The iconic Höfner bass guitar belonging to Paul McCartney disappeared on or around January 21, 1969. The Beatles were preparing for the Apple Headquarters rooftop show in London. The guitar may have been in a storage area with other band equipment either in the Apple HQ basement or at the Abbey Road Studio. Despite many rumors that have circulated over the years since its disappearance, no one really knows where the guitar went.
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The Lost Bass Project is renewing the search in the hopes that someone with knowledge of the instrument will step forward. The Höfner 500/1 model bass guitar is unique in its violin shape and the fact that it is a left-handed instrument. These facts make it easily recognizable. Early followers of the Beatles probably remember seeing Paul on stage with it.
A teenage Paul bought the bass in 1961 at Steinway Musikhausin in Hamburg. The original purchase price was £30. If it is located, the instrument could now fetch up to or more than £10 million. But they aren’t looking for it solely for the monetary value. Paul has a sentimental attachment to the bass guitar. The instrument received heavy modifications while in Paul’s possession. As a result, it may differ from early photographs. There are four distinctive features of the lost guitar:
- The body has a three-part sunburst color
- The mount for the two pickups is a solid block of black wood
- The pickguard, originally made with mother of pearl, is no longer on the guitar
- The instrument is left-handed
The organizers of the Lost Bass Project have compiled a checklist for people to use. The list can help to verify any instrument they feel might be the lost Höfner bass guitar. That list is here. A series of images using replicas show the appearance of the bass guitar before and after the modifications. Höfner gifted Paul a newer version of the violin bass guitar in 1963, which became his primary instrument. In 1969, when last seen, Paul had been using it for some of the recording sessions the group was doing at the time.
Höfner has joined in the search for Paul McCartney’s lost bass guitar. Additional information about the instrument is on their website. Hopefully, with the renewal of interest, Paul will finally hold his bass guitar again. Contrary to the teaser video title below, the bass guitar was not found.
You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.
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