Lefties playing Right?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by instrumentalist, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. I am left handed. I eat soup left, write left, draw left... well you get the picture. But I play bass the way most people do: righthanded, with the neck pointing to my left. Do any other lefties do this?

    So why did I decide to play bass righthanded? Essentially, I wanted to reuse my viola chops. I've played righthanded viola for many years, and always was a better plucker than most of my peer violists. Better timing, more variation in sound-colour, easier chord-playing, and loud if needed. On the other hand, I always felt my bowed playing did not rise above average.

    So when I started bass, my viola plucking hand (right) was pushed into service on a new instrument. Has it worked out? Quite well.

    (By the way, why did I play viola righthanded? Because everybody does. In a string orchestra you get terribly in each other's way if you don't all bow in the same direction.)

    So ye lefties, what do you do and why?
  2. Dan_reeves


    Jun 14, 2013
    I am this way also - I think there is a club around her for lefties playing righty. For me, I never even considered playing lefty. All of the guitars around me growing up were righties, so I just assumed that is what I’d do too. Also righty gear is way more available so that goes into it too. I don’t think it has effected my learning in any way, but that’s just me.
  3. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Not me, but, my old guitarist plays righty and is left handed. He's a phenomenal player, but says he's a little limited in how he uses his picking/strumming hand. But, you'd never know it.
  4. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    I'm lefty, playing righty. When I started guitar, I had never even heard of playing left-handed. I'm glad I play righty, because I can pick up any bass or guitar and play it. Also, I'm not limited to what I can purchase. My batting and golf swings are also righty. Picked that up as a kid because everyone I knew did these things right-handed. I also use a computer mouse right-handed.

    When you think of it, almost all musical instruments other than some string instruments and drums are not able to be re-configured for left-hand use. How many left-handed people play brass and woodwind instruments? They seem to be able to function.
  5. Capt O Flaherty

    Capt O Flaherty Inactive

    Apr 21, 2018
    You folks are most impressive then, I'm right handed and am useless if I try to do things left handed!
    Used to be in a band with a lefty guitarist and tried his, admittedly 6 string guitar, with about as much success as a chimp, or worse!
    I work with a lefty friend in construction type stuff, and it's very useful having a lefty and a righty on the crew, some things in tight corners are easier for a lefty, or vice versa...every team should have one!
    AztecViking likes this.
  6. Thanks for the compliment. How do you cut your right fingernails?
  7. Capt O Flaherty

    Capt O Flaherty Inactive

    Apr 21, 2018
    Well now I'm glad you asked, being 'Oirish' I thought of using the old workshop grinding machine, but it does make a terrible racket, so I settled for these....
    instrumentalist likes this.
  8. If they cannot be reconfigured, they could certainly be newly made mirrored. It seldom happens, does it? So you're right, it is no big deal. We pick them up and play them.
  9. By the way, I once met a viola player who played the other way around. Not because he was left handed, but because he had lost part of his left hand in an accident. So he learnt to hold his bow with the remainder of his left hand, switched around, and in a few months played as well as before (i.e. very well).
  10. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I'm hopelessly left handed, I can't even scribble my name righty. I do everything left handed UNLESS it requires special tools. I play stringed instruments righty, and golf righty, because we learn on what we have, and it's a righty world.
    I also think using our dominant hand as the fretting hand is an advantage.
  11. Capt O Flaherty

    Capt O Flaherty Inactive

    Apr 21, 2018
    It may be some folks are very strongly right or left handed, obviously myself and paulabass are among those..Others maybe are a bit more ambidextrous to a greater or lesser extent.
    Must be very useful if you can just switch at will, I injured my right shoulder once when a horse yanked it, I could have done with some left handed skill for a while after that!
  12. I'm left handed, but do a number of strength based activities right handed. I think it's because we couldn't find a left handed baseball glove when I was wee so I just learned right handed, but I could be wrong about that.

    Either way, I don't think I'd be much good playing left handed on any string instrument at this point. Just putting my arms in that position feels weird.
  13. wintremute

    wintremute mediocrity at its finest

    Oct 16, 2014
    Endorsing Artist: Langstrom Carrot Farms
    Or you could do it luke Paul DiLeo, a just flip the bass over and pkay.

    Paul Di Leo
  14. EdwardofHuncote

    EdwardofHuncote I Still Dream of Jeannie

    Aug 21, 2013
    I just read recently, Phil Lesh is left-handed but of course plays bass right-handed.

    I'm right-handed, and can't do much of anything left-handed except shoot a rifle. If that seems weird, there's a perfectly logical reason for it - I'm left-eye (and ear) dominant.
    taylor16 likes this.
  15. Capt O Flaherty

    Capt O Flaherty Inactive

    Apr 21, 2018
    I remember when I was a kid going shooting with my father and some of his cronies, they used to make these off set stocks, some of which were pretty skewed, for left eyd, right handed, and vice versa... 31a126e7d0a9799a18c73698d8ace542.jpg
    EdwardofHuncote likes this.
  16. thmsjordan


    Jan 10, 2010
    Currently off planet
    Eschew Obfuscation
    I am left handed but I started on classical Double bass and so was trained from the start to play right handed. I have done so ever since. I did put the neck to my right instinctively but was immediately corrected. When you are in a section you ca't have a bow going the opposite direction from the other bows unless you are trying to destroy a bow.
  17. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Bay Area
    I’m lefty playing righty because I bought a strat knock off for $12 when I was 10 and just figured that’s how it was. My son is lefty and plays righty. Evolution.
  18. CRich0205


    Feb 17, 2013
    I’m lefty who plays right. Started with an upside down acoustic and never caught on. Flipped the guitar to right handed and everything got a lot easier.
  19. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    Don't fall into the incorrect assumption that all instruments are "naturally"configured right-handed. Many don't require the same level of dexterity that a guitar or bass does. When this discussion comes up, a common statement is "you don't see left-handed pianos, do you?". No. Nor do I see "right-handed" ones.
    micguy and Peter Rouvalis like this.
  20. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    From a righties point of view.....
    I'm not a lefty. However, my oldest nephew is and he plays guitar right handed. You at least had a jump on things with playing viola right handed so your left hand was more adjusted to a fingerboard. I think, maybe wrongly, that lefties who learn piano at a young age are more able to play a right handed string instrument. Also, have you ever seen a left handed piano? I honestly can't imagine playing left handed, though my right hand can have my middle and ring finger right up against each other and while my left hand has a gap between those two fingers that is hard for me to close up unless my fingers are flat against the fretboard as they should be anyway for bass as opposed to curled for guitar. But getting my left hand to pluck or pic strings would be a nightmare for me.

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