Jefferson Starship rocker Pete Sears is celebrating after the discovery of his custom-made guitar, which was stolen from a concert venue in Germany 40 years ago.

The bassist's one-of-a kind instrument, crafted by Grateful Dead star Jerry Garcia's guitar maker Doug Irwin, went missing during a riot at the Lorelei Festival in 1978, and Sears had resigned himself to the fact he'd never see the axe he dubbed the Dragon again.

He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "It was always in the back of my mind... I thought it was sitting in someone's basement."

One of Irwin's colleagues posted a request for information about the missing guitar on the Grateful Dead's website forum in 2009, and last month (Apr13), a German musician came forward and revealed he was the new owner of Sears' stolen instrument.

He claimed he bought it between 1990 and 1991 from a studio musician in the Netherlands, who claimed it once belonged to the bassist of 1980s band Golden Earring.

The German agreed to part with the bass for $3,200 (£2,100) and shipped it to America for restoration.

Sears says, "It's an antique now, like I am. I just can't wait to get it back and hold it again."