Restoring the Hard Rock guitar sign back to its original glory

It's in pieces today, but the Hard Rock guitar sign is coming back!Neon Museum raising money for restoration. (Denise Rosch | KSNV)

It stood it's ground for nearly 30 years and is easily one of the most recognizable signs in Las Vegas.

But when the Hard Rock Cafe at Paradise and Harmon closed down a little more than a year ago the enormous guitar out front was removed, now, a campaign is on to light it up once again.

"It's in good shape for a 30-year-old sign," says Ed Stagner with Yesco.

Metal, bolts, and neon; a piece of art, waiting to be re-assembled.

Here at Yesco sign company, Stagner looks over original plans for what was a Las Vegas favorite.

The Hard Rock Cafe Guitar, 73 feet of classic cool.

"It was Pete Townsend's number 9 guitar. Which we had in our shop and we took the measurements off that to make it as realistic as we could," says Stagner.

When the Hard Rock Cafe closed in 2016, the sign went back to the Yesco yard.

Now it's been donated to the Neon Museum. Home to so much of our glittering past.

Brenda Bogue, the Director of Development for the Neon Museum says, "it's going to be the largest restored sign that we have in the Bone Yard."

Bogue says a fundraising campaign is on to bring the guitar back to its original glory.

350-thousand dollars needed for repairs, transportation to the museum, and then, future upkeep. The symbol of the hard rock cafe chain.

"The one in Las Vegas was the flagship sign, it was the very first one in the whole world," says Bogue.

The sign originally cost $386,000 when it was finished in 1990. But when it comes to sheer advertising for Las Vegas, the guitar is priceless.

Quickly becoming a favorite of Hollywood movie makers, including Touchstone Pictures 1997 "Con Air."

Where the sign is famously destroyed by a prison transport plane crashing onto the strip. A model, of course, the real one, never even scratched.

As for Stagner, he was the sign's original salesman. And knows every working piece.

"The strings strum back and forth, some of the guys that tried to copy it never figured out how we did it. So it looked like the guitar was being played," says Stagner.

Ready to light up the Las Vegas night, once again.

For more information about the Neon Museum, click here.

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