“Welcome to The Lost Bass project and the greatest mystery in rock and roll. This is the search for the most important bass in history – Paul McCartney’s original Höfner.

And we need your help, tracing the bass and getting it back to where it once belonged. Follow the trail. Help trace the bass.”

The Lost Bass Project, 2023

Media requests, call +44 (0) 7875 943404

Paul McCartney’s original Höfner bass is missing.

This is the bass McCartney 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 you hear on ‘Love Me Do’, ‘She Loves You’, and ‘Twist and Shout’. The bass that powered Beatlemania – and shaped the sound of the modern world.

In January 1969, The Beatles were in London recording and filming the ‘Get Back/Let It Be’ sessions, and the 1961 Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass can be seen in the film. After this, we don’t see it again, and it has not been seen since. What happened to it?

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

Follow the project @tracingthebass


Meet the team looking for the bass

Nick Wass is from Höfner. For 12 years he was Höfner’s marketing manager and electric guitar developer – working closely with Paul McCartney’s team supplying basses, guitar parts and expertise. Nick co-wrote the definitive book on the Höfner 500/1 Violin Bass – ‘The Complete Violin Bass Story‘ – and is the world’s leading expert on McCartney’s missing bass.

Scott and Naomi Jones are journalists and TV Producers. Scott’s investigation into the death of The Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones led to the first ever police review of the case – and made headlines around the world. Naomi has developed and led the research on History documentaries and major investigations for the BBC and Channel 4, including Dispatches and the BAFTA-winning BBC drama-documentary Dirty Bomb.

How the project works


Working with all credible information and leads to trace the Lost Bass.


Background information about the Lost Bass and this rock and roll mystery.


Sharing stories from the Lost Bass with the media and project followers.

Read our latest press


Be part of a global project that could make music history

Get involved and you can learn how to identify Paul McCartney’s original Höfner bass – and rule out the fakes. You can see the trail the lost bass has been on, following the mystery since 1961. You can get updates on the search today. And if you have credible information about the bass, this is your chance to share it and be part of music history.

The photograph above is one of the last sightings of the missing bass, taken at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969 during the filming of ‘Get Back’. Apple have allowed the project to use this picture, of Paul lost in thought. Where did the bass go? Where is it now?

With a little help from our friends – from fans and musicians to collectors and music shops – we can get the bass back to where it once belonged. Paul McCartney has given us so much over the last 62 years. The Lost Bass project is our chance to give something back.


History shows it can be done

Lost guitars can be found. In 1963, John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E – the guitar Lennon used to write ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ – disappeared during The Beatles’ Christmas Show at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park. It resurfaced 51 years later – then sold at auction for $2.4 million. Over the years there have been stories about McCartney’s missing bass, but it has still not been found. Yet.

Speaking in 1966, Paul McCartney said: 

“I have had a Höfner ever since I started. I’ve got three models but the ancient one is still my favourite.”

Speaking in 2023, Nick Wass from Höfner said:

“It was played in Hamburg, at The Cavern Club, at Abbey Road. Isn’t that enough alone to get this bass back? I know, because I talked with him about it, that Paul would be so happy – thrilled – if this bass could get back to him”.


How to share your information

The project team have created a checklist to help people share information about the Lost Bass. This is a search, not an investigation. All information will be treated confidentially. The only purpose is to reunite Paul McCartney with his original Höfner bass.

Please get in touch no matter how small or old or insignificant you think your information may be. Research projects like this are part strategic and part magical mystery tour, where the smallest piece of information can lead to the greatest breakthrough. It could be something you have seen. Or a story that you know rings true. Or a photograph. Or a message or a reference online. Or a Höfner bass that was offered to you for sale. With your information and insights, we can solve the greatest mystery in the history of rock and roll.