Legendary guitarist missing important instrument

Ruth Sunahara
Ruth Sunahara

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - He's been thrilling audiences for more than 40 years. But legendary slack-key guitarist Ledward Kaapana isn't thrilled about what happened to him recently.

Earlier this week, someone stole the one thing that brought much joy to Ledward Kaapana's audiences -- his guitar.

He's asking for your help to hopefully be reunited soon with the instrument that has scores of sentimental value to him.

For three decades, Ledward Kaapana strummed this $2,000 Bird's Eye Maple Ibanez guitar. But he won't be playing any slack-key anytime soon. It was stolen at Like Like Drive-Inn's parking lot.

"This guitar to me, it's like family, we so close, just like missing somebody," he said.

Kaapana is on the big island this weekend, playing at an event. Although he's got another guitar to play tunes with, he says it's not the same without the stolen one.

"Every guitar has a special sound, in fact, all of my guitars have a special sound, it's hard to duplicate a guitar that you know, you love so much," he said.

On the way home from Peter Moon's birthday party,

Kaapana and his friends stopped by for a bite to eat. That's when someone snatched up his precious guitar from his car.

There were no signs that someone broke into the car, but Kaapana says a back door may have not been closed enough to lock up. One waitress says whoever stole the guitar did it really fast.

"Her car was right in the front, but nothing was to us, nothing was stolen because we couldn't see, but we don't know for sure," Waitress Ruth Sunahara said.

Kaapana has this request for the thief.

"I would ask him to just take it there and leave it with them because I let them know that if anybody drops the guitar off and I left my number for them to call me and you just can be gone, you know, that's all I ask," he said.

Kaapana says this isn't the first time someone stole one of his guitars. He tells us around 30 years ago, someone stole one from him. He never got that one back, but he hopes for a different result this time.