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The Greatest Mystery in Rock and Roll

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

A worldwide search has begun to find Sir Paul McCartney's missing bass guitar which he bought for £30 ($38) in 1961 and could now be worth around £10m ($12.6m).

The Beatles, 1965

The instrument "powered Beatlemania and shaped the sound of the modern world", according to those behind the Lost Bass project. The Hofner 500/1 electric bass was purchased by McCartney in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961 and was apparently his "favourite".

He played it at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg that same year, at Liverpool's Cavern Club, and on the Beatles' first recordings at the famous Abbey Road studios. It features on the Beatles hits Love Me Do, She Loves You, and Twist And Shout.

McCartney then put it to one side for a while, but in early 1969 he picked it up again while the band were in London recording the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. It was around this time that the guitar went missing, a year before the band split up.

There are various rumours about what happened to it, including that a thief took the bass from a closet at Abbey Road, or that it went missing from the basement of the Beatles' Savile Row offices.

Those behind the new project say they are searching for "the most important bass in history" and they grandly call its disappearance "the greatest mystery in rock and roll".

Have you got it tucked away in your loft?


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