The guitars of Johnny Ramone

The guitars of

Johnny Ramone

The original idea of a Johnny Ramone guitar list is from Ian Harper’s site Rockometer.com. However, that site has not been updated for a long time, so here’s an updated list of Johnny Ramone’s guitars.

This site is still under construction – sorry if there are any mistakes.

The Guitars of Johnny Ramone

modelyears/ncolorappearedgoneused asspecial appearances
Mosrite Ventures II 1965blue1974 01 23stolen 1977 10 22main guitar 1974-77
Mosrite Ventures II1965Sunburst1975 or 76perhaps stolen 1977 10 22backup guitar 1976 (?)
Mosrite Ventures II1965white1977 10 27main guitar 1977-96seems it was used first at CBGB's on October 27, 1977
Mosrite Ventures II1965brown, later refinished gold1984primary backup guitar 1984-89 (brown), 1993 (gold)Pet Sematary video
I Believe in Miracles video
Substitute video
Mosrite Ventures II copy1978 (?)black1978perhaps stolen 1983 04 24primary backup guitar 1978-83
Mosrite Ventures II German Carve1965 or 1966Sunburst1982 05 22stolen 1983 04 24backup guitar 1982/83Time has Come Today video
Mosrite Ventures II German Carve1965 or 1966B5xxblueFebruary 1989sold to a fanstorage, rehearsal
Mosrite Ventures1964 or 1965Candy Apple Red or Ink Blue?February 1976for recording the first album, borrowed?
Mosrite Ventures1964 or 1965red1983May 22, 1990 (given to Ramones' security chief)backup guitar 1983/84Club MTV playback appearance
Mosrite Johnny Ramone custom1989001white1989primary backup 1990-93, 1994-1996Merry Christmas video
I Don't Want to Grow up video
Spiderman video
live @ MTV Movie Awards
Mosrite Ramones1990blackperhaps only delivered for a friend or fan
Mosrite Ramones1990R9003whitesold to a fan February 2003perhaps only private use
Fillmore Mosrite Ventures II Japan1995white1995sold May 1, 1996backup Japan tour 1995
Fillmore Mosrite Ventures II Japan1996white1996auctioned 1998 or 99, signed May 11, 2001backup Adios Amigos tour and LollapaloozaPlayed by Johnny on stage with Pearl Jam during a performance of The KKK Took My Baby Away on July 14, 1998 in Los Angeles
Fillmore Mosrite Ventures II Japan1996white19961996backup (?) or storageSigned "Previously owned by Johnny Ramone July 10, 1996"
Fender Stratocasterearly to mid 70swhite1976perhaps stolen 1977 10 22early primary backup
Fender Stratocasterearly to mid 70sblack1977perhaps stolen 1977 10 22backup
Fender StratocasterSunburst (white pickguard)1977backupshort time backup after the October 1977 theft, perhaps only borrowed
Fender StratocasterSunburst (black pickguard)1980TV prop only (?)TopPop playback appearance (Dutch TV), 1980
Fender Stratocasterred1985TV prop only (?)Music Convoy playback appearance (German TV), July 1, 1985
Fender MustangSunburst1977backupshort time backup after the October 1977 theft, perhaps only borrowed
Hamer SunburstNov 19788 0508white1979backup or storage
Hamer SunburstDec 19788 0578white1979backup or storage
Hamer Sunburst Custom1979 (?)0185white1979traded May 22, 1982 (for sunburst german carve Ventures II)backupTop of the Pops, Jan 31, 1980
Sha Na Na, May 15, 1980
Hamer Special Custom1980X X0#¢whiteMay 1980early 1983,
traded February 1989 (for blue german carve Ventures II)
backup, perhaps primary for a short time instead of the black Ventures II copyperhaps Psycho Therapy video
Rickenbacker 4501959 (?)Mapleglo1977stolen 1977 10 22backup
Rickenbacker 4501966FA180Fireglo1977got retired in late 1978 (kept under Johnny's bed); traded February 1989 (for blue german carve Ventures II)backup 1977/78Top of the Pops, Sep 28, 1978
Gibson Marauder M-11976natural1977backup
Gibson Les Paul1973-79black1985TV prop onlyFormel Eins playback appearance (German TV) June 27, 1985

Main guitars

Mosrite Ventures II, 1965, blue

Bought January 23, 1974 at Manny’s for 69.55 USD, the blue Mosrite Ventures II was the first guitar Johnny Ramone used with the Ramones. Around September 1976, the original tremolo has been replaced with a fixed Gibson style tailpiece. It did not have a Mosrite bridge but a Gibson/Schaller „harmonica“ bridge.

