Trace the bass

The last time we saw Paul with this bass was in this clip from a “Let It Be” outtake. © Apple Films Ltd.

German Instrument makers Höfner have launched a campaign though social media, hoping to retrieve information about the whereabouts of Paul McCartney’s first bass guitar.

The bass guitar was bought in Hamburg, Germany in the spring of 1961 after Paul had decided to switch to bass after the departure of the Beatles’ original bass guitarist, Stuart Sutcliffe. Pursuing his love of arts, Sutcliffe elected to stay in Hamburg with his German girlfriend Astrid, and study painting.

McCartney used the bass guitar on the Beatles’ recordings until he got a new Höfner violin bass in 1963 from the UK company Selmer, who imported Höfner instruments to Great Britain. Still using the original bass guitar from 1961 as a back up on tours, it was also on display in the music videos for “Revolution” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, the latter featured an outtake from the “Let It Be” film.

Although we have heard rumours about the whereabouts of the guitar, Nick Wass, Marketing Manager at Höfner is not interested in conspiracy theories or hearsay, only facts.

The campaign has a web page and a hashtag for social media, #tracethebass. You can find more information about what the bass guitar looks like on

7 Responses

  1. Steve Howsley says:

    Is it known if the instrument was stolen? It will be difficult to track down if it was. Was the serial number recorded by McCartney at that time? Did it have any distinguishing marks such as chips or scratches?

  2. beatlejim says:

    The rumor was/is…that the bass is somewhere in Ottawa Canada…and is being held by someone who is known as the "Keeper". McCartney…as the story goes…used the bass during the "Let It Be" sessions in January 1969…and it hasn't been seen since.According to author Phillip Norman,…he passed on the "Keeper" story to Paul when they met in May 2015 at a McCartney concert in Liverpool….

  3. bob katz says:

    I do have more pressing business at hand than to worry about where Maccas 50 years missing bass guitar is. Paul should dig into his stack of cash and hire a private detective if he is so concerned.

  4. Teddy Salad says:

    Lighten up, Francis. Perhaps Paul and Hofner both have spent piles of cash looking and have had no success. This looks like an attempt to search through social media contacts, which often dig deeper into dark places than mere money can.

  5. Daniel Smith says:

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  6. DWB says:

    There has been a lot of talk about Paul's 1st Hofner over the years. It is without a doubt one of the most iconic instruments in the Rock era and valuable if found. However..due to many factors, it is virtually USELESS/WORTHLESS to the person hanging on to it. As it is stolen property (taken in January 1969), the current owner cannot go public nor try to sell it. Some speculate that the Bass will remain missing until Paul passes away, then "magically" be discovered in an attic or pawn shop.

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