Paul McCartney’s stolen Beatles bass guitar found after 51 years

By Thomson Reuters Feb 16, 2024 | 7:29 AM

LONDON (Reuters) – A stolen Hofner bass guitar belonging to Paul McCartney and used to record The Beatles’ first two albums has been found and returned after 51 years following a global hunt.

The guitar, dubbed the “most iconic lost musical instrument of all time” by the team behind the search, The Lost Bass Project, was used in Beatles singles including 1963 hits “She Loves You” and “All My Loving.”

“It’s the bass that started Beatlemania,” Nick Wass, one of the founders of the search team, told Reuters.

“That’s why it’s important, it’s the one that got it going.”

A public appeal by the project last year was shared around the world.

“As a result of the publicity someone living in a terraced house in Hastings on the south coast of England contacted Paul McCartney’s company and then returned the bass to them,” the Lost Bass Project said. The instrument was returned last year, but this was only announced on Thursday.

The instrument was stolen from a van in the Notting Hill area of London in October 1972, the search team said, citing information received during their investigation.

“The guitar has been authenticated by Höfner and Paul is incredibly grateful to all those involved,” a spokesperson on McCartney’s website said.

Wass told Reuters the bass guitar was “somewhat damaged” with a crack in the neck, a damaged bridge that would need replacing and pickups that did not work anymore.

“But they can be sorted out, the neck can be repaired and we can make it playable again,” Wass said.

In 2015, a guitar stolen from the late John Lennon in the 1960s sold for $2.41 million at an auction in Beverly Hills, California. The person in possession of it said he originally bought it without knowing its connection to Lennon.

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman; editing by William James and Sharon Singleton)