The guitar has been stolen on October 22nd, 1977 in the first theft of the Ramones‘ equipment after the show at The Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, and has not surfaced yet.

Photo: unknown, CBGB's, NYC, 1974, source: Chris Stein Facebook
Photo: unknown, CBGB’s, NYC, 1974, source: Chris Stein Facebook

Mosrite Ventures II, 1965, white

Immediately after Johnny lost his blue Mosrite it was replaced with the same model in white. I’ve never seen a picture or video that shows both, so wether Johnny kept the white as a spare or he was so lucky to find it directly after the blue was gone. The first video I know Johnny playing the white slab is of a three day show October 27–30 at CBGB’s, only five days after the equipment was stolen.

From the very beginning as Johnny’s main guitar, the white Ventures II was modified: refinished, Gibson style fixed tailpiece without the Mosrite tremolo plate and grover Rotomatics that replaced the original Kluson Deluxe tuners. The spun Mosrite poti knobs have been replaced with black Gibson style bell knobs. Everything else seems to have been original.

Between October 1979 and January 1980 the bridge pickup has been changed to a DiMarzio FS-1, the pickguard  has been replaced, too.

Around early 1983 the neck pickup has been replaced with a Seymour Duncan Mini Humbucker that has been tinkered in the larger original pickup’s cutout in the pickguard. Later the pickguard had been replaced again and the SD got a proper cutout (not really centered).

Photo: Robert Matheu, Detroit, Jan 14, 1978; source: www.rockpaperphoto.com
Photo: Robert Matheu, Detroit, Jan 14, 1978; source: www.rockpaperphoto.com

Backup, studio, rarely used and TV props guitars

Fender Stratocaster white

This guitar seems to have been Johnny’s first backup guitar, sometimes played with a capo…

Photo: Danny Fields, The Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 12, 1976, source: slate.com
Photo: Danny Fields, The Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 12, 1976, source: www.slate.com

Mosrite Ventures, 1964 or 65

Seems to have been used for the recording of the first album in February 1976 only, guess it was only borrowed or studio equipment.

Photo: Danny Fields, Plaza Sound Studios, New York, February 1976, source: ghettoblastersandswitchblades.blogspot.de
Photo: Danny Fields, Plaza Sound Studios, New York, February 1976, source: ghettoblastersandswitchblades.blogspot.de

Mosrite Ventures II, 1965, sunburst

This rare guitar has been used as a backup guitar around 1976 and then seems to have disappeared.
The tremolo top has been replaced with an unidentified fixed tailpiece, the knobs with black Gibson style Witch hat knobs. Until around mid 1976 it has had its original pickups, later the bridge pickup has been replaced with a black P-90 style pickup. At The Club on May 12, 1976, it still had its original bridge pickup (see picture above).

Photo: Chuck Pulin, NYC, April 13, 1976, source: rockpaperphoto.com
Photo: Chuck Pulin, NYC, April 13, 1976 (date may be wrong, probably later); source: www.rockpaperphoto.com

Fender Stratocaster black

Early backup guitar from the era of the blue Mosrite, maybe stolen at the October 1977 theft.

Photo: Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images, CBGB's, NYC, March 31, 1977, source: www.gettyimages.de
Photo: Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images, CBGB’s, NYC, March 31, 1977, source: www.gettyimages.de

Gibson Marauder M-1, late 1976 or 77, natural

Rarely used backup guitar. It may have been stolen in October 1977, too, or it has not been owned by Johnny. Stock Gibson Marauder: original pickups, natural finish, natural headstock, white pickguard, rosewood fretboard with dot markers, chicken head blender at lower horn (from late 1976).

