Music

Top 5: Randy Bachman's Guitars

Specialist picks from the Music Icons auction...

April 28, 2024

A selection of Bachman's incredible guitar to be sold in the May Music Icons auction.

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Randy Bachman | "American Woman" 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar

A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, in faded sunburst finish. Affectionately known as the “American Woman” guitar – it is indeed the very same instrument on which Randy wrote The Guess Who’s most famous hit song.

Estimate: $200,000-400,000

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Randy Bachman | 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar Formerly Owned by Keith Richards

A 1969 Gibson Les Paul Custom, in ebony finish. Left behind for re-fretting at a music shop by a Rolling Stones roadie, Bachman found it while on tour in 1975 and made it his own.

Estimate: $20,000-40,000

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Randy Bachman | B.T.O. Stage-Played and Studio-Played 1955 Fender Stratocaster

This white 1955 Stratocaster was Randy’s back-up during the B.T.O. days, used in numerous performances, immortalized in album artwork, and is the very same guitar he used in the 1975 music video for “Roll on Down the Highway.” Also used to record some of the rhythm parts of “Hey You” and doubled with Randy’s hard tail ’68 Stratocaster for the beginning of “Let it Ride.”

Estimate: $100,000-200,000

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Randy Bachman | 1977 Gretsch Super Axe Gifted to Randy by Chet Atkins

A 1977 Gretsch Super Axe solid body electric guitar, in Ebony Stain, signed by the great Chet Atkins himself. After the 1976 theft of Randy’s prized orange 1957 Gretsch 6120, he received a phone call at his home…
“One of my kids said, ‘Dad, Chad’s on the phone.’ I said, ‘Chad? Tell him I’ll call him back.’”
Thankfully, the phone rang a second time, and sure enough it wasn’t Chad –– it was “Mr. Guitar” himself, Chet Atkins. He’d heard about Randy’s stolen guitar and wanted to send him a gift. Some time later, a prototype Gretsch Super Axe showed up with a special serial number pressed onto the back of the headstock: CA2RB001, which stands for “Chet Atkins to Randy Bachman 001.”
This is one of three such guitars that existed at the time; one was in Atkins’ possession, while the other, a left-handed model, went to Paul McCartney.

Estimate: $1,000-2,000

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Randy Bachman | Harmony H1215 Acoustic Guitar - Bachman's First Ever Guitar

A 1957 Harmony H1215 acoustic archtop guitar, in a two-tone sunburst finish.
This was Randy’s first guitar, ever – purchased out of a Simpson-Sears catalog in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a handsome price of $34.95, a sum mostly paid by his parents (Randy contributed 3 or 4 dollars of his own, to be sure).
Randy practiced on this guitar for some time, until his makeshift shoelace strap slipped while playing songs at his cousin’s 10th birthday party, shattering the top on the treble side of the body, all the way from the lower bout to the neck. Tears flowing, yet undeterred, Randy fished out his model airplane glue and set about repairs, eventually securing the large piece of the top that had broken off.
Estimate: $600-800

a man singing into a microphone while holding a guitar

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