Randy Bachman’s treasured Gretsch guitar was stolen 45 years ago. An internet sleuth helped the rock star find it

Bachman, of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive fame, stated he was heartbroken when the 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar was stolen from a Toronto lodge in 1976.

“A part of me was misplaced,” the 78-year-old instructed CNN, evaluating the theft to the demise of a household pet.

The orange Gretsch, like those performed by his idols Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy, was the primary actually costly guitar he owned and he needed to work laborious as an 18-year-old to earn the $400 he wanted to purchase it.

“So I’ve a paper route the place you make, like, two bucks every week delivering the paper, you mow a garden for a greenback, you babysit somebody, you get a greenback, you are working at a automotive wash and also you’d get 50 cents an hour. That is means, means again,” he stated. “So to avoid wasting the 400 bucks was a giant, massive, massive deal.”

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Bachman stated he used to have a 12-foot-long tow chain that he would use to lock the guitar to one thing safe if he needed to go away it when he was on tour, however on that day, the band’s highway supervisor wasn’t as cautious.

He referred to as the Ontario Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to file reviews, however they instructed him he’d most likely by no means see the guitar once more.

Bachman stated he is instructed the story many occasions over time on his radio present and on the YouTube channel he started during the Covid-19 pandemic along with his son, Tal Bachman, who had the Nineties hit “She’s So Excessive.”

A ‘real-life puzzle’

Fan William Lengthy got here throughout the video after listening to some The Guess Who songs on YouTube and determined to get in on the search.

Lengthy researches the notorious D.B. Cooper skyjacking case in his spare time and was searching for one thing completely different to do final 12 months when he was largely caught inside due to the pandemic.
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“My spouse does jigsaw puzzles on the web, and I assumed, ‘I desire to do real-life puzzles,'” Lengthy stated.

He performed elaborate web searches to search out images of each orange Gretsch he may discover and in contrast them to a video of Bachman enjoying the track “Lookin’ Out For #1” on Dutch television with Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
A close up of Randy Bachman's guitar shows a dime-sized ring near the knob he's adjusting.

Lengthy stated Bachman’s guitar had some some distinctive patterns in its wooden grain, which he was in a position to improve on his pc.

He scoured the net for outdated sale listings and different sources in North America, Australia, the UK and Germany earlier than he lastly discovered a clue.

“I most likely went by way of possibly 300 Gretsch photos and I acquired fairly good at it so I may see them and I may know immediately that it wasn’t it,” he stated. “So it is eradicate, eradicate, eradicate, eradicate.”

He tracked the guitar to a Tokyo classic guitar store, which had bought it, after which was capable of finding a video of Japanese musician Takeshi playing Christmas songs on the guitar.

“You’ll be able to clearly see (that) all of the grain and the marks and the fading on the guitar matches 100%,” Lengthy stated.

He spent two or three weeks searching for the guitar, largely after work whereas watching TV, after which he needed to get the knowledge to Bachman.

Lengthy lives in White Rock, British Columbia, not removed from the place Bachman as soon as lived, however he did not know find out how to attain the rock star.

He stated Bachman was shocked when he lastly reached him.

“I see the man enjoying my guitar, MY guitar, I can inform by the grain on it and I am surprised. It is like anyone hit me within the face with a shovel,” Bachman stated. “It is simply unbelievable, as a result of I have been looking for this ceaselessly and mainly gave up on it.”

Bachman stated his daughter-in-law, KoKo, is from Japan and was in a position to prepare a Zoom name with Takeshi and translate the assembly.

The same small ring is visible in this 2019 video of TAKESHI playing the guitar.
He stated he was tearful when Takeshi, who he described as the Japanese Brian Setzer, confirmed him the guitar on digicam in spite of everything these years.

He stated whoever stole it took excellent care of it, as a result of it appeared the identical because it did again in 1976.

Bachman defined that he’d written a lot of his greatest hits on the stolen guitar and that “It’s a very unbelievable, one-of-a-kind guitar that’s a part of me.”

“And he says, ‘Effectively, I did not steal it,’ and I stated, ‘In fact, you were not even born when this factor was stolen, however you have got it,'” Bachman stated. “And he stated, ‘Effectively, possibly I used to be born to take care of your guitar.'”

Bachman stated Takeshi supplied to return the guitar in alternate for one identical to it.

“I will provide the guitar, however you could discover its sister,” Bachman recounted Takeshi telling him.

Solely a handful of guitars like this had been made and so they’re dear, so discovering one in near-mint situation was going to be one other problem.

However Bachman had constructed relationships with guitar sellers round North America throughout his quest to reclaim the guitar. He’d additionally amassed a set of greater than 350 Gretsch guitars over time that he bought to the Gretsch family’s foundation in 2008 for their museum.

‘It spoke to me like no different guitar’

A guitar store in Ohio had what Bachman wanted, and primarily based on the serial numbers, the 2 guitars had been most likely made in the identical week, he stated.

“Once I first strummed this guitar on the music store in Tokyo, it spoke to me like no different guitar I’ve ever performed. I knew and felt it was future — I instantly and impulsively bought it,” Takeshi stated in an announcement that was translated by KoKo.

He stated the guitar’s connection to Bachman made it much more particular.

“Each time I take into consideration how this guitar has impacted and influenced Rock N Roll music that impressed me and different rockers in my era, I get so excited,” the assertion stated. “I am so honoured and proud to be the one who can lastly return this stolen guitar to its proprietor, the rock star, Mr. Bachman who was looking for it for almost half a century and I really feel very grateful for this miracle occurring in each our lives.”

Now they only must make the swap.

Bachman stated he is planning to journey to Japan to satisfy Takeshi and alternate the guitars as soon as the nation eases its Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition they need to jam collectively on the nightclub the place Takeshi filmed the video that led to the guitar’s discovery — they will play “Takin’ Care of Enterprise” and Bachman stated he’ll study considered one of Takeshi’s songs.

“This man is my guitar brother. Takeshi is my brother,” Bachman stated. “I am unable to even speak to him as a result of he is Japanese, he does not perceive me, however once we play the guitar collectively on Zoom, there’s this connection.”

Bachman stated they have been gathering video footage all through the expertise within the hope of turning it right into a documentary. He wrote a track about his misplaced guitar whereas engaged on a brand new Bachman & Bachman album along with his son, and he stated it would most likely go on the soundtrack.

“To me, it is probably the most unbelievable Cinderella story of all time, besides that when midnight comes the guitar will not flip right into a pumpkin, and neither will I, and I will even have my guitar again on the finish of the story,” Bachman stated.

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