Johnny Ramone's one-and-only 1965 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar, which is synonymous with the band’s iconic punk-rock career, is set to go up for auction at RR Auctions.
Originally purchased by Ramone – aka John Cummings – sometime between October 23 and 30, 1977, to replace his stolen blue-finished Ventures II axe, the six-string in question went on to become a mainstay of his Ramones rig throughout the rest of his career.
As well as being a part of his own personal collection, Cummings’ prized possession was also the textbook definition of a workhorse guitar, featuring on all Ramones albums that were recorded between 1977 and 1996.
It is also estimated that the Ventures II – which sports the guitarist’s signature and the message, “Johnny Ramone, My Main Guitar, 1977-1996” – racked up 1,985 live appearances, before it was retired and displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland for a number of years.
As expected, the guitar features extensive authentic wear-and-tear, with the refinished white basswood body accommodating a custom-added stop tailpiece – replacing the factory-fitted vibrato system – a rosewood fretboard fitted with heavy fret wire and a handpicked pickup set comprising a DiMarzio FS1 bridge and Seymour Duncan SM mini-humbucker neck unit.
Atop the three-ply black pickguard sits a streamlined control layout, featuring a three-way toggle switch, as well as volume and tone controls. While Gibson-style top hat knobs were originally installed, Ramone swapped the volume one out for a domed Tele-style cap, resulting in a quirky hardware mismatch.
Other Ramones-specific add-ons include a stage-used, gaffer tape-secured guitar strap and a handful of super-glued guitar picks from the band’s performance at The Palace in LA on August 6, 1996. A letter of authenticity from Chris Lamy – a friend of the band’s – is also included.
If things had played out differently, the white Ventures would have met the same fate as its blue predecessor, when the band was hit by a second wave of thievery in 1983.
Though the entirety of the group’s gear was taken, the Ventures II luckily survived, having spent the night on guitar tech Matt Loyla’s makeshift hotel workbench.
Not only does Ramone’s association with this particular axe make it an especially rare beast, but the nature of the brand itself adds an aura of exclusivity, given its super-streamlined production history.
According to reports, only 100-150 slab-bodied Ventures II guitars were made during 1965 and, with Cummings owning four of them, the six-strings themselves are especially sought after.
Pre-live bidding for the guitar has already begun, with the current offer sitting at $60,500. The official live auction will take place on September 25 at 3pm ET, and will come to a close a day later.
To find out more, head over to RR Auctions (opens in new tab).