Foo Fighters guitarist Chris Shiflett has replaced a fan’s stolen Signature Series Fender Telecaster Deluxe after he spotted a Facebook post by the unfortunate victim.
Sinclair Belle, guitarist with UK band Happy Daggers, had his white Shiflett-designed Telecaster Custom stolen in September while packing his car after a rehearsal. He posted on Facebook about his loss, mainly in the hope that some guitar store, or individual, may have been offered the the instrument. He initially assumed it was a hoax when he was messaged by the altruistic Foo Fighter.
Shiflett had seen the post on the ‘Fighters official fan page and messaged Belle with “Hey Sinclair. I read about your guitar getting stolen. Bummer! I’d be happy to send you another.” and in another communication “Nothing worse than getting your guitar ripped off.” Belle gratefully accepted and his new guitar was awaiting when he returned from vacation.
The Fender Chris Shiflett Telecaster Deluxe was designed by the artist in conjunction with guitar manufacturer Fender and based on the guitarist’s favourite ’72 tele. Belle said in one of his messages “It wasn’t just a comment for the piece, the guitar genuinely was my ideal and I’m gutted it was stolen.” The only thin different about the new guitar was the Shoreline Gold finish. Belle said: “they didn’t have any of the white ones.” The Leeds-based guitarist wrote to thank Shiflett, who replied with “I hope it serves you well my friend.”
Benevolence seems to run through the Foo Fighters, with main man Dave Grohl often cited as one of the nicest guys in the business. Other famous examples of rock’n’roll kindness include Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour donating £3.6 million proceeds from the sale of one of his properties to a Crisis project for the homeless. The award for generosity of time and spirit in unusual circumstances must surely go to Iron Maiden singer and qualified pilot Bruce Dickinson, who personally flew a sick turtle back to its Canary Islands home after the creature washed up on a beach in Jersey. Back in the Depression of the 1930s legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong is reported to have delivered a tonne of coal to help a poor area of Baltimore through a cold winter.
Of course not everyone is lucky enough to have their plight noticed by a passing sympathetic superstar. If you are unfortunate enough to have had a beloved instrument or piece of equipment stolen, it is a good idea to put the word out locally – social media is an obvious tool but also try the local press, who may well report on the theft, and most reputable retailers will also help keep an eye out for you. There are also online directories where you can register your stolen item, some paid-for, some free – for example Screaming Stone – although the worth of these would be more in proof of ownership once the missing item is located, rather than its recovery in the first place.
The other safeguard is, of course, insurance. If you decide to insure your instruments or equipment then ensure the cover is watertight, and covers you when out at gigs and rehearsals. As you would expect, there are reputable insurance firms, including those who specialise in musical instruments and, unfortunately, less trustworthy operations who will go to any lengths to avoid a pay-out.