Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Rock star Randy Bachman reunited with beloved stolen guitar

Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman, right, receives his Gretsch guitar (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)
Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman, right, receives his Gretsch guitar (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman’s long search came to an end on Friday when he was reunited in Tokyo with a cherished guitar, 45 years after it was stolen from a Toronto hotel.

“My girlfriend is right there,” said Bachman, 78, a former member of The Guess Who, as the Gretsch guitar, on which he wrote American Woman and other hits, was handed to him by a Japanese musician who had bought it at a Tokyo shop in 2014 without knowing its history.

He said all guitars are special, but the orange 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins he bought as a teenager was exceptional.

He worked at multiple jobs to save money to buy the guitar, his first purchase of an expensive instrument, he said.

“It made my whole life. It was my hammer and a tool to write songs, make music and make money,” Bachman told The Associated Press before the handover at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo.

Randy Bachman’s Guitar
Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman, holding his reunited Gretsch guitar with Japanese musician Takeshi (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

When it was stolen from the Toronto hotel in 1977 “I cried for three days. It was part of me”, he said. “It was very, very upsetting.”

He ended up buying about 300 guitars in unsuccessful attempts to replace it, he said.

Bachman spoke frequently about the missing guitar in interviews and on radio shows, and more recently on YouTube programmes on which he performed with his son, Tal.

In 2020 a Canadian fan who heard the story of the guitar launched an internet search and successfully located it in Tokyo within two weeks.

The fan, William Long, used a small spot in the guitar’s wood grain visible in old images as a “digital fingerprint” and tracked the instrument down to a vintage guitar shop site in Tokyo.

A further search led him to a YouTube video showing the instrument being played by a Japanese musician, Takeshi, in December 2019.

Randy Bachman’s Guitar
Randy Bachman holds his Gretsch guitar (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

After receiving the news from Long, Bachman contacted Takeshi immediately, and recognised the guitar in a video chat they had.

“I was crying,” Bachman said. “The guitar almost spoke to me over the video, like, ’Hey, I’m coming home’.”

Takeshi agreed to give it to Bachman in exchange for one that was very similar. So Bachman searched and found the guitar’s “sister” – made during the same week, with a close serial number, no modifications and no repairs.

“To find my guitar again was a miracle, to find its twin sister was another miracle,” Bachman said.

Takeshi said he decided to return the guitar because as a guitar player he could imagine how much Bachman missed it.

“I owned it and played it for only eight years and I’m extremely sad to return it now. But he has been feeling sad for 46 years, and it’s time for someone else to be sad,” Takeshi said. “I felt sorry for this legend.”

He said he felt good after returning the guitar to its rightful owner, but it may take time for him to love his new Gretsch as much as that one.

Bachman said he and Takeshi are now like brothers who own guitars that are “twin sisters”. They are taking part in a documentary about the guitar on which they plan to perform a song, Lost And Found, together.

They also performed several songs at Friday’s handover, including American Woman.

Bachman said he will lock the guitar up in his home so he will never lose it again. “I am never ever going to take it out of my house again,” he said.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]