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Rock star Randy Bachman will be reunited with a favorite guitar that was lost for more than four decades thanks to an internet sleuth who identified the instrument in a Christmas performance by Japanese musicians.
The writer of hit songs such as American Woman and band member in Bachman Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who had his rare Gretsch guitar stolen from a Toronto Holiday Inn hotel in 1976, and had all but given up hope of ever seeing it again.
Bachman said he saved $400 to buy the guitar when he was 18-years-old, and earned that money practically a dollar at a time with a newspaper delivery route, babysitting jobs, mowing lawns and washing cars.
“This is way, way back,” Bachman told CNN, “So, to save the $400 bucks was a big, big, big deal.”
The sleuth, a fan named William Long, said he spent spare time searching for the guitar as his wife played online jigsaw puzzles. Long also researches the unsolved D B Cooper sky-jacking case in his spare time.
After perusing hundreds of photos of orange 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitars, Long tracked the instrument to a Tokyo guitar shop, and finally to the musician Takeshi.
“[Long] found a guy named Takeshi in Japan playing my Gretsch a couple Christmas’s ago – he was playing, I think, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree in a Tokyo nightclub,” said Bachman, in a video he posted to YouTube.
Long was then able to contact Bachman, and Bachman’s daughter-in-law, who is Japanese, was able to translate for Bachman and Takeshi. In exchange for Bachman’s Gretsch, Takeshi requested, and Bachman found, another identical and rare Gretsch guitar. They plan to exchange guitars once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, and perform together.
“Takeshi is my brother,” Bachman told CNN. “I can’t even talk to him because he’s Japanese, he doesn’t understand me, but when we play the guitar together on Zoom, there’s this connection.”