I know one photography by Jenny Lens of Johnny playing a Marauder at the Whisky a Go-Go in October, 21 1977 as backup guitar for his blue Mosrite, just before the equipment was stolen. This picture can be found in the „Official Ramones Calendar 2007“ and now on www.johnnyramone.com 😉

Photo: Jenny Lens, source: johnnyramone.com
Photo: Jenny Lens; source: www.johnnyramone.com

Rickenbacker 450 Mapleglo

Original condition with missing trussrod cover/logo. The bridge pickup is replaced with a Mini humbucker with mounting ring (attached with 3 screws).

This guitar has been stolen in October 1977.

There’s rumors that this guitar is now owned by Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander. In my opinion Robin’s Rickenbacker is NOT Johnny’s Rickenbacker:
If you compare the few existing pictures of Johnny’s maple glow Rick with those detailed photos that exist of Robin Zander’s 1959 Rick (Gibson Repair and Restauration’s pictures) you will see that these are two different guitars.

There are differences that could be changed, like black nut (Johnny) vs. white nut (Robin), black knobs (Johnny) vs. silver inlayed knobs (Robin), bridge pickup Mini humbucker w/ screwed on mounting ring (Johnny) vs. toaster (Robin) (so there should be additional screw holes in the pickguard).
But there are differences that could not be altered:
– Johnny’s Rick’s neck through wood is way blonder than the rest of the body (you can see it from the front side), Robin’s isn’t.
– Johnny’s Rick’s headstock’s had a triangle trussrod cover once (can be seen from the headstock’s yellowing and the single screw hole near the G tuner), Robin’s has a trapezoid plate (with according yellowing and screw holes).
– The truss rod channel at Johnny’s headstock is longer than that of Robin’s Rick.

If someone knows Johnny’s Rickenbacker’s serial number he can compare – Robin’s Rick is 4C482A.

Photo: P.B. Toman, source: twitter.com
Photo: P.B. Toman, El Mocambo, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, June 17, 1977; source: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Ramone

Fender Stratocaster sunburst

I only know one live photo of Johnny playing a sunburst Strat in late October 1977 at CBGB’s as a backup for the white Ventures II. This Strat may have been used as a backup guitar for a very short time after the other guitars have been stolen.

Photo: Davis Godlis, 1977, source: salon.com
Photo: Davis Godlis, 1977, source: www.salon.com

Fender Mustang sunburst

Again I know only one picture of this backup guitar, as a stage shot of this guitar and the white Ventures II appeared as a poster of the Tribeca Film Festival 2003 to promote the movie „Ramones – End of the Century“, photo by David Godlis.

Again CBGB’s in late October 1977,  I’d say the Mustang has been used as a backup only directly after the robbery – perhaps it only was borrowed for backup.

Photo: Davis Godlis, 1977, source: tribecafilm.com
Photo: Davis Godlis, 1977, source: www.tribecafilm.com

Mosrite Ventures II (copy) black

Long time primary backing guitar that appeared some time after the October 1977 theft, around early 1978. This propably DiMarzio brigde-pickup-only equipped guitar with black neck and headstock (with unidentified white logo) seems to be not an original Mosrite but looks more like a custom made copy of a slab Ventures II. Ian Harper says it’s made by a fan or friend of the band. It has a Gibson style fixed hardtail and a Gibson style bridge. It disappeared around late 1982/early 1983, so maybe this guitar has been stolen in the second theft (April 24, 1983).

Photo: Chester Simpson, source: twitter.com
Photo: Chester Simpson; source: twitter.com/punkandstuff

Rickenbacker 450, 1966, Fireglo

serial number FA180 (January 1966).
Traded (together with the Hamer X X0#¢) in February 1989 for a blue Mosrite Ventures II German Carve, B5xx.

Has been auctioned in September 2015, sold for 56,250.– USD. Auction site: Item 8113 – Johnny Ramone’s Stage-used Rickenbacker Guitar Catalog 461 (Sep 2015).

Description here at icollector.com.

Photo: RR Auction, source: http://www.rrauction.com
Photo: RR Auction; source: http://www.rrauction.com

Hamer Sunburst custom, 1979 (?), white

Serial number 0185. Custom made for Johnny Ramone by Hamer (according the the auction’s description) – deep body contours, no body binding.

