Are there left handed upright basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jj.833, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. I'm right handed.

    14 vote(s)
  2. I'm left handed and play left handed double bass.

    2 vote(s)
  3. I'm left handed and play right handed double bass.

    13 vote(s)
  1. Hi,
    I was surprised by a colleague who teaches classical guitar, who said that she recommends to use right handed guitars for left handed people. She argumented that most of the students start very early, typically at 5-6, when the kid's brain is not yet too dependent on the strict left-right hand division as we adults are. I don't know whether this is good thinking, but it started me thinking.
    I've seen left handed guitars, bass guitars, drums. I haven't seen left handed piano or left handed trumpet or left handed violin. I also haven't seen left handed double bass.

    Are you using or do you know someone who uses left handed double bass?

    Are you left handed and play right handed double bass? When learning, did you experience some problems that you would attribute to the left/right issue?

    I'm right handed myself, I'm just curious what to do in case a left handed student turns up. Thanks a lot and stay safe!
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    There is a player here in St.Louis who has one. Shops like Upton offer left handed models. That said the issue has always been that Orchestral bassists generally play right handed. I myself am somewhat ambidextrous and playing right handed isn’t as much of an issue on a double bass. Just my take however.
    jj.833 likes this.
  3. buckthorn


    Jun 21, 2013
    Black Earth, WI
    I'm left-handed, and have been playing bass right-handed for several decades, starting at 16. It's never been a problem for me.
    jj.833 likes this.
  4. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Truth to tell, it's always seemed to me that left handed players would progress faster by using their dominant hand for fretting. Seems to me that playing "right handed" would be the PREFERABLE orientation for left handed players.
    jj.833 and M0ses like this.
  5. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I wanted to learn a new skill during quarantine so I bought one of the Thompson hybrids:

    It really seems like quite a nice bass for the price, it's well constructed and has a lively response. The only thing not perfect is the finish honestly. I've been drilling scales every day for months and starting to get the hang of it, maybe, but my pizzicato is still kinda weak.

    Oh, yeah, and I'm a lefty, the bass is a lefty, they are in fact made left handed at no extra charge, however Steve did tell me I bought the last one in the warehouse so who knows when he will restock them!

    I never tried to learn to play a right handed bass, except occasionally flipping a friend's electric upside down. Before I bought my first EB I tried to learn a little right handed guitar and found it super uncomfortable and struggled to make any progress.
    jj.833 and Fretless55 like this.
  6. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    One of the best ways to improve both your pizzicato and left hand is to get a reasonably priced brazil wood bow and starting to play arco.
    Fretless55 likes this.
  7. Frits


    Sep 21, 2007
    Belgium (Europe)
    There are more lefty upright bass players than you think. I have a list of > 30 lefty double bassists worldwide. Here's my lefty double bass players facebook-group: Facebook Groups
    jj.833 likes this.
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    The only lefty I know personally plays DB right handed and BG left handed. He started out on BG and went to college back when a bass performance major meant DB only. I find it amazing that he can do that. I suspect if handed a right hand BG he could play it fine.
    jj.833 and 16fuss like this.
  9. As mentioned previously by others, there are plenty of folks playing DB left-handed. There are only two reasons that I can think of that would make playing left handed and impediment. 1. The lack of available basses compared to RH players. 2. I have yet to hear of any high level classical soloist or section players that play LH. There may be quite a few doors that need to be kicked open for LH acceptance in those worlds. Hope I'm wrong about this BTW!
    jj.833 and Ric Vice like this.
  10. leftybassatl


    Sep 3, 2012
    I play a lefty upright from Upton. Fantastic bass, but I hope to upgrade with upton soon. I also have an eub from bsx. Lefty eubs are much more common
    jj.833 likes this.
  11. I'm a lefty and have always played both bg and db right-handed. I think it's easier for jam session type of things, both sitting in or when you're the house band bassist and everyone plays your instrument. Also for bass du jour gigs when on the road.
    jj.833 and bassmanbrent like this.
  12. Thanks. Did you ever came to a situation when you thought 'it is so hard, if I only had lefty bass, it would be so much easier, I'll probably have to finish soon'?
  13. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Lefty is all fine and good till your bow crashes into the rest of the section...

    ...lefty playing right handed.

    My first classical guitar lesson was right handed (no option.) My first cello lesson was right handed (no option.) My first EB teacher had me take my first lesson on both right and left handed basses. I couldn't tell a difference (they were both awkward) so he suggested learning right handed. Access to instruments was his primary reason.
    My feeling is do what you want but don't try to justify or convince me that playing double bass left handed is somehow a cause to be championed. If you ask me directly, I will say learn right handed (period.)
    jj.833 likes this.
  14. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    Here’s a 5 string lefty Pöllmann at Upton. Reasonably priced at $16000.
  15. Thanks everyone for your input! Interesting arguments on both sides. Please keep them coming.
  16. Persona87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    How many people play left handed trombones? Or left handed pianos? Left handed saxophones? I would argue that an instrument isn’t inherently “handed”, it’s simply how that instrument is designed. You’re having to learn new skills with both hands anyway, why set yourself up for a lack of instrument availability?

    Not only that, but many classical musicians and musical directors are very conservative with regards to instrumentation and playing style. What if you wanted to play with a classical group one day? They may not discriminate against you for being left handed directly, but uniformity of appearance (including direction of bow stroke) is so important that they will frequently mark which direction the bow is supposed to go (push vs pull, which would be reversed in a lefty bass). They would probably pick a right handed over a lefty if they were in the same ballpark skill-wise.
    shepdave and RBrownBass like this.
  17. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Just play facing away from the conductor, and kill two birds with one stone. ;)
    nbsipics and M0ses like this.
  18. CaseyVancouver


    Nov 4, 2012
    That’s for sure
  19. Nah. If something's hard, I just always figured I need to practice more :D A friend of mine plays left-handed upright, I've tried his instrument a couple times and it's so weird, I feel like I can't do anything on the instrument. He, on the other hand, can just take my right-handed bass and play it the "other way around", with the strings in reverse order.

    When I started playing BG, I just figured I'll go with the right-handed instruments as there are more options to choose from. By the time I went into double bass (which was a lot later), I didn't even think about the option..
  20. Chubby Fingers

    Chubby Fingers

    Jun 23, 2020
    Couldn't you just get that chin rest swapped over?:D

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