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Left handers playing right hand?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MCB97, Jun 3, 2020.


  1. MCB97

    MCB97

    Dec 21, 2018
    Hello everyone,
    I'm at this point in my playing where I say I'm "intermediate" but I'm struggling with playing anything quick. I loose coordination and mess up. Thinking back I started learning on a right hand bass even though I'm left-handed because the guy in the guitar shop said I would be extremely limited when it came to choosing my first bass and so on.
    It got me thinking if I learnt left handed maybe I would have progressed quicker and not get as muddled up.
    Anyone have any advice or a lefty themselves who play right hand and maybe I'm just not practicing enough?
     
  2. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    As a natural right-hander I have no personal experience with this problem, but I can say that it seems impossible for me to imagine plucking or picking with my left hand and fretting with my right. I could try to learn to catch a baseball with a glove on my right hand and throw with my left, and maybe I could eventually do it fairly well, but I feel sure I'd never be able to master it.

    It is true that your choices in lefty basses will be more limited, but IMO that is far less important than playing in whatever way feels more natural and allows you to continue to improve. It is certainly worth trying a lefty bass to see if it feels more natural and, if so, I suspect that all the work you've put into playing righty will transfer more easily and quickly than you might expect.
     
  3. Papageno

    Papageno

    Nov 16, 2015
    France
    There are many threads on this issue, so if you search a bit you will find lot information.

    I am left handed and play bass right handed. There are pros and cons to it, which I think you already know. There are a number of things I am completely unable to do with my right hand, light slapping, tapping, or playing with a pick. Also, on the double bass, my playing with the bow sucks quite a bit. But for finger style playing, I'm doing fine. On the other side of it, I think I have some ease and fluidity with my fretting hand (left), which maybe I would not have if I would be right handed.
    For me, playing right handed is the best option, but that is a very personal thing, and no one can decide better than you for yourself.
     
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  4. MCB97

    MCB97

    Dec 21, 2018
    The Baseball anela
    I agree, I feel like I would unlock more playing left but it might take years to get to the level I'm at now. Think it's something I'm going to have to take the plunge and set my mind to.
     
  5. MCB97

    MCB97

    Dec 21, 2018
    I am at basically having the same problems. Left hand on the fret board is relatively easy but my right hand get so confused especially when it coke to slapping. I've been trying to slap bass for years now and I'm still struggling with can't stop rhcp which is a beginner slap song. Its Its interesting as playing bass, double bass and guitar is an ambidextrous thing as you us both hands anyway like a piano but using your dominant hand to pay the rhythm must have more effect than I thought.
     
  6. Elusive1

    Elusive1

    Jun 21, 2018
    Singapore
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  7. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I can't speak from experience, but I have a strong hunch that it will be easier than you think. Remember, you'll be starting with all those years of knowledge and experience in your head. The notes on the neck are all in the same place, so it shouldn't take long to adjust to them being on the other side of you. And, learning to fret and pluck with the opposite hands should come much more naturally than the way you first learned it. It's not going to happen overnight, but I doubt it will take years. I'm guessing more like weeks.

    Anyway, good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes!
     
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  8. CBGBassEffects

    CBGBassEffects

    Jun 7, 2020
    USA

    This is my first post in this forum.

    I'm a lefty, but I'm an odd duck when it comes to lefties (perhaps juts an odd duck in general?). I write left handed, bat and catch left handed, but most everything else I do right handed. I said that, because I'm not sure if my experience will quite match yours.

    I started playing guitar (not bass) at 17 (now in my late 30's), and just like you, the guy at music store told me I'd have an easier time if I started right handed. So.... I did.

    Just like you are describing, I felt like I was never really any good, and at times, just like you, I would feel that maybe I would be better if I played left handed. I tried left handed for a bit, and never felt like it helped.

    I ended up going back to right handed, and fell out of music as a hobby entirely until I got into cigar box guitars (right handed).

    I finally found something that I'm good at and get a lot of pleasure out of. I ended up learning a lot of blues shuffles and am able to get around pretty good (provided I'm in the key of G) with a 3 string CBG. I honestly think that reducing the number of strings and playing slide on it helped me get the fundamentals of music itself down on a rudimentary instrument. Plus Shane Speal's CBG instructional videos helped a lot.

    Last Christmas, after wanting one for years, my wife almost forced me to get a bass at a pawn shop. I have not-so-secretly worshipped bass players since my teens, and tried it before, but was never any good at it.

    Perhaps it's because I got the fundamentals down on a simpler instrument, but I feel adequate, and even somewhat "Good" on bass. I can play a lot of Pixies songs without any trouble. I knew I was getting there when I could play "Sunshine Of Your Love" along with the recording. I know, simple as heck for most folks, but compared to where I was at before I started on CBG, this is leaps and bounds above.

    I might go back to 6 string eventually, but playing the 4-string bass is too damn fun to even bother.

    So in short, I ended up going to a simpler instrument, to get the basics of music itself down before going to anything else. Not sure if it will help you, but thought I would throw in my 2 cents since I had a similar experience as you.
     
    MCB97 likes this.
  9. MCB97

    MCB97

    Dec 21, 2018
    Hi everyone! I've decided to give it a go and try out left handed. I've ordered a S lefty 60s P Bass Jamerson style as I wanted something lower priced but not so cheap it's hard to play and put me off. I'll let everyone know in a few weeks time if it was worth it. Thanks for your opinions they really helped me through the thought process.
     
