Paul McCartney‘s famed Yamaha BB-1200 bass guitar — used during his legendary run in Wings — has been sold at auction for a whopping $471,000. The sale, which benefited Music Rising, took the charity, “back to its roots and will help restore the livelihood of musicians of New Orleans and surrounding regions who have suffered through the pandemic.” All told the instruments donated by the likes of McCartney, Eddie Vedder, and The Edge raised over $2 million for Music Rising.
The sale of “Macca’s” Yamaha shattered the record for a bass, which was previously held by Bill Wyman‘s 1969 Fender Mustang bass with a competition orange finish, which was a mainstay of the Rolling Stones‘ concerts and recording sessions in 1969 and 1970, and sold in 2020 for $384,000.
Other musicians that donated instruments to the cause included Ron Wood, Paul Stanley, Joan Jett, Lenny Kravitz, Flea, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Noel Gallagher, among others. Guitar.com reported: “Eddie Vedder’s Telecaster broke the record for the most paid for a smashed guitar at auction. It sold for an undisclosed amount.”
McCartney’s auburn bass is synonymous with the final days of Wings and was played on such hits as “Goodnight Tonight,” “Coming Up,” “Ebony And Ivory,” “Take It Away,” and featured on 1979’s Back To The Egg, 1980’s McCartney II, 1982’s Tug Of War, 1983’s Pipes Of Peace, 1984’s Give My Regards To Broad Street, and 1986’s Press To Play.
The Edge said in a statement: “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. 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. We thank you.”
Geddy Lee, who remains one of the greatest musicians of any genre, spoke about the brilliance and importance of Paul McCartney as a bassist: “Paul McCartney, I was a huge fan of his basslines. And some of the Beatles’ basslines are really inventive. Really unusual — and quite busy. And they really change the song with what they’re doing. So, I was always drawn to bass players that had a sound that was different from your typical ‘vroomy’ bass sound, and I was always drawn to guys that wrote interesting melodies. I mean, what made Paul McCartney and (Yes’) Chris Squire such great bass players is they write melodies — rather than just play a cyclical, kind of, moronic part that just hold down the bottom end.”