Paul McCartney’s Guitar Holds the Record for the Most Expensive Bass in the World

Paul McCartney’s guitar recently broke a record for the most expensive bass, but the iconic member of The Beatles was not the original owner of the priciest instrument in the world. Here’s how much The Fab Four star’s bass guitar sold for and who holds the record for the most expensive instrument. 

Paul McCartney plays the guitar on stage.
Paul McCartney | Jim Dyson/WireImage

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney gets emotionally attached to his guitars

Paul McCartney is a legendary musician who can play over 40 instruments, including the bass guitar, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, and piano. He is quite attached to his guitars, even humanizing them at times. 

According to Goodreads, McCartney once said, “Music is like a psychiatrist. You can tell your guitar things that you can’t tell people. And it will answer you with things people can’t tell you.”

He’s not the only member of the band with the habit of personifying his instruments. His fellow Beatle George Harrison gave his guitar human traits in the song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

The famous track includes the lyrics: “I look at the world/And I notice it’s turning/While my guitar gently weeps/With every mistake/We must surely be learning/Still my guitar gently weeps.”

Paul McCartney’s bass guitar sold for nearly half a million dollars

The “Yesterday” singer’s instrument recently broke the record for the most expensive bass guitar. NME reported in December 2021 that a bass played by Paul McCartney was sold at auction for $496,100, beating the previous record of $384,000, held by The Rolling Stones Bill Wyman’s 1969 Fender Mustang bass. 

McCartney’s instrument was a Yamaha BB-1200 bass guitar, which The Beatles star used in the studio and on tour with his band Wings. 

The auction was put together by producer Bob Ezrin and U2’s The Edge, and the proceeds benefit Music Rising charity. The funds will go to musicians in the Gulf South who were impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The event raised over $2 million, thanks to instrument donations from McCartney and other musicians, including U2, Elton John, Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, and more. 

The fundraiser marked another record-breaking sale. Eddie Vedder’s Lake Placid Blue Fender Telecaster, which the Pearl Jam member destroyed during a gig, sold for $266,200, making it the most expensive smashed guitar ever sold at auction.

The Beatles star was not the original owner of the world’s most expensive instrument

Although Paul McCartney’s bass guitar sold for nearly half a million dollars at auction, it is nowhere near the most expensive instrument in the world. 

According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive guitar sold at auction is the instrument Kurt Cobain played for MTV Unplugged. Cobain used the modified, left-handed 1959 Martin D-18E to play a famous cover of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” 

The Australian owner of Rode Microphones, Peter Freedman, paid $6,010,000 for the instrument at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, California, in June 2020. Freedman plans to exhibit the guitar on a world tour.

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