The Beatles Story Entrance

Global search for McCartney's missing Hofner

International search underway to find one of the most iconic instruments of all time, Sir Paul McCartney’s original Höfner bass.

3 min read

A huge international search is under way to find one of the most iconic instruments of all time, Sir Paul McCartney’s original Höfner bass. The Höfner 500/1 Violin bass is the bass McCartney purchased and played at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg in 1961, at the Cavern in Liverpool, and on those first Abbey Road recordings. This is the bass heard on ‘Love Me Do’, ‘She Loves You’, and ‘Twist and Shout’. The bass that powered Beatlemania – and shaped the sound of the modern world.

But in late January 1969, when The Beatles were in London recording the ‘Get Back/Let It Be’ sessions, the 1961 Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass disappeared. It has not been seen since.

The Lost Bass project is a global search dedicated to tracing the bass, returning it to McCartney – and solving the greatest mystery in the history of rock and roll music.

The Lost Bass project is headed by Nick Wass. Nick was the marketing manager and electric guitar developer at Höfner GmbH in Germany for 12 years. He has worked closely with Paul McCartney’s team over the years, supplying expertise, parts and basses. Nick co-wrote the definitive book about the Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass – ‘The Complete Violin Bass Story‘– Nick has also published several articles about Paul McCartney and his use of Höfner basses from 1961 onwards, and he has given lectures on the subject. Nick is working with two former BBC journalists and husband and wife team Scott and Naomi Jones both Beatles fans with backgrounds in documentary film making and research.

Paul McCartney's missing Hofner search
Search for Paul McCartney’s missing Hofner


The search is taking the world by storm – with millions of people hearing about the lost bass on TV, on the radio and in national newspapers, from BBC Radio Merseyside to the New York Times.

There are a few key features that can help you identify the missing Hofner bass that has been lost for over 50 years. The clearest being the Höfner logo on the headstock. The original model has a vertically written logo, while the later versions played by McCartney have a horizontally written logo. The missing bass has also been renovated after extensive touring, so it may look different from how it appears in older pictures. The paint job is darker, the pearl pickguard has been removed, and the two pickups are mounted in a single piece of black wood.

Anyone with information is being encouraged to get in touch with The Lost bass project via their website where you can find more information and photos of the missing instrument.

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