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Any advice for a lefty considering switching from right to left-handed bass?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by snicks021, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. snicks021


    Feb 3, 2014
    I was reading the lefty-playing righty thread, because I'm having a bit of a dilemma at the moment about whether to try and switch to a left-handed bass.

    I'm about as left-handed as you come - draw, throw, everything, and my air-guitar pose is still left-handed.

    When I started out about 8 months ago I figured playing lefty would make things more difficult, and given I can play piano I thought it'd make no difference.

    However if someone plays music I naturally tap out the beat with my left hand, and it 'connects' with how I feel the music. If I do it with my right hand I can still do it, but it just doesn't feel the same. When I started I figured it'd come with time, and I feel like I've given it a decent go.

    Whilst I'm generally happy with how I play, there are a couple of things I've found that have made me consider trying the other way round. For instance when I started trying to learn to slap bass (for curiosity sake more than anything else...) I found it really really tough, but when I turned the bass around I could slap with my left hand straight away… Also in the faster passages, I can get the timing spot on on the fingerboard, but can't quite get the accuracy with the right hand.

    I know a lot of the answer to this is…. practice more! And I am...

    However I've spent decades building up the music part of my brain…the bit that feels the rhythm in your entire chest and body, that just goes "YEAHHH" when you hit the timing spot on, and I'd quite like to be able to connect to that when I play! I get that straight away when I use my left hand, but not with my right….

    Has anyone else had a similar experience?
  2. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Yeah its funny most bassist spend the majority of their time working on their left hand(fretting) technique but the right hand (plucking/slapping/tapping) is where its all at. I cant tell you the # of bassist who didnt even know they werent alternating fingers continuously as they crossed strings and was the cause for messing up fast passages...they never even paid much attention to it. I would suggest you switch to realize your full potential because as it stands you have one hand that is overqualified for the job and one that is under qualified instead of matching your most natural/proficient hand for plucking/muting open strings etc.
  3. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    All I can suggest is that you try it.
    You could restring your bass lefty or buy an inexpensive one, such as an SX or Squire, and if it becomes much easier for you to play and make progress you will know.
  4. Precision101


    Sep 22, 2013
    To me, I just realized I did everything lefty and I was willing to learn to play the bass upside down. It was just natural to me.
  5. snicks021


    Feb 3, 2014
    Thanks for the replies!
    Have invested in an entry level lefty guitar and will give it a few months (tried turning my jazz bass upside down, literally everything got in the way...)
  6. Technicality


    Feb 10, 2011
    I am a lefty who is happy playing right, and I didn't experience trouble in the way you describe (my air guitar pose was left, but now can go either way, and I tend to tap out beats with both hands). Sounds like you might be one of those people who might get a lot of benefit from playing left.
  7. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    I would play right because you have way more options when bass shopping. Leftys always get left out when it comes to guitars and basses. Also playing lefty you risk bashing headstocks with your right handed guitarist on stage. If it helps you to play lefty by all means go for it. Another benefit to playing lefty would be no one would ask to play your bass since its lefty!
  8. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    I do believe there is a more natural side when it comes to play music just like in sports!!!

    Give a shot on the left-side, YOU HAVE TO! :D

    I'm a right-hand guy that plays lefty, well kind of: There is some problems in the patch-bay of my brain :p
  9. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    Therein lies your answer.

    Your left hand is dominant on bass. Therefore you need to concentrate on what your left hand is doing. Your left hand is fretting while your right hand is plucking.

    Whichever of these things is more important to you - fretting or plucking - you need to decide for yourself, as a bass player.
  10. snicks021


    Feb 3, 2014
    Thanks all!

    hbarcat - I think my preference is to aspire to being able to knock out a really solid 12-bar bassline with feel rather than Jaco Pastorius style riffs. I suppose the latter does technically require both left and right hand amazingness but the former I think prioritises the dominant hand to be the plucking one.

    I've found myself a lefty bass and will see where I am in a couple of months!
  11. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Great. Good luck