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Guitarist Gets His Dream Guitar Back After Selling It to Pay for a Bus Ticket to Meet His Future Wife

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A son surprised his dad with the ultimate sentimental gift when he presented him with the exact vintage guitar he was forced to sell four decades earlier to pay off a debt and visit his future wife.

John Curtis, from Salina, Kansas, has always enjoyed playing bass guitar, but in 1983 he was forced to sell his beloved 1964 Burns London Split Sonic bass.

His reasons for selling were two-fold, as he needed to settle a debt but also wanted to buy a bus ticket to Washington, D.C., to meet the woman who would later become his wife.

Fortunately for John, 82, the person who took his guitar, SM Hanson, is an avid collector, and for the decades that followed he kept good care of it, never selling the item on.

Then, in early summer, Hanson reached out to John’s son, James – who goes by the rap name Cash Hollistah – and asked if his father might want his guitar back.

John performing on stage with his original bass guitar. ©@cashhollistah / T&T Creative Media
The accompanying note kept by the collector with the iconic bass guitar (left) and John with his son Cash, who repurchased it as a surprise for his dad (right). ©@cashhollistah / T&T Creative Media

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Cash was not aware of the guitar or his father’s debt, but he mentioned John’s birthday was coming up, and the pair planned a surprise for Tuesday, June 13, the day after John’s big day.

At the end of the John’s bible study group, Cash presented his father with a birthday card, signed by those in the group, before presenting him with the guitar, which none of his fellow studiers knew about.

As soon as John received the gift, he immediately became emotional when holding his old friend once more.


Cash, who shared the video on social media, said his father plans for the guitar to have a tune up, and he can’t wait to start playing it again.

He added: “I was overjoyed to be able to provide that moment.

“Prior to Hanson telling me, I had no clue about the guitar, the account, any of that.

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John with his beloved bass guitar (left) and chatting to the collector who bought it off him in the 80s (right). ©@cashhollistah / T&T Creative Media

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“Obviously, he’s had other bass guitars since ’83, but getting the Burns back – I could tell it was special to him.

“The response to the video has been one of overwhelming love and support.

“People have told me they’ve either choked up, held back tears, or full-on cried after watching it – especially fellow musicians.

“As a musician, the feeling of having to give up your instrument – for whatever reason – is probably one of the lowest feelings you can experience.

“So to be able to get that instrument back, when you pretty much accepted you would never see it again, was amazing.”


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