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Steve Vai reunited with stolen “Swiss Cheese” guitar after almost 40 years

Frank Hoensch/Redferns

Steve Vai has been reunited with one of his classic guitars that’s been missing for almost 40 years. In case you missed it, the guitar great shared on Facebook that he’s once again in possession of his Joe Despagni “Swiss Cheese” guitar that was stolen 36 1/2 years ago.

“I used ‘Swiss Cheese’ in the original ‘Yankee Rose’ video while I was with David Lee Roth, and stretched it out in rehearsals and was planning on touring with it,” he says, “but this guitar, along with 3 others, was stolen in Pasadena CA at Perkins Palace during rehearsals for the Eat Em and Smile tour.”

He adds that a man named Iván Gonzáles Acosta found the guitar in his grandparents’ home in Tijuana, Mexico, noting, “It seems the people that lived in his grandparents house before them purchased the guitar somewhere along the way and it was just stuck in the attic only to be discovered recently when they were reorganizing things.” After Acosta posted pictures of the guitar on social media, Vai associate Mike Mesker noticed it and arranged to have it returned to Vai, who met with Acosta.

“The condition of the guitar when I saw it was a shocker,” Vai says. “It’s as if it was put in the case and never played for 36 years. The colors are still vibrant and the neck is in great shape,” adding, “Receiving this guitar feels like an old friend has returned home after so many years to jam with me. I believe that we will make a wonderful Ham and Swiss sandwich together.”

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