But it’s no wonder. Johnny Ramone was known for his fast downstroke chords — he never strummed upward — and he played them aggressively on that guitar until the day he retired in 1996.
“Most guitarists have dozens of guitars they play and they change over different tours every year,” Rey told CNN. “Johnny used the same guitar from Day One to the end, and I think that’s kind of unique.”
And the guitar still plays “perfectly,” Rey said. “It’s indestructible. It played 2,000 shows with the Ramones, so it can handle anything.”
The Ramones kicked off the punk rock movement in New York in the 1970s with their fast beat, short songs and loud guitar riffs immediately recognizable from such songs as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
The band members adopted the surname Ramone, along with the same look of black leather jackets, canvas shoes, jeans and long dark hair over their faces.
The signed amplifier from the auction was used by Johnny in some of the Ramones’ early CBGB shows, in 1974 and 1975, RR Auctions says. And while it was only used in those first years — Rey said the band bought new amps as soon as they got a record contract — the amp would have blared a signature sound.
“That really introduced the world to the brutality of the Ramones’ guitar sound, which was the beautiful balance of the pop sensibility — the Beach Boys’ (type of) pop — and the brutal guitar sound which made the magic happen,” Rey said.
He recalled how Johnny, who died in 2004, never liked to play minor chords, though he would if he had to.
“Joey would write songs that had minor chords in it sometimes,” Rey said, “and Johnny would always refer to them as ‘those funny chords.’ He’d say to me, ‘Daniel, Joey’s song has one of those funny chords in it, doesn’t it?'”
The four original members of the Ramones are gone now — Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Hyman, died in 2001, and bassist Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, died a year later. Drummer Tommy Ramone, real name Tom Erdelyi, died in 2014.
Rey said the time just felt right to sell the items and share them with other fans. And he said he’s not surprised at the interest: “The Ramones are the greatest band of all time.”