Photo by Philip Fong/Getty Images
During his years with The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, guitarist Randy Bachman treasured his orange 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar he purchased for $400 as a hard working teenager. It was the instrument he used to write The Guess Who’s iconic song American Woman, along with many other hits.
Unfortunately, Bachman’s biggest nightmare occurred in 1977 when his beloved guitar was stolen. “I cried for three days – it was part of me,” Bachman told the Guardian. “It was very, very upsetting.” Throughout the past decades, Bachman went through many other guitars but none ever compared to his bright orange Gretsch. “It made my whole life,” he said. “It was my hammer and a tool to write songs, make music and make money.”
Back in 2020, an impressive fan named William Long helped fulfill Bachman’s search when he started his own Internet campaign to help find the missing guitar. Just weeks after the campaign was launched, Long connected with Japanese rock artist Takeshi who was the current owner of the guitar. Bachman then met up with Takeshi in Tokyo to trade a similar “sister” guitar for his precious Gretsch. To celebrate the reunion, Bachman and Takeshi performed together at Tokyo’s Canadian embassy and now plan to both appear in a documentary about this story.
Watch Randy Bachman and BTO perform Lookin’ Out For #1 with his prized Gretsch guitar on the TV program TopPop in 1976 here: