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Sir Paul McCartney reunited with stolen guitar after more than 50 years

Sir Paul McCartney has been reunited with a guitar which was stolen more than 50 years ago.

The Beatles legend was left devastated after the 1961 Hofner 500/1 bass guitar – used in the creation of many of the bands’ hits – was taken from the back of a van in London in October 1972 and in 2018, a major international search was launched for the missing instrument called The Lost Bass Project.

Now almost six years later, McCartney has finally got his guitar back. He confirmed the news in a statement posted on his website which read: ““Following the launch of … [The] Lost Bass Project, Paul’s 1961 Hofner 500/1 bass guitar, which was stolen in 1972, has been returned,.

“The guitar has been authenticated by Hofner and Paul is incredibly grateful to all those involved.”

The search was launched in 2018 but was reinvigorated in 2023 when it gained extra publicity.

A message posted on The Lost Bass Project’s website revealed the instrument will need some repairs but is in mostly good condition.

The statement explained: “Finally, after so much searching and investigation, we have Paul’s Lost Bass back with him. Can you imagine how excited Paul was when he heard the news!

“The bass is complete and still with its original case. It will need some repairs to make it playable again, but a team of professionals can easily carry these out.”

The message explained the searchers had uncovered information about the theft, discovering the identity of the person who had stolen the guitar and then sold it to a pub landlord.

The instrument’s journey was then traced over the years until finally “someone living in a terraced house on the south coast of England” remembered they had an old bass guitar stored in their attic and realised its significance.

The statement added: “They got this out and realised just what they had. Within days it was back with Paul McCartney!”

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