Anderson, 77, had a vintage Billy Grammer guitar when he broke into the music business more than 50 years ago.
He thinks the instrument was loaned to a music museum that went out of business and it had been missing ever since.
“I sort of forgot about it. I really did,” Anderson told Phoenix TV station KPHO-TV. “Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t remember what I did with it when I stopped playing it.”
A customer pawned the guitar in April at Bell Road Pawn Shop in Phoenix.
Shop owner Mike Grauer, who considers himself a country music historian, said he looked inside the guitar’s sound hole and saw the name “Bill Anderson” etched inside.
He contacted the country music star, who flew Grauer and his wife to Nashville, Tennessee, last weekend.
Anderson invited the couple on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and he was reunited with his old guitar.
Anderson said the guitar was one of his prized possessions when he first made it big in the early 1960s. He has released more than 40 studio albums and charted seven No. 1 country singles in his career.
“I wanted him to have it,” Grauer said. “It belonged to him. It meant something to him.”
Grauer said just seeing the Grand Ole Opry was “just a dream come true. To see the people I was standing next to backstage and shaking their hands, I’ll never forget it.”