Left handed but play right handed

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mathewjg, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. mathewjg


    Dec 26, 2009
    I am left handed -When I first started to play I decided it was going to be difficult to play bass guitar left or right handed so went right handed and have stayed that way ever since. A friend didn't realise that I was left handed and when he saw me writing the set list with my left hand he told me of about four people in our circle who all do the same - they play bass right handed but they are left handed. That seems a very high incidence. In theory our left hand should be more nimble for running up and down the neck and right hand weaker - I tend to just use my thumb and do not manage that well using my right hand fingers for very long
    Are there many others on this forum who are doing the same? I wonder if its just a bass guitar thing although I do also strum guitar right handed.
    mb94952 and Wyo Bass Junkie like this.
  2. I'm in the same boat. Growing up with older, right-handed siblings, I just emulated them. Playing a bass or guitar, swinging a baseball bat, golf, hockey, you name it... I do it right handed. On the bright side, there's never a need to go searching for lefty gear ;)
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  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    I am primarily left handed, but I play right handed. I learned that way because that's the instruments that were available. And, having been around music and musical instruments all my life, it is the way I had seen every stringed instrument played.
    @mathewjg mentioned the left hand being stronger. That will be more or less true depending on the individual.
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  4. tedious1


    Feb 14, 2014
    There's a club for that here.

    Check my signature...
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  5. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Decades ago (before there was a Bass Player Magazine), Guitar Player did an article on left-handed players. I believe George Van Epps (check him out if you don't know his playing) and Glen Campbell were two LH people who played RH. Campbell said it was the smartest thing he'd done because he could grab any guitar and pla y it instead of having to get a lefty. That allowed him to grab a guitar and copy when he saw someone playing something at a jam session or in a music store.
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  6. Linnin


    Jul 19, 2012
    Linningrad, Earth
    No. Started righty in 1970 buy switched to lefty in 1976 with the arrival of my new left handed Fender Precision. Much better.

    If it were true that the dominant hand should be used for fretting then all the right handed people would be playing left handed instruments. It just isn't so.
  7. howlin


    Nov 15, 2008
    I'm Not There
    As a lefty playing righty and hearing your comment about not managing to use your fingers I'd have to say that you made a BIG mistake in playing RH. I'm not saying that to put you down but know from first hand experience just how hard it is. The biggest reason I don't slap is lack of right hand facility. Right now I'm learning to use a pick as much as possible to adapt to the effects of aging but am starting to resign myself to the possibility that I'll never be as good as I am with my fingers due to a lack of facility. Unfortunately, my fingers are starting to fade due to trigger finger in the index & middle fingers.

    A lot of people get it wrong and think that the majority of effort is with the fretting hand but if you don't have a strong & facile plucking hand [no matter how you approach it] you'll most likely fall short in some capacity or another. I think it's even more of a problem for bass players than people might suspect. Of course, practice can overcome a lot of this but, in the end, bass players usually have to cater the to needs of others whereas guitar players can use their "quirkiness" [i.e.- lack of facility] as an element of their style in some way or another, especially if they are the show. All that plus the physicality of just playing a bass of any kind and I think we run the danger of more problems than we could have anticipated.

    As per the Glen Campbell reference: I always thought that one "advantage" of playing a lefty is the lack of options as it takes us pretty out of the GAS realm due to a lack of choices. In other words: With less choices we might have focused more on playing the instrument than on new & shiny options. It's just a thought . . . ;)
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  8. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Same here; my childhood left-handed batting stance actually led me to playing bass in right hand position. It made more sense to me as my left hand, of course, was better suited to be my fretting hand, it just felt natural. Although l know there are notable bassists out there in the same boat, I can’t recall them; Robert Fripp is a write lefty/play righty guitarist. Here’s some trivia for you—-Jimi Hendrix, one of the great lefty guitar icons, wrote right-handed.
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  9. howlin


    Nov 15, 2008
    I'm Not There
    I really don't get what the connection between batting and bass playing is here but so be it.

    BTW, here's a web site for lefty guitar players.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I write and throw left handed. Everything else is right handed....including bass, scissors, batting, etc.
  11. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    It’s quite simple; when one is batting lefty, the grip is such that the left hand is over the right, guiding the aim and providing the power(the right hand at the flared end for stabilization). Right leg placed a little forward. If you exchange the bat for an instrument neck, you’re spreading your hands apart so that your left would go, well, to the left, toward the nut(or crown of the ‘bat’, continuing with the analogy), right/plucking/picking hand down to the bottom of the grip position. I still stand with my right leg a bit forward, to ‘lift’ the bass or guitar body foreword, tilted up a bit. That’s my orientation, which turns out to be playing righty. I eat left, scissor right, it’s whatever feels correct.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
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  12. 12BitSlab

    12BitSlab Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2016
    Liberty Township
    I started playing bass in 1967. There was no way on God's Earth that I could afford a lefty bass, so I played right handed. Been that way ever since.
  13. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    He said specifically that whenever he was watching another guitarist, like at a store, studio, etc. he could grab any guitar and work out immediately what he was hearing/seeing. Plus he didn't have to pay 10-20% more...
  14. Solude


    Sep 16, 2017
    Lefty here that has always played right handed whether drums, guitar or bass. I'm sure there is a reason the dominant hand is used for plucking but at the end of the day you need two good hands to get anything done so... meh.
  15. delta7fred


    Jul 3, 2007
    I'm another lefty who plays bass (& guitar) right handed.

    When I started learning in 1967 (as a totally unobservant teenager) I didn't even realise there was such a thing as left handed instruments.

    Play which way you like (but expect the lefty fundamentalists to reprimand you for not learning lefty :laugh:).
  16. brownie_bass

    brownie_bass [this space for sale, cheap]

    Oct 3, 2013
    New York, NY
    Handedness is complicated... It’s very hard to separate what is learned from what is innate. I write right-handed, play sports left-handed, snowboard goofy, and play string instruments right-handed. Generally my left-side muscles feel stronger, but for some tasks they feel clumsy and for others they feel dexterous.

    Which is my “natural” hand? At this point I couldn’t even begin to disentangle nature from nurture. All I know is that my bass feels right when my left hand is on the neck and wrong the other way. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  17. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    I'm the opposite, I am right handed but I play left handed.
  18. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Handedness, like a lot of other things, can be thought of as on a spectrum.
    There are people who are almost useless using their non-dominant hand, but most are technically some degree of ambidextrous.
    That's the difference between left dominant people who do well playing righty and those who would be better off with a left handed instrument.
    My first mentor was a lefty who played right, but he also had been forced to write right handed as a child. Did everything else lefty.
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  19. SJan3


    Dec 8, 2010
    I'm a lefty but play righty.
    I also throw lefty, kick lefty, bat righty, golf righty, shoot a pistol lefty but shoot a rifle righty. Eat lefty, box lefty... When I was a kid, I wanted to play lefty but my teacher turned me around. To this day, I wonder what could have been.
    My advice is, go with what feels most natural to you! Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.
    So what if you have less instrument choices. You only need one. And I'd gladly pay more for the instrument that would help maximize my musicianship.
  20. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    The reason stringed instruments are played with the dominate hand doing the plucking is a hold over from bowed instruments. Bowing takes more manual dexterity than fingering.
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