnny Ramone's red Mosrite Ventures I with his signature written in black felt tip.
Johnny Ramone’s red Mosrite Ventures I with his signature written in black felt tip.

Going into our top three, our third highest selling guitar is this personally-owned and stage-used red Mosrite guitar. Dated 1965, this instrument did not come into Johnny Ramone’s possession until 1982-1983. He sold the guitar in 1990, and his signature is visible on the body, “Best always, Johnny Ramone, 5/22/90.” Ramone signed the guitar when he sold it to friend and former Ramones band driver, Gene Frawley.

The first recorded photograph of this guitar being used was during a concert at the Eagle’s Hippodrome on May 5, 1983. Ramone often utilized this guitar in TV appearances, including one MTV performance in 1988. Only one of nine Mosrite guitars known to exist and be owned by Johnny Ramone, this guitar realized $89,844. 

2. Dee Dee Ramone’s Stage-Used Fender Precision Bass

Dee Dee Ramone's Fender Precision Bass featuring a cream body and eye-popping red pickguard.
Dee Dee Ramone’s Fender Precision Bass featuring a cream body and eye-popping red pickguard.

Our number two spot goes to an instrument that was owned by another Ramones member, Dee Dee Ramone. His cream-colored Fender Precision Bass was fitted with an eye-catching red pickguard and nickel tuning pegs. Manufactured in 1975, this bass was owned by Dee Dee between 1979 and 1989 for onstage performances and recording sessions.

Ramone had a preference when it came to his guitar of choice. He had three bass guitars he would bring on tour and would number “1” to “3” based on his preference. This guitar was Dee Dee’s number one, go-to bass for performances. When the band received new equipment in 1982, Dee Dee mainly used the bass for recording sessions.

“The bass was stored and used by Dee Dee at Underground Studios in Long Island where Dee Dee used the bass to record his demo submissions for Ramones consideration,” said Lamy, “when Dee Dee left the band in 1989, the bass was sold to the studio owner to ‘cleanse himself’ of the band.”

Going for an incredible sum of $93,439, this guitar earns its placement at number two.

1. Johnny Ramone’s Stage-Used and Owned Mosrite Ventures II

Johnny Ramone's well-loved Mosrite Ventures II.
Johnny Ramone’s well-loved Mosrite Ventures II.

Taking the top spot is Johnny Ramone’s Mosrite Ventures II guitar, which sold for an eye-watering $937,500, nearly double the estimated price of $500,000. This piece came from the punk collection of Daniel Rey and was Johnny Ramone’s main guitar for over twenty years between 1977 and 1996. Ramone used the guitar in every Ramones performance until his retirement, and he also used it in recording all 15 Ramones albums during this twenty year period. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland displayed the guitar for many years before it made its way through our doors.

According to Chris Lamy, this guitar was purchased by Ramone to replace his original blue Ventures II slab body. The latter guitar was stolen from a Sire Records van on the night of October 22, 1977 after their show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois. The scratches and paint-wear indicate that it was well-loved by Ramone, making it a fitting piece for our number one seller.

Turn up the volume because we’re seeking music consignments! Got any signed flyers, albums, or even stage-used items? We want it all! You can reach us by phone at 800-937-3880 to learn more about consigning your items.

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