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Paul McCartney reunited with lost Beatles bass guitar after more than 50 years

McCartney’s beloved violin-shaped Höfner bass guitar disappeared shortly after the Beatles split up, but has now been returned following a global appeal

Kevin E G Perry
Friday 16 February 2024 00:47 GMT
Sir Paul Mccartney pays tribute to The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts

Sir Paul McCartney has been reunited with his beloved violin-shaped Höfner bass guitar, 52 years after it disappeared.

McCartney played the instrument on some of The Beatles’ most famous early songs, including “Twist And Shout” and “She Loves You”.

A spokesperson for the former Beatle said he is “incredibly grateful” for those who were involved in helping to locate the instrument, which he hadn’t seen since 1972.

The Lost Bass Project launched a search to find the missing bass in 2018, but traction picked up last year after further media attention.

The team, which included Nick Wass from Höfner and husband and wife team Scott and Naomi Jones, received more than 100 leads which they used to help track down the missing guitar.

Among the tip-offs, the project said they were given information that claimed the guitar had been stolen from the back of a van in 1972 in Notting Hill in London.

Paul McCartney onstage with his Höfner bass at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, circa 1961 (Keystone/Getty Images)

They later discovered the bass was allegedly sold to a landlord in the area before it was passed on until it ended up in the attic of a terraced house on the south coast of England.

The project said the owner realised they had the highly sought-after item following the publicity last year.

The bass is still complete and in its original case but will need some repairs to make it playable again, the project added in their statement.

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A post on Sir Paul’s official website read: “Following the launch of last year’s Lost Bass project, Paul’s 1961 Hofner 500/1 bass guitar, which was stolen in 1972, has been returned.

“The guitar has been authenticated by Hofner and Paul is incredibly grateful to all those involved.”

McCartney first purchased the instrument for £30 in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961 and was used during his time with The Beatles.

His career-long use of the guitar led to it to being dubbed the “Beatle bass”.

Sir Paul played the Höfner on the Fab Four’s first two albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles, as well as on a slew of hits including “Love Me Do”.

A statement from The Lost Bass project said: “We are extremely proud that we played a major part in finding the Lost Bass. It has been a dream since 2018 that it could be done. Despite many telling us that it was lost forever or destroyed, we persisted until it was back where it belonged.

“We want to thank everyone who helped with the search, all those who sent us leads and ideas and many who just wanted to lend their support to us. Thank you all so very much. Very much indeed! We did it!”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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