Johnny's Ramone's rehearsal guitar, a Mosrite Ventures II played at the Daily Planet Studio
Johnny Ramone’s personally-owned and rehearsal-used 1966 Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar with a bright blue German-carved basswood body, signed and inscribed on the white pickguard in black felt tip, “To Jay, Enjoy, Best always, Johnny Ramone.” Ramone obtained this guitar in a trade with his friend, Chris Lamy of GG Allin and the Jabbers, when the former desired to have a backup Ventures II at the Daily Planet rehearsal studio; the victim of past gear heists in 1977 and 1983, Ramone was rightfully anxious about the safekeeping of his guitars. When Lamy gave the guitar to Ramone, he requested that the latter refrain from making any updates unless his current backup guitar was misplaced or stolen. Ramone agreed and offered Lamy first rights to buy back the guitar were he to purchase another backup, which he eventually did, a few years later. True to his word, Ramone offered the guitar back to Lamy. However, when Lamy conveyed that he was no longer interested, the guitar was ultimately sold to a fan, hence the inscription. The guitar is accompanied by two Ramones guitar picks and two candid Polaroid photos of Ramone at the time of the signing. According to Lamy, he believes that he traded this Ventures II to Ramone in either 1987 or 1988 and that Ramone likely sold this guitar circa 1990, when legendary luthier Semie Moseley began building and sending new Mosrites to Ramone. Given the time period, Lamy believes that Ramone used this guitar for rehearsals during the band's Brain Drain era.
Even though Ramone used this guitar exclusively during rehearsals, his aggressive playing style makes the serial number difficult to read; the end of the guitar’s rosewood fretboard has a barely visible serial number, “B546,” which Lamy confirms was the serial number of the guitar that he traded to Ramone. The guitar is in 100% original condition and includes the non-roller bridge, vibrato assembly, knobs, pickguard, switch tip, pots, wiring, frets, strap buttons, and tuning machines. The original blue finish over the guitar’s basswood body shows some checking, which is normal for a well-played 57-year-old guitar. The instrument has two regular-sized and -wound Mosrite pickups, but without the exposed pole pieces of other Mosrite models. The black pickup covers are embossed with “Mosrite of California.” These model guitars look small but are actually full-scale and heavier and sturdier than the slab-bodied Ventures II. This fourth and last variation of the Ventures II model was quickly dropped in 1966 and replaced with the ‘Mark V’ designation. There were approximately 400 Ventures II ‘German carves’ made from December 1965 through February 1966 before being discontinued. In fine to very good condition, with referenced wear to body paint; the instrument has been tested and all electronics are working.