Randy Bachman Lost a Guitar 40 Years Ago — Then It Turned Up In Japan

Randy Bachman lost guitar

Photo Credit: B Stahls / CC by 2.0

Canadian guitarist Randy Bachman lost a guitar over 40 years ago. An internet sleuth found it in Japan.

Bachman is best known for his work with Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who. He says a rare Gretsch guitar was stolen from him in a Toronto Holiday Inn hotel in 1976 – and he figured he would never see it again. Bachman says he wept the night the guitar was stolen. He saved $400 to buy it when he was 18 years-old, earning money by washing cars and mowing lawns.

“Part of me was lost,” Bachman told CNN, describing the night the guitar was stolen. “This is way, way back, so to save the $400 bucks was a big, big, deal.” The guitar remained missing for more than 40 years before internet sleuth William Long helped find it.

Long says he spent his spare time searching for the guitar while his wife does online jigsaw puzzles. He started by looking at hundreds of photos of orange 1957 Gretsch and 6120 Chet Atkins guitars. Soon, he was able to track the instrument to a Tokyo guitar shop and finally to a specific musician.

“[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,” Bachman says in a recent video. Long contacted Bachman to tell him he found the guitar, and Bachman’s daughter-in-law was able to translate between Bachman and Takeshi.

In exchange for Bachman’s Gretsch, the Japanese artist requested another identical guitar. Bachman was able to locate one, and they plan to exchange the guitars once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“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.”