1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)


Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by slumberland, Sep 21, 2002.

  1. slumberland


    Sep 17, 2002
    Puerto Rico

    I'm looking for experience southpaw players who can provide me with reliable information about all the things you have to consider before buying a lefhanded dublebass.( If there's such a thing) I now we are kind of restricted and must of the time we are penalized for somethig that is not in our hands. I really understand the issues about that we are a minority and so on. But at the same time we have the same rightsto play and enjoy music.

    Since I'm a rookie on this matter I will appreciate any solidarity and guidence on this matter.
    Thanks in advance and keep on playing
    P.S Sorry guys but English is not my first language so if you don't undestand any part of the messege feel free to ask as many times you want.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Do you play bass guitar already, or would you be starting from scratch?
  3. I'm a lefty doublebassist and there may be a few others here. There are a lot of issues with lefties that righties will never have to deal with.
    This question has come up before, but I think we could benefit from some more discussion on the issue.
    First, I would recommend trying to play righty, for many reasons. If you play other string instruments and have developed your musical mind and body toward left-handed play, this may be too great an obstacle to overcome.
    If you're looking for a student-level bass that is set-up lefty, you may be out of luck. A good luthier can change one over, but that is a considerable commitment of money.
    Feel free to PM me if you have questions, or better yet, post them here so that others may benefit from the discussion.
  4. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    Know of any 'up there' lefties in the classical world? It would be pretty impractical for a righty and lefty to stand next to each other in the traditional bass line because bows would be crashing into each other when an up bow was required. Is it just standard practice for left handed people to be taught right handed? It's always seemed to me that it would be fairly easy for a left hander to learn a right handed instrument if they were starting from scratch and vice versa.
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I've never seen left-handed versions of pianos, saxophones, trumpets,...
  6. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I've never quite understood why people played (for example) left-handed guitars as the left hand does most of the work in the standard position. Picking up any instrument is clumsy and unnatural enough that it doesn't seem to matter which way you go. Some years ago when I was teaching basic guitar to kids I taught myself to play a bit left handed just to re-aquaint myself with the difficulties of picking up an instrument for the first time. Didn't seem to difficult with a little practice.

    And yet there seems to be some universal principle accross cultures that says you note with the left hand and pick with the right. Either all stringed instruments evolved from the same one, or there's been some kind of cross-cultural convergence, or maybe there really is some handedness to it all.
  7. I'm a die-hard lefty, but when I decided to learn to play, I tried both ways for some time, for the very reasons you mention.

    After a month or so I realized that playing righty was so much harder for me that I abandoned the idea. If I had to start all over again, I guess that I'd make the same choice again. I know---there are LOTS of drawbacks, getting a bass is a PITA, reselling one is unfeasible, I'll never own an antique instrument, I'll never play in an orchestra... ah, well.

    My guess is that there is some handedness to it. Maybe in varying degrees depending on the person, but in my particular case, I'm almost certain there is.

  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Too bad you made the choice that you did.

    Basses can be reconfigured, but what that does to the instrument I don't know. I think that the SchnitzerBach (BallSchnitzer) sorts re-bar the top so that the bass bar is on the other side, etc, etc. Sound pretty ugly to me. There's a guy here in town that is playing an old Chubby Jackson Kay -- but with 4 strings going the other way.
  9. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Ray, Is that Rob Woodcock? If it is I did the conversion on it. Those are some nice plywoods. BTW, I have a lefty customer who plays his bass just strung up backwards. Not recommended I know, but the bass has not had any problems ie. sinkage or other.
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Very well could be, byt his name escapes me right now. Plays French and has really schooled looking hands. Young guy, kinda stocky. Good player.
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
  12. I know, but that was 10+ years ago and now I've kind of made my peace with it. A sublime instrument would be wasted on me anyway, given my habit of abusing my instruments. Financially, way out of reach of a starving musician like me, too :rolleyes:

  13. slumberland


    Sep 17, 2002
    Puerto Rico
    Thank you Will
    The lefthanded piano information was great. aparrently some people still neglecting the right to play lefthanded. I'm a totally leftie, and belive me the first time I took a right handed bass on my hands I knew right away that tha that was not natural for me. I Know that school penalized southpaws musicians for many years , I think that sttuberness comes with the academy and people who are tight to traditon.

