A Decadeslong Musical Mystery Has Been Solved

Paul McCartney reunited with long-lost bass guitar
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2024 2:15 AM CST
Updated Feb 18, 2024 4:00 PM CST
A Decadeslong Musical Mystery Has Been Solved
The Beatles, foreground from left, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr on drums perform on the CBS "Ed Sullivan Show" in New York on Feb. 9, 1964.   (AP Photo/File)

In 1961, when the Beatles were not yet a global phenomenon, Paul McCartney bought a bass guitar for £30 (approximately $38, or the equivalent of more than $1,000 today, per the Guardian). McCartney became known for the Höfner bass, notably shaped like a violin, and it was said to be his favorite. Then it vanished, having been last seen around the time the band's last album was being recorded. Now, more than five decades later, it's finally been returned to McCartney, the BBC reports. A Höfner bass expert spearheaded a worldwide search for the instrument, dubbed the Lost Bass Project, and McCartney confirms the bass was returned in December, authenticated by Höfner, and that he is "incredibly grateful" to everyone who helped.

The bass was apparently stolen from the back of a van in west London in 1972, sold to the landlord of a local pub, and somehow made its way to an attic in Sussex. The family heard about the search and recalled the bass, retrieved it from the attic, and the rest is history. The bass was still complete, even in its original case, but will need to undergo repairs to make it playable. McCartney said once that he appreciated the instrument's symmetrical shape, which was different than many electric guitars. "To me, because I was left-handed, it looked less daft because it was symmetrical," he said. "I got into that. And once I bought it, I fell in love with it." (More Paul McCartney stories.)

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