Unbound, contoured body in pre 1980 shape and a white headstock. Equipped with a DiMarzio FS-1 (?) in bridge position, original Kluson tuners were replaced with Schallers, played for example at 1980-01-31 - TOTP, London, England - Baby I Love You and at 1980-05-19 - Sha-Na-Na.

Johnny traded this Hamer on May 22, 1982 to Adam Greiss for the sunburst Mosrite Ventures II (German Carve) that was used later in the „Time Has Come Today“ video.
Adam Greiss played the Hamer (besides his white Mosrite Ventures Mark I) with his band Immortal Primitives that supported the Ramones live several times in 1983/84. Some info about that band here: Radio Mutation, September 29, 2006: Out of the Vaults, Into Your Ears #14. And he played both guitars at the band’s revival in 2015: The Adam Greiss Group (HD) — Live at The Sparks Reunion 5/9/15 The Crooked Rail, E. Northport, NY.

Auctioned May 19th 2016, sold to Linda Ramone for $55,247.50. Auction site: Item 7498 – Johnny Ramone’s Owned and Stage-Used Signed Hamer Guitar Catalog 476 (May 2016).

Description and photos here at icollector.com.

According to the HamerFanClub serial number list, Hamer has built two white Hamer Sunbursts for Johnny Ramone in 1978:
– Serial number 8 0508, dot inlay, built for Johnny Ramone 11/3/78
– Serial number 8 0578 dot inlay, built for Johnny Ramone 12/20/78
I don’t know if there’re really two additional Hamers that Johnny has owned, but if you compare this picture (that’s supposed to be X X0#¢) with 0815 and X X0#¢ you can see a different headstock logo and the earlier positioning of the 12th fret’s dot markers – at least this is another Hamer Johnny’s used.

Photo: RR Auction, source: http://www.rrauction.com
Photo: RR Auction; source: http://www.rrauction.com

Sha-Na-Na, source: www.rockpeaks.com
Top of the Pops, January 30, 1980; source: www.rockpeaks.com

Hamer Special custom, 1980, white

Serial number X X0#¢, custom made for Johnny Ramone by Hamer, completed May 12, 1980, based on the Special, white headstock, „beveled edges thin neck thin body“ (Hamer). Traded (together with the Rickenbacker 450 FA180) in February 1989 for a blue Mosrite Ventures II German Carve, B5xx.

Has been auctioned in July 2015, sold for 49,889.35 USD. Auction site: Item 7411 – Johnny Ramone’s Early 1980s Stage-used Hamer Guitar Catalog 457 (Jul 2015).

Description and photos here at icollector.com.

Again, the picture on the right (the Hamer ad) shows another Hamer than X X0#¢ according to the different headstock logo.

Photo: RR Auction, source: http://www.rrauction.com
Photo: RR Auction; source: http://www.rrauction.com

Photo: Rich Kwasniewski, source: www.rrauction.com
Photo: Rich Kwasniewski; source: www.rrauction.com

Fender Stratocaster Sunburst

On Dutch TV show TopPop Johnny is playing a Sunburst Strat at a lip sync performance in 1980. TV prop only, I guess.

Mosrite Ventures II (German Carve body), 1965 or 66, sunburst

Backup guitar Johnny got on May 22, 1982 (from Immortal Primitives‘ Adam Greiss in trade for the white Hamer s/n 0185), also used in the music video for „Time has Come Today“. This guitar has been stolen in the second theft, April 24, 1983, I guess.

1965 or 66 model with custom made full size pickguard and only one DiMarzio FS-1 (probably) at the bridge, Gibson style tailpiece instead of the original Moseley tailpiece, Grover Rotomatic tuners.

Photo: unknown, source: www.pinterest.com
Photo: unknown, source: www.pinterest.com

Mosrite Ventures (Mark I), 1964 or 65, red

This guitar appeared in May 1983 to replace the stolen backup guitars. Johnny gave it away to the Ramones‘ security chief in May 22, 1990.

Has been auctioned the third time in January 2015, sold for 71,875.- USD. Auction site: Item 2173 – Johnny Ramone’s Longtime-owned and Stage-used Guitar Catalog 445 (Jan 2015).