  10. BillyCWalrus

    BillyCWalrus

    Jun 9, 2020
    This is interesting. I am a lefty with 6 basses—all left handed. I read an article recently (maybe it was a YouTube video) that stated that, for a lefty, the hard part isn’t fretting. The hard part is the rhythm hand (a lefty’s left hand). It is harder to pick (pluck, thumb, strum, whatever) than to fret. This is why left handlers are more naturally coordinated to use their left hand to pick and right handlers use the right. A music store employee told me the same thing years ago. They just want to sell me a bass. Lefties have always been cursed with lack of selection. That is why I search a lot before I buy. Only a couple of mine are higher end but they are worth well below 2000. Most of mine are under 1000, and I did order from Thomann a couple times. I’m very pleased with their selection of lefties. The hard part is the stress of waiting for it to arrive (3 to 4 weeks) in one piece. So far it has worked out every time. They’ve arrived in perfect condition.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  11. Samatza

    Samatza

    Apr 15, 2019
    Australia
    I’m totally left handed but since I started playing bass at 13 and it was hard to find a lefty I started learning to play righty.

    I can’t say I found it difficult because I didn’t really think of it as a limitation, I just accepted that that’s how it was.

    I’m sure that if I started lefty it would have been the same, changing over however would be difficult for me.
     
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  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    I'm 55. When I was young, I started guitar (and later bass) right handed, both for more access to instruments, and because my dominant hand would be doing the more intricate work. Nothing wrong with your choice.
     
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  13. BillyCWalrus

    BillyCWalrus

    Jun 9, 2020
    Yes, sorry I didn't see this before I posted my opinion. I basically said the same thing. The hand that requires the most skill and timing would be the rhythm hand, left for lefties and right for righties...normally anyhow. Lord knows there's always exceptions.
     
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  14. Elusive1

    Elusive1

    Jun 21, 2018
    Singapore
    No worries, dude, always glad to meet people with the same mindset
     
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  15. rufus.K

    rufus.K Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2015
    SoCal
    Play lefty.
     
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  16. opivy3056

    opivy3056 stardust in a light beam Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    San Diego
    I started playing cello when I was 8 and they didn't let me play left handed (I guess thats a thing?). It kinda stuck I guess!

    I will say my left hand is a lot more dextrous but my right hand is generally stronger so it all works out alright.
     
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  17. Papageno

    Papageno

    Nov 16, 2015
    France
    Yes, that's a thing with classical string instruments. They build up musicians for orchestra. It's a rather conservative community and I have never seen an orchestra accepting lefties. One must admit that having a few lefties in the orchestra would look weird, and cause difficulties on a crowded stage.
    It would be interesting to know the proportion of lefties playing right handed in orchestra, and whether the obligation of playing right handed makes them less successful on their instrument. I have no idea about the outcome.
     
    MCB97 likes this.
  18. factory presets

    factory presets

    Mar 3, 2020
    You made your choice and good luck with it. I'm a lefty playing RH. Been that way for years. I wouldn't tell Jimi Hendrix to switch and I wouldn't tell you, either. What I would say is switching wont be a magic bullet.

    If you are having trouble getting your slap together, you might want to treat slapping as a new instrument. Transferring your pick or finger techniques is probably making you try to slap at a level more advanced than you have the basics in place to pull off. If that makes sense. No one likes to hear it, but you need to drill your basics to make any progress.

    I started slapping after a couple of years playing and it sounded good playing what came naturally. But it quickly got to a point I couldn't get any better. Finally broke through the barrier when I heard about Victor Wooten and up and down stroke slapping. I knew I'd have to learn that from basics. So l practiced thumping scales.

    By doing exactly the same technique over and over I made progress very quickly. By playing slowly i could clearly hear what needed fixing and work on it. Because I wasn't copying songs there was no pressure to play up to any speed. And, same as every technique, the click work was making me tight as a duck's dumper.

    It doesn't matter which way you hold your bass. The way forward with slapping will be exactly the same. The only problem comes from trying to slap strung upside down. Never seen that done convincingly.
     
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  19. CBGBassEffects

    CBGBassEffects

    Jun 7, 2020
    USA
    So ....... I was thinking about this the other day, and I think that I may have come up with the definitive solution to whether one should play right or left handed.

    The question is.... before you ever played bass (or guitar, whatever...) and you were going to play air bass (or guitar whatever.....) which way would you play the air "Instrument." If you played it righty, you should be playing righty, if you played it left, lefty.....

    Okay, maybe it's not a definitive solution, but perhaps it's at least a guide. :)

    Anyway, you could just end up like MAB and do both.... at the same time!

    Not sure how it would fit in musically, but I would respect the hell out of anyone that played a bass version of MAB's dual handed guitar.


    https://2loud2oldmusicdotcom.files...._double_guitar-e1374851451837.jpg?w=568&h=354
     
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  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I have photos of myself playing air bass when I was in Desert Storm. Friends commented that I was naturally playing BASS, because I was plucking not picking, & I held my arm out farther than everyone else, LMAO!
    I am naturally lefty, but was also air-bassing righty, although to be fair I'm more than mildly ambidextrous. I can do many things with both hands, with a few exceptions, like writing.

    Just last week I sold a guitar at the nearest pawn-shop & the guy was shocked when I signed my name lefty, & started looking at the instrument to make sure he hadn't just mistakenly bought a lefty, LOL!
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Mar 1, 2021

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