'It's Like Somebody Hit Me In the Face With a Shovel'

Canadian Rocker stunned to get back guitar stolen in 1976
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2021 4:30 PM CDT
'It's Like Somebody Hit Me In the Face With a Shovel'
File photo of Randy Bachman at Jeff Healey A Celebration concert in Toronto in 2008.   (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS/J.P. Moczulski)

An amateur internet sleuth needed a project for the pandemic lockdowns, so he took a break from researching the DB Cooper mystery to help an aging Canadian rocker reunite with his favorite guitar. William Long is a fan of Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist Randy Bachman. He heard the story of how Bachman’s guitar was stolen from a Toronto hotel while on tour in 1976 and decided to use his free time and Internet skills—and intense attention to detail—to help out, CNN reports. Long spent hours examining the grain pattern in the wood on Bachman’s orange 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar. He compared it to guitars he saw for sale around the world, tracking down a match at a shop in Japan.

But the guitar had been sold recently. No problem—Long spotted it in a video of a Japanese musician playing Christmas songs. The grain was a match, so he reached out to Takeshi, the musician. Then he got in touch with Bachman, who was floored. “I can tell by the grain on it and I'm stunned. It's like somebody hit me in the face with a shovel," Bachman said. That guitar was a treasure to Bachman, he told the CBC. He had saved up for ages working odd jobs as a teenager to buy it. It was the guitar he used to write classics like “No Sugar Tonight,” “Takin’ Care of Business,” and “American Woman.”

With help from his Japanese daughter-in-law, Bachman caught Takeshi up on the story so far, and the two agreed to an exchange. Takeshi spoke about how much he loved the guitar, but agreed to part with it if Bachman could find him a substitute. It was the Canadian rocker’s turn to go sleuthing, and he tracked down one likely made the very same week for Takeshi. The two guitarists have jammed—and bonded—over Zoom and plan to make the exchange when COVID travel restrictions ease up. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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