Remarkably, Peter Frampton has been reunited with one of his most prized guitars more than 30 years after it was believed to be lost forever.

The guitar was a highly sentimental acquisition when Frampton originally got it as a gift from an individual named Mark Mariana. Frampton had borrowed the guitar from Mariana when Humble Pie played a show at the Fillmore West. After the show, Frampton tried to convince Mariana to sell him the instrument and was surprised when Mariana said instead that he wanted to give it to him at no cost.

Frampton used the 1954 Gibson Les Paul on two Humble Pie albums and also his classic ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ release. In 1980, a cargo plane carrying Frampton’s equipment crashed on its way to Panama.

While all of the instruments were thought to have been destroyed years ago in the crash, two fans helped to spearhead a search that uncovered the guitar on the Dutch island of Curacao. (It is us, or is this sounding like an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie?)

With the assistance of the Curacao Tourist Board, the beloved instrument was located in the hands of an unnamed individual and arrangements were made to return the guitar – which had also been used additionally on sessions with Harry Nillson and George Harrison – to the possession of Frampton, who was overjoyed when the axe was given to him in Nashville in December. Experts at Gibson confirmed it was indeed the original missing guitar and Frampton humbly expressed his gratitude to those who had kept the beacon of hope illuminated.

“I am still in a state of shock, first off, that the guitar even exists, let alone that it has been returned to me,” Frampton said in a statement. “I know I have my guitar back, but I will never forget the lives that were lost in this crash. I am so thankful for the efforts of those who made this possible … And, now that it is back I am going insure it for two million dollars and it’s never going out of my sight again! It was always my No. 1 guitar and it will be reinstated there as soon as possible — some minor repairs are needed.”

Frampton recently filed suit against A&M Records regarding royalty payments that haven’t been paid for ‘Frampton Comes Alive.’

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