Paul McCartney’s bass breaks world record at auction

The instrument was used in the studio and on the road with Wings.

A guitar played by Paul McCartney was sold at auction over the weekend, breaking the world record for the most expensive bass in the process.

The Yamaha BB-1200 bass guitar, which McCartney used in the studio and on tour with Wings, sold for $496,100 (£374,905), beating the previous record of $384,000 (£290,190) set by The Rolling Stones‘ Bill Wyman’s 1969 Fender Mustang bass in 2020.

The auction was organised by U2’s The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin for their Music Rising charity “to benefit musicians in the Gulf South,” following “the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on musicians and musical communities”.


The likes of U2, Elton John, Pearl Jam, Rush, Tom Morello, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Kings Of Leon, Johnny Marr, Green Day, Radiohead and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler also donated instruments to the auction which raised over $2million (£1.5million).

McCartney’s bass wasn’t the only record breaker of the evening either with Eddie Vedder’s Lake Placid Blue Fender Telecaster, which the musician had destroyed while playing a gig, selling for $266,200 (£201,168) making it the most expensive smashed guitar ever sold at auction.

Speaking about the event, The Edge said: “We want to thank everyone involved in this amazing auction including the artists who generously gave their personal instruments and the bidders from around the globe who helped us break world records.

“The proceeds Music Rising earned will help bring live music back to life in a part of the country whose musical culture has been hugely influential in the world,” he continued. “We are indebted to all of the supporters of Music Rising who have given us a great opportunity to return to our roots and help those musicians in need.”


Ezrin added: “We are so thankful to all of the artists, supporters and bidders who helped make Guitar Icons an auction for the history books. New Orleans musicians are the custodians of a unique music heritage, passing it down through the generations and influencing so many genres of music we enjoy.

“The proceeds from this auction will help musicians from the region who suffered financially through this pandemic.”

The news follows a selection of guitars used by The Edge, Amy Winehouse, Eric Clapton and others selling for a total of over $5million at a different auction recently.

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