Description and photos here at icollector.com.

Photo: RR Auction, source: http://www.rrauction.com
Photo: RR Auction; source: http://www.rrauction.com

Mosrite Ventures II, 1965, brown

Finally Johnny found an adequate backup guitar in 1984, a brown slab Ventures II.

Later, for the Ramones‘ „Acid Eaters“ Tour, this guitar had been refinished gold. In opposite to Johnny’s three other slab Ventures II Mosrites this is the only generation 2 slab.

Gibson Les Paul Custom black

Johnny Ramone can be seen using a black Gibson Les Paul Custom (1973-79 model – thanks to Phil for that info) on German TV at „Formel Eins“.

Some weeks before, in April 1985, the Sisters of Mercy have been guest at „Formel Eins“, playing the very same guitars, a black Gibson Les Paul Custom and a black Fender Jazz Bass, so the guitar seems to be just a TV prop.

Photo: WDR, Formel Eins 1985, source: www.tumblr.com
Photo: WDR, Formel Eins 1985 (Munich/Grünwald, Germany, June 27, 1985 – aired July 1, 1985) source: www.tumblr.com

Fender Stratocaster red

Again on German TV, only four days later, Johnny is playing a red Strat at a lip sync performance.

Aired live in „Music-Convoy“, WDR, July 1, 1985 from Freibad Münster-Hiltrup, Germany; report with pictures about that appearance here on joerglittleloudmouth: Playbackauftritt im deutschen Fernsehen (in German).

Photo: Christoph Preker 1985, source: www.feineart.de
Photo: Christoph Preker, July 1, 1985 (Freibad Münster-Hiltrup, Germany), source: www.feineart.de

Mosrite Ventures II German Carve, 1966, blue

Traded in February 1989 for the custom made Hamer Special and the Fireglow Rickenbacker 450. Used for rehearsal and storage only, near mint and stock, serial number B5xx.

Sorry, no photo.

Mosrite Johnny Ramone custom, 1989, white

In 1989 Semie Moseley had built a custom guitar for Johnny Ramone, serial number 001.

Photo: Photo: hang10.de, Guitar Center NYC, 2013
Photo: hang10.de, Guitar Center NYC, 2013

Mosrite Ramones, 1990, black

Black custom made one pickup Mosrite – Johnny gave it away to another NYC based guitar player.

Photo: Loretta Moseley, source: www.guitarnerd.com.au
Semie Moseley presenting his guitars to Johnny and C-Jay, Club 1313, Charlotte, NC, May 9, 1990. Photo: Loretta Moseley, source: www.guitarnerd.com.au

Mosrite Ramones, 1990, white

It seems Johnny got another Mosrite Ramones model from Semie Moseley that he kept quite long. White 1990 Ramones model with one pickup, serial number R9003.
As of October 2016, that guitar is auctioned here: www.skinnerinc.com – sold for $28,499.

Photo: Skinner, source: www.skinnerinc.com
Photo: Skinner, source: www.skinnerinc.com

Japanese Mosrite Ventures II white

Ventures model on the headstock, this guitar had been given to Johnny Ramone at the Ramones‘ 1995 Japan tour. It was sold May 1, 1996, signed at the headstock’s back.

Description and photos here at icollector.com.

Photo: unknown, source: www.icollector.com
Photo: unknown, source: www.icollector.com

Japanese Mosrite Ventures II white

signed and inscribed on the reverse of the neck „This is the last guitar played on stage which was in 1998…..Los Angeles, also used on Lollapalooza 1996, Johnny Ramone, 5/11/01“.

This guitar was initially sold at auction in the late 1990s.

June 12, 2012 it was auctioned at Christie’s/London for GBP 22,500/USD 34,785: Lot 111 Johnny Ramone.

Photo: Robert Caplin 2009, source: rcaplin.photoshelter.com
Photo: Robert Caplin 2009, source: rcaplin.photoshelter.com

Japanese Mosrite Ventures II white

Maybe a third endorsement guitar from Japan, as it’s signed by Johnny „Previously owned by Johnny Ramone July 10, 1996“.

Sorry, no photo.

©2012–2017 hang10.de

last modification: December 03, 2017