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Randy Bachman digs into his past with plans to auction off 200 of his guitars

Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman sings a song with his Gretsch guitar, which was once stolen, after he was reunited with it during the Lost and Found Guitar Exchange Ceremony, Friday, July 1, 2022, at Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo) Canadian rock legend Randy Bachman sings a song with his Gretsch guitar, which was once stolen, after he was reunited with it during the Lost and Found Guitar Exchange Ceremony, Friday, July 1, 2022, at Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo)
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Randy Bachman is bidding farewell to some of the instruments that shaped his legendary rock career, including the guitar used to compose the Guess Who classic "American Woman."

The Winnipeg-born musician says 200 of his signature guitars will be auctioned at New York's Hard Rock Cafe and online on May 29 and 30.

The instruments include the 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar, which Bachman acquired in 1968 when a performance in a Nanaimo, B.C., church basement took an unexpected turn. His own guitar suffered a cracked neck, so a fan offered him the Les Paul as a replacement.

The guitar later inspired the famous "American Woman" riff that came to him during a performance at a curling rink.

Julien's Auctions says the guitar now has a conservative estimated worth of US$200,000 to $400,000.

Other items up for auction include Bachman's 1968 Fender Hardtail Stratocaster, played on the single "Let it Ride," and a 1957 Sunburst Harmony acoustic, the first guitar he acquired as a young violinist -- which by its design evokes the look of a violin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.

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