‘Hundreds contact appeal in 24 hours’ to help find missing McCartney guitar

Hundreds of people have got in touch over the space of 24 hours to help find Sir Paul McCartney’s bass guitar after it went missing more than 50 years ago, appeal organisers have said.

The Lost Bass Project claims the instrument is “a national treasure” and a piece of “modern social cultural history” as the first bass bought by Sir Paul that was manufactured by Hofner.

Nick Wass from Hofner – the brand former Beatle Sir Paul continues to use in his performances – is behind the appeal alongside husband and wife team, Scott and Naomi Jones.

The Loss Bass project
A detail from an replica of Sir Paul McCartney’s original Hofner bass guitar which shows the brand’s name written vertically down the guitar (Guncotton Guitars/PA)

Sir Paul has previously approached Hofner about finding the bass and his office is being kept updated by the group, Mr Jones told the PA news agency.

Since launching the project yesterday, Mr Jones said on Sunday: “We are dealing with hundreds of emails and we’ve already picked out two (emails) in particular, because we know it instantly marries up with something that was known before.

“We didn’t expect to get necessarily thousands of super-hot leads instantly … what I’m anticipating is that people who know something will probably just sort of reflect on what they know and then come forward at some point.”

When asked about the details of the leads, the 56-year-old said he could not give an individual’s name, who has been mentioned by “different people”, but they had connections to the UK and America.

Mr Jones, a journalist who investigated the death of The Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, added: “The name (has) cropped up a few times now, because it’s disconnected and it’s coming from a range of sources. Obviously, things like that stand out.

“It’s all still possible but it’s a much stronger feeling you’ve got about a piece of evidence like that if it’s being effectively supported by totally independent and unconnected people.”

The Loss Bass project
Detail of a replica of Sir Paul McCartney’s original Hofner bass guitar (Guncotton Guitars/PA)

The former BBC employee, who worked at the broadcaster in documentaries and current affairs, said the last official sighting of the instrument in January 1969 was at No 3 Savile Row in London, where The Beatles had a studio.

The bass had been purchased for £30 in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961 by Sir Paul and was used during his time with The Beatles.

Mr Jones said: “It’s very rare that we’re not seeing (Sir Paul) playing (one of) his old Hofners.

“What’s uber special about this one, the one that’s gone missing was (it’s) the first one … that’s the one that he bought in Hamburg, that’s the one he played in the clubs in Hamburg … (and) in Liverpool (and at) the first recordings at Abbey Road.

“That’s why it’s so important to him (Sir Paul) to see this thing again, to see this guitar again, because it was the first one.”

Mr Jones also said that the bass could be with someone who “innocently” owns it “without realising what they’ve got”.

Glastonbury Festival 2022
Sir Paul McCartney with a more recent bass guitar at Glastonbury Festival last year (Yui Mok/PA)

“It’s worth looking at the John Lennon acoustic guitar that he used to write I Want To Hold Your Hand,” he said.

“That guitar was stolen from a Beatles Christmas show in Finsbury Park in 1963 but it turned up 51 years later in America and somebody bought that guitar for innocently for 175 dollars.”

If the Lost Bass Project finds the instrument it will be returned to Sir Paul, the organisers have said.

The bass is described as being left-handed, having a three-part sunburst colour, two pickups mounted in one solid block of black wood and a removed mother of pearl pick guard.