Randy Bachman's treasured Gretsch guitar was stolen 45 years ago. An internet sleuth helped find it

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(CNN)Decades aft it was stolen, Canadian stone prima Randy Bachman says he's yet recovered the uncommon guitar helium utilized to constitute hits similar "American Woman" and "Taking Care of Business" aft an net sleuth tracked it down successful Japan.

Bachman, of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive fame, said helium was heartbroken erstwhile the 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar was stolen from a Toronto edifice successful 1976.

"Part of maine was lost," the 78-year-old told CNN, comparing the theft to the decease of a household pet.

    The orangish Gretsch, similar the ones played by his idols Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy, was the archetypal truly costly guitar helium owned and helium had to enactment hard arsenic an 18-year-old to gain the $400 helium needed to bargain it.

      "So I person a insubstantial way wherever you make, like, 2 bucks a week delivering the paper, you mow a tract for a dollar, you babysit someone, you get a dollar, you're moving astatine a car lavation and you'd get 50 cents an hour. This is way, mode back," helium said. "So to prevention the 400 bucks was a big, big, large deal."

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      Bachman said helium utilized to person a 12-foot-long tow concatenation that helium would usage to fastener the guitar to thing unafraid if helium had to permission it erstwhile helium was connected tour, but connected that day, the band's roadworthy manager wasn't arsenic careful.

      He called the Ontario Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to record reports, but they told him he'd astir apt ne'er spot the guitar again.

      Bachman said he's told the communicative galore times implicit the years connected his vigor amusement and on the YouTube transmission helium started during the Covid-19 pandemic with his son, Tal Bachman, who had the 1990s deed "She's So High."

      A 'real-life puzzle'

      Fan William Long came crossed the video aft listening to immoderate The Guess Who songs connected YouTube and decided to get successful connected the search.

      Long researches the infamous D.B. Cooper skyjacking case successful his spare clip and was looking for thing antithetic to bash past twelvemonth erstwhile helium was mostly stuck wrong due to the fact that of the pandemic.

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      "My woman does jigsaw puzzles connected the internet, and I thought, 'I similar to bash real-life puzzles,'" Long said.

      He conducted elaborate net searches to find photos of each orangish Gretsch helium could find and compared them to a video of Bachman playing the opus "Lookin' Out For #1" connected Dutch television with Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

      A adjacent  up   of Randy Bachman's guitar shows a dime-sized ringing  adjacent   the knob he's adjusting.

      Long said Bachman's guitar had immoderate some distinctive patterns successful its wood grain, which helium was capable to heighten connected his computer.

      He scoured the web for aged merchantability listings and different sources successful North America, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany earlier helium yet recovered a clue.

      "I astir apt went done possibly 300 Gretsch images and I got beauteous bully astatine it truthful I could spot them and I could cognize close distant that it wasn't it," helium said. "So it's eliminate, eliminate, eliminate, eliminate."

      He tracked the guitar to a Tokyo vintage guitar shop, which had sold it, and past was capable to find a video of Japanese instrumentalist Takeshi playing Christmas songs connected the guitar.

      "You tin intelligibly spot (that) each the atom and the marks and the fading connected the guitar matches 100%," Long said.

      He spent 2 oregon 3 weeks looking for the guitar, mostly aft enactment portion watching TV, and past helium had to get the accusation to Bachman.

      Long lives successful White Rock, British Columbia, not acold from wherever Bachman erstwhile lived, but helium didn't cognize however to scope the stone star.

      He said Bachman was shocked erstwhile helium yet reached him.

      "I spot the feline playing my guitar, MY guitar, I tin archer by the atom connected it and I'm stunned. It's similar idiosyncratic deed maine successful the look with a shovel," Bachman said. "It's conscionable unbelievable, due to the fact that I've been searching for this everlastingly and fundamentally gave up connected it."

      Bachman said his daughter-in-law, KoKo, is from Japan and was capable to put a Zoom telephone with Takeshi and construe the meeting.

      The aforesaid  tiny  ringing  is disposable   successful  this 2019 video of TAKESHI playing the guitar.

      He said helium was tearful erstwhile Takeshi, who helium described arsenic the Japanese Brian Setzer, showed him the guitar connected camera aft each these years.

      He said whoever stole it took bully attraction of it, due to the fact that it looked the aforesaid arsenic it did backmost successful 1976.

      Bachman explained that he'd written galore of his biggest hits connected the stolen guitar and that "It is simply a precise incredible, one-of-a-kind guitar that is portion of me."

      "And helium says, 'Well, I didn't bargain it,' and I said, 'Of course, you weren't adjacent calved erstwhile this happening was stolen, but you person it,'" Bachman said. "And helium said, 'Well, possibly I was calved to look aft your guitar.'"

      Bachman said Takeshi offered to instrumentality the guitar successful speech for 1 conscionable similar it.

      "I'll springiness you the guitar, but you indispensable find its sister," Bachman recounted Takeshi telling him.

      Only a fistful of guitars similar this were made and they're pricey, truthful uncovering 1 successful near-mint information was going to beryllium different challenge.

      But Bachman had built relationships with guitar dealers astir North America during his quest to reclaim the guitar. He'd besides amassed a postulation of much than 350 Gretsch guitars implicit the years that helium sold to the Gretsch family's foundation in 2008 for their museum.

      'It spoke to maine similar nary different guitar'

      A guitar store successful Ohio had what Bachman needed, and based connected the serial numbers, the 2 guitars were astir apt made successful the aforesaid week, helium said.

      "When I archetypal strummed this guitar astatine the euphony store successful Tokyo, it spoke to maine similar nary different guitar I've ever played. I knew and felt it was destiny -- I instantly and impulsively purchased it," Takeshi said successful a connection that was translated by KoKo.

      He said the guitar's transportation to Bachman made it adjacent much special.

      "Every clip I deliberation astir however this guitar has impacted and influenced Rock N Roll euphony that inspired maine and different rockers successful my generation, I get truthful excited," the connection said. "I'm truthful honoured and arrogant to beryllium the 1 who tin yet instrumentality this stolen guitar to its owner, the stone star, Mr. Bachman who was searching for it for astir fractional a period and I consciousness precise grateful for this occurrence happening successful some our lives."

      Now they conscionable request to marque the swap.

      Bachman said he's readying to question to Japan to conscionable Takeshi and speech the guitars erstwhile the state eases its Covid-19 restrictions.

      They besides privation to jam unneurotic astatine the nightclub wherever Takeshi filmed the video that led to the guitar's find -- they'll play "Taking Care of Business" and Bachman said he's going to larn 1 of Takeshi's songs.

      "This feline is my guitar brother. Takeshi is my brother," Bachman said. "I can't adjacent speech to him due to the fact that he's Japanese, helium doesn't recognize me, but erstwhile we play the guitar unneurotic connected Zoom, there's this connection."

        Bachman said they've been collecting video footage passim the acquisition successful the anticipation of turning it into a documentary. He wrote a opus astir his mislaid guitar portion moving connected a caller Bachman & Bachman medium with his son, and helium said it volition astir apt spell connected the soundtrack.

        "To me, it's the astir unthinkable Cinderella communicative of each time, but that erstwhile midnight comes the guitar won't crook into a pumpkin, and neither volition I, and I'll really person my guitar backmost astatine the extremity of the story," Bachman said.

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