Paul McCartney: Worldwide search launched for missing Beatles 1961 Höfner guitar

A guitar that Paul McCartney played on the recordings of “Love Me Do”, “She Loves You” and “Twist and Shout” is the subject of a worldwide search.

The Beatles star’s original Höfner bass guitar has been described as “the most important bass in history” by The Loss Bass Project, which has launched the hunt.

McCartney bought the instrument in 1961 for £30 ($38) in Hamburg, Germany, but it went missing eight years later.

The musician has urged manufacturers Höfner to track down his instrument, prompting the global search.

McCartney collaborator Nick Wass, who has written a book about the missing instrument, is heading up the search project and has teamed up with two journalists in trying to solve the rock ‘n’ roll mystery.

Wass told the BBC that he presumed the guitar was put away after the Beatles finished filming Get Back in 1969.

“It’s not clear where it was stored, who might have been there,” he said.

“For most people, they will remember it... it’s the bass that made the Beatles.”

The instrument can be seen in Get Back, the Peter Jackson documentary that was released in 2021.

The stolen guitars of musicians have sold for millions in the past: John Lennon’s – that he used to write “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and was taken during the band’s Christmas show at Finsbury Park – went for $2.4m (£1.9m) when it resurfaced 50 years after it vanished.

The campaign has shared pictures of the original bass along with information following it from its purchase to its disappearance, and tips on how to spot fakes.

The guitar in question in ‘Get Back’ (Apple)
The guitar in question in ‘Get Back’ (Apple)

“Someone, somewhere, knows what happened to this bass and where it is now,” said Wass. “This information is out there if only the right person would come forward.”

On the Lost Bass Project website, there is a plea, saying: “With a little help from our friends – from fans and musicians to collectors and music shops – we can get the bass back to where it once belonged. Paul McCartney has given us so much over the last 62 years. The Lost Bass project is our chance to give something back.”