Johnny Ramone’s custom white Hamer electric guitar is up for auction, with bidding to conclude on Thursday.
The guitar was made for Ramone in May 1980 by Hamer founder Jol Dantzig. The instrument, which was personally owned and used by Ramone, is based on the company’s ‘Special’ model with modifications per Ramone’s requests and specifications.
The guitar is one of several instruments and memorabilia featured in the Marvels of Modern Music auction presented by RR Auction. The auction is active at the time of this post with a top bid of $20,897.
Ramone’s custom Hamer has never been offered for sale before and is just one of only three known stage-used pieces of Ramones gear from before 1983. Ramone can be seen playing it in the Ramones’ video for “Psychotherapy,” shown below, from the 1983 album Subterranean Jungle. He is also pictured onstage with the guitar at left.
The guitar is stamped on the reverse of the headstock with its special serial number, “X X0#¢,” and is accompanied by a copy of the Hamer manufacturer’s log book entry stamped with the identical serial number.
The entry notes that the guitar is a custom piece for Johnny Ramone and was to be built with beveled edges, a thin neck and thin body. The primary modifications from a stock version of the guitar were made to reduce weight and offer more comfort. They include a thinner sculpted body, thinner neck, and aluminum bridge.
The bright white lacquer finish has slightly yellowed over time and is in fine condition, with some crazing and cracks to the lacquer. The guitar comes with the original hardshell case.
The guitar is accompanied by letters of provenance from longtime Ramones tour manager Monte A. Melnick, Johnny Ramone’s guitar technician Matt Loyla, Ramones crew member and tour assistant Warren Cohen, Ramones photographer and gear expert Ian Harper.
A copy of a letter of provenance from Hamer Guitar founder Jol Dantzig is also provided. It reads, in part, “I am a guitar builder, designer, and also a founder of the Hamer Guitar company. I approached Johnny Ramone about constructing custom instruments for him beginning in 1978…After working out some details with Johnny, the first instrument was delivered later that year, but Johnny wanted a few changes on the next one so I agreed to meet with him at a concert venue near Chicago to develop a second version. The resulting instrument Hamer serial No. X X0#¢ was completed in May of 1980…Johnny was sufficiently pleased as to allow Hamer to feature his endorsement and photo with the guitar for print magazine advertisements.”
In addition to Ramone’s custom Hamer, Marvels of Modern Music includes Joe’s Strummer’s black Fender Telecaster used on his first solo album, Earthquake Weather, a teal Tele-style Fernandes owned and used by Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford, and numerous guitars signed by artists that include Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, and many others. Memorabilia items include a letter written by the Doors’ Jim Morrison in Paris, in 1971, and a series of John Lennon signed lithographs.
To view the guitars in the auction, visit this link.