Paul McCartney’s long-lost Höfner bass returned after greater than 50 years

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Paul McCartney has been reunited with the unique Höfner bass guitar he purchased within the early Sixties that was stolen within the ’70s, the previous Beatles member confirmed Wednesday.

“Following the launch of final yr’s Misplaced Bass venture, Paul’s 1961 Höfner 500/1 bass guitar, which was stolen in 1972, has been returned,” learn a quick assertion on McCartney’s web site. “The guitar has been authenticated by Höfner and Paul is extremely grateful to all these concerned.”

McCartney purchased the guitar, a left-handed Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass, in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961. It was his main instrument all through the early years of The Beatles’ runs at Hamburg’s Prime Ten Membership and Liverpool’s Cavern Membership and on early Beatles recordings till it grew to become his backup when he received a brand new Höfner in 1963.

McCartney's Cavern
Paul McCartney on stage on the Cavern nightclub in Liverpool through the early days of The Beatles.

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However the bass went lacking years later, and in 2023, three lifelong Beatles followers got down to get it again (to the place it as soon as belonged).

Nick Wass, a former advertising supervisor and electrical guitar developer for Höfner, and husband and spouse crew Scott and Naomi Jones, each journalists, created the Misplaced Bass Challenge to hunt out leads and share updates on their seek for the lacking instrument.

The crew found in October that the bass had been stolen off a truck in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood in 1972. This was one thing of a breakthrough, they defined, because it was beforehand believed the Höfner had been stolen from The Beatles’ Apple Corps headquarters on Savile Row in January 1969 through the “Get Again” periods, which culminated within the band’s ultimate reside efficiency, on the roof of the constructing, and finally led to their ultimate album “Let It Be.”

Rooftop Beatles
The Beatles performing their final reside public live performance on the rooftop of the Apple Corps constructing on Savile Row, London, England.

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Ian Horne, certainly one of McCartney’s former sound engineers, received in contact with the Misplaced Bass Challenge and advised them concerning the 1972 theft. In response to Horne, the bass was taken from the again of a padlocked truck that had been rented to assist transfer some tools as McCartney and his band Wings ready for an upcoming tour and recorded the album “Pink Rose Speedway.”

“I knew it was Paul’s unique Höfner bass that had been stolen, and I knew what it meant to him,” Horne wrote in an electronic mail, in accordance with the Misplaced Bass Challenge. “Trevor [Jones, McCartney’s other sound engineer at the time] and I did all we might to seek out it, but it surely was gone. Ultimately, we needed to go to Paul’s home in Cavendish Avenue and inform him that the gear had been stolen from the again of the truck. We went into the room and advised Paul. He advised us to not fear, and we saved our jobs. He is an excellent man, Paul. I labored for him for six years after the bass went lacking. However I’ve carried the guilt all my life.”

The Misplaced Bass Challenge stated it was then ready to determine precisely who stole it and discovered it was offered to the proprietor of a pub within the space. Whereas the venture has not revealed any specifics, having promised anybody who comes ahead confidentiality, it stated it was in a position to monitor the bass’ actions over time.

“Because of the publicity somebody dwelling in a terraced home on the south coast of England remembered an previous bass guitar that was of their attic,” the Misplaced Bass Challenge wrote Thursday. “They received this out and realized simply what they’d. Inside days it was again with Paul McCartney!”

Whereas the 1961 Höfner had been lacking for many years, McCartney continued to make use of the bass he received in 1963 all through the remainder of the Beatles’ profession. He stopped utilizing that mannequin within the Nineteen Seventies, however returned to it in 1987, in accordance with Guitar World.

“I had form of parked it. I had thought I had outgrown it. I began taking part in it once more and by no means actually seemed again,” McCartney stated, in accordance with Guitar World. “It is nice that Elvis [Costello] inspired me to take it out.”

McCartney nonetheless performs the ’63 Höfner reside and on studio recordings to today.

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