Valley blues legend reunites with treasured guitar

FRESNO, Calif.

You may recall, thieves took a well-known musician's car which was full of his expensive music equipment. The music community has since stepped in, to keep Ron Thompson on the stage.

Thanks to those perfect strangers Ron Thompson can now play his favorite and most treasured guitar, at Babylon in the Tower District. He took the stage on Thursday night, as he's been doing for years.

Thompson told us, "I'm glad to have this back." ABC30 met him at American Music in Fresno, where he was buying the equipment he needs to take the stage. He admits it was strange to pick up his 1959 Gibson, the guitar he's had since he was 19.

Thompson added, "It was weird I played last night and had to reacquaint myself with it, like a person or something, it was kind of spooky."

The Gibson, a keyboard, amplifier, mandolin and dozens of other items were in Thompson's car which was stolen from his Hayward home a few weeks ago.

Since then, the music community has been talking, and musician "Robby Z" Zolezzi got an idea. He worked with a Bay Area pawn shop to track down the people who somehow had Thompson's guitars.

Rob Zolezzi explained, "I know how it feels, it's like losing a wife or girlfriend, seriously, these guitars I knew he had to have back."

Robby Z met those people on the side of the road, handed over the reward money and in exchange, got back three guitars, including the one that Thompson could never replace.

"I didn't do it to get refunded money," explained Zolezzi. "I did it because it needed to be done and I wanted to do it."

In the process, he gained a lifelong friend.

Thompson said, "It was very nice of that man and he was taking a chance, it was dangerous who knows what they would have done."

If only the Gibson could talk. It's been all over the world, played with famous names, and now it can add a new adventure to its list of musical history.

"I thanked him, I was almost in tears when I got it back, and I really mean that," said Thompson. "I thought it was gone for good."

Various music communities around the state are also holding fund raisers to help Thompson recover some of that equipment.

In the meantime, Hayward police are investigating.

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