Cavern News

Paul McCartney’s lost Höfner guitar – #TraceTheBass

Thursday, 7 November 2019

In 1961, Paul McCartney walked into a music shop in Hamburg, Germany and purchased his first bass guitar, a Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass. He would use it throughout his career in Hamburg. Then bring it back home to Liverpool, and use it throughout his time in The Cavern Club and across the UK. He would use the bass to record the band’s first two albums and several number one hits at Abbey Road recording studios.

This first bass was replaced by a second almost identical model in October 1963, the one you see Paul playing to this day. The first bass became Pauls back up bass and was last used by Paul early in 1969 during the Let It Be recordings. Then presumably stolen, It has not been seen since.

It is, without doubt, the most important missing guitar in the world. It’s the bass you hear on ‘Please Please Me’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘Twist and Shout’ and many other hits. These recordings alone make it a truly significant instrument. As his first bass, it has enormous sentimental value to Paul and after all these years he’d love to know what happened to it and hopefully receive it back.

Nick Wass, media and marketing manager at Höfner, wants to help him find it. The company has started a media campaign, #tracethebass, to try and locate and return the iconic bass to Paul McCartney.

Wass said: “While nobody really knew what had happened to the bass, it was very likely stolen. To this day it has remained a mystery. There have been rumours over the years, but this is all they amount to, just rumours. Someone somewhere knows what happened to this bass and where it is now. This information is out there if only the right person would come forward.”

If you have any definite information about the whereabouts of the bass guitar please contact Hofner via email, all information will be handled in strictest confidence with no recriminations: [email protected]

Until it is found, you can see an exact replica in The Cavern Club upon entrance to our Live Lounge.