It wasn`t really an accident that Paul become a bass player. By the end of June `61, Stu Sutcliffe finally decided to quit the band and a quick substitution was needed. His reoccurring absences resulted in Paul taking over the bass. Because Stu`s bass guitar was a righty, Paul had to find a suitable instrument for a lefty player like himself. In Hamburg`s Steinway Music Shop, he bought a Höfner 500/1 Violin bass.
There are several "versions" about the origin of that guitar. One thing is true, Paul`s lefty guitar was probably one of the first lefthanded bass guitars ever produced by the company. This instrument was in use until the year `63. While taping the programme Ready Steady Go!, we see Paul holding a brand new Höfner 500/1 with a set of two H511B-"staple" pickups in his hands.
That guitar became his preferred instrument during the "touring era." The overall sound of the Höfner bass is rich and round with a sort of a mid-bass tone. Even if it`s played in higher positions on the fretboard, the sound stays heavy and round. The only disadvantage that might be mentioned, is its overall fragility. A short scale neck improves playability, but the purchased strings must be shortened.