Beatles Fans Searching for the 'Most Important Bass in History' — Paul McCartney's Lost Höfner

A group of Beatles supporters ask for help to "follow the trail" and "trace the bass"

<p>Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty</p> Paul McCartney playing a different violin bass guitar in 1989

Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty

Paul McCartney playing a different violin bass guitar in 1989

Paul McCartney fans are on a mission to find his favorite guitar and they are asking for the help of Beatles fans.

The Lost Bass Project is picking up steam after launching to reunite The Beatles musician with one of his most treasured instruments — the Höfner 500/1 electric bass he used during the 1960s. The team is led by former Höfner GmbH marketing manager Nick Wass, former BBC journalist Scott Jones and television producer Naomi Jones.

Finding the instrument will be no easy task. McCartney’s bass has not been seen with its original owner since late January 1969, when The Beatles were in London recording the Get Back and Let It Be sessions.

“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,” the group's site reads. The project launched on Saturday, reports CNN.

The Lost Bass Project is counting loyal Beatles fans to “follow the trail” and “help trace the bass.”

<p>David Redfern/Redferns</p> Paul McCartney playing the lost bass, with Ringo Starr on drums

David Redfern/Redferns

Paul McCartney playing the lost bass, with Ringo Starr on drums

The website is filled with photos of McCartney playing beside his bandmates during The Beatles’ glory days with the iconic instrument in tow.

The guitar was used when the Liverpool lads “played at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg in 1961, at the Cavern in Liverpool, and on those first Abbey Road recordings.”

Related: Paul McCartney Clarifies That New Beatles Music Isn't 'Artificially' Created: 'We All Play on It'

McCartney’s missing guitar can also be heard on "Love Me Do," "She Loves You," and "Twist and Shout," per the site.

Members of the project believe that their community of supporters can come together to “get the bass back to where it once belonged.” The devoted following added, “Paul McCartney has given us so much over the last 62 years. The Lost Bass project is our chance to give something back.”

<p>Bettmann Archive</p> Paul McCartney, holding the missing instrument, and John Lennon of The Beatles

Bettmann Archive

Paul McCartney, holding the missing instrument, and John Lennon of The Beatles

Wass, who served as the marketing manager and electric guitar developer at Höfner for 12 years, worked closely with McCartney’s team to provide musical equipment, their necessary parts and his expertise. Wass is also regarded as “the world’s leading expert on McCartney’s missing bass.”

“I have had a Höfner ever since I started. I’ve got three models but the ancient one is still my favorite,” McCartney said in 1966 as he fondly spoke about his prized possession.

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Wass, Jones and Naomi included the last known photos of McCartney with the bass, taken during the filming of the Let It Be documentary, on their website. It's unclear what happened to the instrument after January 1969. The three believe the instrument was either stolen from Abbey Road or the Apple Records offices on Saville Row.

"I have corresponded with someone who worked for Apple at the HQ during the early 1970s. He wrote that there was definitely Beatles gear in the basement," Wass wrote on the site. "The situation at Apple was totally chaotic, with many people, some unknown, coming and going daily. He said it was like a continuous 24-hour party at times. He knew that one or more of Harrison’s guitars had gone missing from the basement. Did the 61 bass also disappear from here?"

<p>Michael Webb/Getty </p> The Beatles

Michael Webb/Getty

The Beatles

Although McCartney himself is not involved in the search, Wass told The New York Times the "Live and Let Die" singer is interested in reuniting with the instrument based on conversations he has had with the musician. "He calls it the ancient one," Wass said.

Scott told BBC News that his interest in the guitar was ignited after seeing McCartney perform at Glastonbury last year. He approached Höfner and learned they were already searching for it.

"Paul said to Höfner 'surely if anyone can find this guitar, it's you guys', and that's how it all came about," Scott explained. "Now we're working together on this. Nick has more technical knowledge about this guitar than anyone on the planet, and me and my Naomi are bringing some investigative skills."

The Lost Bass Project feels confident that they have a fighting chance at finding McCartney’s long lost guitar because other once lost instruments have been reunited with their owners.

The site notes that in 1963, John Lennon’s Gibson J-160E — the guitar he used to write “I Want to Hold Your Hand” — disappeared during The Beatles’ Christmas Show at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park. The guitar was found 51 years later and later sold at auction for $2.4 million, reports Reuters.

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