Famous stolen guitars: Tony Iommi's SG and six more
18th Aug 2010 | 11:11
Tony Iommi's Gibson Custom Shop SG
Last week Tony Iommi revealed that his red custom shop Gibson SG had been nicked at High Voltage Festival (24 - 25 July). With that in mind, we put together this gallery of seven famous stolen guitars.
Tony Iommi’s Gibson Custom Shop Iommi SG
The guitar of the moment. This was stolen at High Voltage festival on 24 July, following Heaven And Hell’s Ronnie James Dio tribute show. Iommi is offering a reward for any information that leads to the recovery of the guitar. A real 'conscience-botherer' if there ever was one…
Paul McCartney's 1961 Höfner violin bass
Paul McCartney’s 1961 Höfner violin bass
The big ‘Mac’s Höfner 500/1 violin bass is a trademark instrument that could easily compete with Hendrix’s strat in the 'most identifiable guitar' stakes. Paul McCartney predominantly used two of these throughout his Beatles days, a 1961 and a 1963 model (pictured). However, it was the 1961 bass that was stolen during the ‘Let It Be’ film shoot in 1966.
George Harrison's Rickenbacker 360/12
George Harrison’s 12-String Rickenbacker
Paul McCartney wasn’t the only Beatle who should have kept a better eye on his gear (hey, it was the 60s). George Harrison had his Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar stolen in 1966 and it’s never been recovered. Fortunately, it was the second 360/12 that Rickenbacker presented to him – the first, given to him in 1964, is thought to be only the second one they ever made!
BB King's Gibson ES-345 Lucille prototype
BB King’s Gibson ES-345 Lucille prototype
Gibson presented BB King with a special version of King’s iconic ES-345 Lucille signature guitar for his 80th birthday in 2005. Unfortunately, the guitar was stolen four years down the line and, as the guitar had become his main live instrument, King was understandably upset.
Fortunately for him, an honest collector, Eric Dahl, found it in a pawn shop and arranged for it to be returned to the bluesman. King was so grateful that he bought Dahl a brand new Gibson custom shop ES-345 (more on that here).
Adrian Smith's Jackson San Dimas DK
Adrian Smith’s Jackson San Dimas DK
We suppose that one of the advantages of having your own signature model is that you have factory replicas available at the drop of a hat. However, that was still of little comfort to Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, especially when the guitar stolen was his only prototype of a range that was yet to be launched.
Yeup, his Jackson Adrian Smith Signature Strat (serial no. 8467) was stolen in Athens in 2008 and the guitarist offered a ‘Maiden tour jacket and a hand-written letter of thanks to whoever returned it.
Johnny Marr's 1964 Gibson SG
Johnny Marr’s 1964 Gibson SG
According to NME, the ex-Smiths guitarist – who now plays with indie band The Cribs – lost the 1964 Gibson SG (reportedly worth a staggering £30,000) following a London performance with his old solo project Johnny Marr And The Healers in 2000.
Stephen White – one of the guests allowed backstage that evening – admitted to stealing the guitar, telling Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, “I’m disgusted with the whole thing. There’s a victim here. I can’t reconcile myself with the behaviour of that night.” When asked where he had kept the instrument since the theft, White stated that it had been on display in his living room for the last ten years...
Michael Angelo Batio's Quad
Michael Angelo Batio’s Quad
Oh Michael Angelo Batio, with your amazing hair and mind-boggling guitar theatrics. M.A.B.’s infamous Quad guitar got thieved in El Paso, Texas in the early 90s and was given up for dead. However, in 2004 English shred-fan Simon Jones found and bought two sections of the guitar online and returned them to Batio, who was touring the UK at the time.