    In the Orchestra issue , that some of our friend mention the only thing that I have to say is to make more room and allow the musician to play. Is a matter of vision. I think is time to bring democracy to music. Besides your not gonna left a virtuoso who is left handed outside an orchestra.
    Thanks for the information and will talk later
    Sorry for any written mistakes:D
  14. Celarier


    Sep 5, 2002
    Washington, DC
    Jimmy Hendrix played a right handed guitar that was set up for a right handed player and just reworked all the chord fingerings etc. and played it upside down. but it seems that might not work with a DB because the low string would be to the outside of the body and the extra reach to the outside with the left hand my mean loss of power from the elbow to the finger. But being a Newbie please take what do I know.
  15. Actually, that isn't true. His guitars were right-handed, but he strung them left-handed, so his fingerings were just like a righty, but mirror image.
    It is very easy for a lefty to play the E and A strings on a right-handed bass. It is much harder to reach around the neck to play runs on the D and G strings though. Thumb position on the G string is almost impossible, and painful.
    This was where I found my limitations of playing a normal right-handed bass, and why I decided to switch the bass over to true left-handed play.
  16. Celarier


    Sep 5, 2002
    Washington, DC
    yes, yes you are right on Hendrix. I STAND CORRECTED. I leaped before I looked. There must be some players that actually reverse the fingerings etc. - cause I would have never thought of that on my own. That is for sure.

    I STAND CORRECTED again regarding arm strength etc. Now that I physcially try to do it the E is OK but the fingering on the G seems to cramp my left wrist so I see what you are saying. Is that right? Once again I am new to DB and have lots to learn. Perhaps I should learn a little more before broadcasting. But to me this is an interesting subject.
  17. Plenty of guitarists play this way, from Albert King to Kurt Cobain.
    Now I'm really confused. Re-read my post. I assume you are not left-handed. We were talking about left-handed players. Left-handed players use their right hand to finger notes on the neck.
    Either way, it is easier to finger the string that is further away from your body, especially in the higher positions. Think about it; you do not have to reach around the fingerboard nearly as far.
    Think about it like a guitar and imagine doing fast solo work on the low E and A strings. It is harder because your hand must reach around the neck.
    It really has nothing to do with arm strength, but rather simply a matter of reach.
  18. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    There is no reach, really, if your technique is good. There is the issue of the plucking hand not having a string to land on when playing the bottom string, which is the the high string in the case of 'just standing on the other side of the bass'. This is deal-able, though. The E string slows me down more because of its mass and response time than it's location.
  19. True, but it's a bastardized technique. The reach issue comes into play more past the neck joint, where you need to have your arm 3" longer! It really is quite severe. Try playing a quick 1 1/2 octave scale all the way up on your E string and you'll see what I mean. My teacher noticed it limiting my movement on runs up the G string and suggested either playing righty or reversing the strings to true left-handed play.
    That is yet another issue. I copy a hard plucking technique from oldtime bassists (see my profile) that I call the cat's paw. It generates serious energy into the strings without tiring my hand or slowing me down and does not require the thumb to be anchored. It consists of a free circular forearm/hand movement down on the strings. I picked this up from watching old film footage of Wellman Braud, Slam Stewart, Walter Page, etc.
    Other limitations that I encountered playing wrong strung bass were skips and arpeggios that required quick string crossings. It actually helped me do some things, but hurt in others in this area. I've now committed to playing a true left-handed setup bass and after 2 months, I feel that much of my playing is about where it was before the change, and some of it is considerably better.
    I just got back from a backyard winemaking party at my drummer's house. There were a couple 80 year old ladies on alto sax and accordian who played for the USO, playing old swing standards and Italian popular tunes. It was so cute!

Share This Page