In the wake of the happy news that singer and songwriter Radney Foster has successfully recovered eight of this ten stolen guitars, we must pause for a moment in memory of all those guitars that were not found and returned to their rightful owners. Perhaps if the hunt for them continued on social media, like Foster did in his search, these long-gone six-stringed stars might one day find their way home again. PPcorn decided to compile a list of five famous stolen guitars below.
Number Five: Joe Satriani’s Ibanez Chromeboy. With a basswood body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard, this (prototype JS2CH) solid body sleek Chrome Boy was fitted with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates pickup, hence dubbed “Pearly” by Satriani. She was sadly stolen in August of 2002 during a load-out after a show at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. Only two Ibanez guitars were made with Pearly’s chrome finish.
Number Four: Black Flag’s Greg Ginn’s Ampeg Dan Armstrong Lucite. Ginn had two of these stolen from the front seat of the Black Flag van while it was parked in the street during a load-in. The first was covered in black duct tape in 1984, and the second was his clear lucite, stolen in 1986. He decided to replace it with an Ibanez GRX. Black Flag has long been split, and Ginn now plays with several other projects. The guitar was called “lucite” because of its clear, acrylic glass body.
Number Three: Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood’s Telecaster Plus. Greenwood is known for having three Telecaster Plus guitars throughout his career, and unfortunately the first two were stolen in 1995. Radiohead’s guitar tech, Plank, and Greenwood rewired and installed a custom cut-off switch in it, but kept the two Lace Sensor pickups. Greenwood bought the first guitar from his teacher when he was sixteen, and it was stolen at the Duchess of York in Leeds in 1992, during Radiohead’s first tour (the Creep Tour). The second Fender Telecaster was stolen in Denver in 1995. They have since become known as Tele1 and Tele2.
Number Two: Paul McCartney’s Hofner Violin Bass. Though technically a four-stringed star, we couldn’t leave McCartney’s hollow bodied, “Cavern” bass guitar off the list as the search for it is still so very active. Its spruce top and maple back and sides along with it’s symmetrical, almost violin-like shape give it a rich tone, similar to that of a double bass. The last known sighting of McCartney’s 1961 bass is in photos and film footage during the filming and recording of the Beatles “Let It Be” movie at Twickenham Studios. The bass was stolen along with George Harrison’s Gretsch Tennessean and his Rickenbacker 360/12 string. McCartney secured a 1962 model of the bass to take over the original’s duties.
Number One: Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page’s Black Beauty. Page’s 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom with Bigsby Tremolo was stolen in 1970 in the airport while Led Zeppelin headed to Canada. Although Page put an ad out in Rolling Stone offering a reward for the highly modified guitar, the Black Beauty has never resurfaced. Gibson reproduced a modern version of Page’s guitar in 2008, 25 of which were signed by him, with another 500 unsigned produced as well.
Should you catch wind of any or all of these guitars, be sure to let us here at the Encyclopedia of Music know. These instruments were beyond priceless – at least in sentiment, if not in value as well – to their owners. Quite the opposite case with these guitar-smashing musicians, to say the least.