Paul McCartney’s Yamaha BB-1200 Becomes Most Expensive Bass Ever Sold At Auction

Paul McCartney Van Eaton Bio

Van Eaton Galleries recently completed an auction to benefit Music Rising, an organization that helps musicians and students by providing instruments in the aftermath of natural disasters. The auction, called “Guitar Icons,” featured guitars, basses, amps, and more to raise a total of over $2,000,000 dollars.

Nearly a quarter of that figure came from the sale of one bass: Paul McCartney’s tour and studio-played Yamaha BB-1200. McCartney’s “Wings” bass sold for a whopping $496,100 to become the most expensive bass to ever be sold at auction. The record was previously held by Bill Wyman’s 1969 Fender Mustang that garnered $384,000 last year.

Paul McCartney "Wings" Bass

Although McCartney is mostly associated with his Hofner and Rickenbacker basses, the Yamaha was his main axe in the late 1970s with Wings and his solo albums McCartney II and Tug of War.

“Constructed of maple, alder, and mahogany with an ebony fingerboard featuring inlaid mother of pearl fret markers, the BB-1200 features a neck-through design for extra sustain and P-style split pickups,” the description reads. “Prized for its consistency of tone and playability, the Yamaha bass was used prominently on Wings final studio album, ‘Back to the Egg’ (1979).”

Other basses in the lot included U2 bassist Adam Clayton’s tour-played Fender Precision, Lou Reed’s blue Sadowsky bass, Win Butler’s prop bass, and a signed Fender signature bass from Flea. Final prices were not available for all the pieces, though Clayton’s bass raised $78,650.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Mark

    Curious to know if any of you out there have played this type of bass guitar before? I’ve never actually seen one “out in the wild“.