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'A pretty unique guitar': Maine musician searching for a guitar that was a gift from his father

Toby McAllister is on a quest to find a guitar he sold in 2013 to afford food while traveling with his band on tour.

SANFORD, Maine — What does a rock group from Maine do after traveling the world on tour?

They come back to Maine, of course, and settle down.

That was the case for Toby McAllister, of Sparks the Rescue.

"Now would be the time to start a treasure hunt, I guess," he said.

He's on a "treasure hunt" for a guitar that his father gave him when he was in high school. He sold it in 2013 to afford food while traveling on tour with his band.

"It's something that I would like to pass on to my daughter if she's ever interested in playing guitar some day," McAllister explained. "It's just not the same to go out and get a new one."

His daughter's name is Adeline and she's two months old, now.

The guitar was a Gibson Les Paul Junior.

"Every tour before I'd leave I'd look around like, 'what can I sell for 400-500 bucks just so I can eat on the road?'"

McAllister now regrets his decision to sell the guitar.

"It was one of those things that it had sentimental value to me before I realized it did," he said. "We probably did a month-long tour and I was able to eat Wendy's fast food for the month and was it really worth it? I don't think it was."

He started his search by putting the word out online on Facebook marketplace and he started getting some leads.

"I'm not a detective of any kind but it's been cool. I've talked to a couple of pawnshops. I found the pawnshop where it ended up," he said.

"I actually saw Sparks the Rescue live a couple of times so it was really neat when he messaged us," said Derik Johnson, the manager of York County Trading Co. in Sanford. "I was like, 'why do I know that name?'"

The guitar ended up at his pawnshop for a short time. Johnson was able to look up the transaction from when it was sold in 2014 and he was able to provide a serial number to McAllister. 

"That was huge because I didn't have the serial number and I wasn't able to tell people exactly what the year was," said McAllister.

The only problem, the shop doesn't know who bought it. 

"I actually put a sign up in our shop that says 'hey did you buy a Gibson Les Paul Junior from us in 2014? if so, come talk to me,'" Johnson said.

"I can't imagine there are a ton of them floating around it's a pretty unique guitar," said McAllister.

McAllister's quest to find the guitar became a little more urgent when his father fell ill and nearly died. He's OK now – but McAllister's urgency remains, and if he finds it, he's already decided what he'll do.

"Yeah I've thought of a few different ways if it ever came down to it," he said. "I want the chance to make an offer. I've thought about maybe investing in a new one and seeing if maybe they wanted to swap for it."

"The hunt has been kind of fun and I just hope that I can find it and I think he'd be stoked too," McAllister said.

Anyone who might have any information on the whereabouts of this guitar is asked to get in touch with Toby McAllister through Facebook by visiting his page or by sending him an e-mail to tobymcallister@gmail.com.

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