LONDON. – A global search has been launched to find one of the world’s most iconic instruments – Paul McCartney’s original Höfner bass guitar.
The Lost Bass Project is appealing for information about what it describes as “the most important bass in history”.
McCartney bought the instrument for £30 ($38) in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961, but it disappeared eight years later.
The bass features in The Beatles’ music of those years, including the hits Love Me Do and She Loves You.
Nick Wass is heading Höfner’s search project and has joined forces with two journalists in trying to solve the “greatest mystery in the history of rock and roll.”
He has collaborated extensively with McCartney and written a book about the missing Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass.
Wass told the BBC that the famous Beatle asked him about the guitar during a recent conversation – and that is how the campaign to find it began.
It is not clear what happened to the instrument, which was put away presumably after the Beatles finished filming Get Back in 1969, he said.
“It’s not clear where it was stored, who might have been there.
“For most people, they will remember it… it’s the bass that made the Beatles,” Wass said.
Though he briefly put it to one side during his time in the band, he picked it up again for recording sessions in London when the group were recording Let it Be. The instrument can also be spotted in Get Back, the Peter Jackson documentary which was released in 2021.
Now, Höfner have stepped in to help the musician with his desperate search for the instrument, which is now valued at around at least £10million due to its extensive musical history. The search has been launched online with the hashtag ‘tracingthebass’ inviting people from around the world to help track it down.
Höfner basses have been the preferred brand for McCartney throughout his career. He has owned four Höfner basses since 1961, and to this day plays one of the basses given to him by the German company.
Wass told the Sunday Telegraph:
“I’ve worked closely with Paul McCartney’s team over the years, and when I’ve met Paul we’ve talked about his first Höfner bass and where it could be today.
“Paul said to me, ‘Heh, because you’re from Höfner, couldn’t you help find my bass?’ And that’s what sparked this great hunt’.”
Theories about what happened to the instrument vary, from rumours that a thief took the bass from a closet at Abbey Road, to a story that it went missing from the basement of the Beatles Savile Row offices.
Mr Wass added that the bass could be valued ‘more like a Van Gogh or a Picasso than just an instrument.”
“This is the bass Paul played in Hamburg, at the Cavern Club, and at Abbey Road’, he said.
“Paul would be so happy, thrilled, if this bass could get back to him.” – BBC/Mailonline.