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Need Advice From Veteran Upright Bassists!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Dbman007, Apr 3, 2013.


  1. Dbman007

    Dbman007

    Apr 3, 2013
    Hi, I'm a junior in high school and have been playing bass guitar for 4 years now but i have been playing music for 8 years altogether. I gig regularly with my combo and other various jazz groups and since college is coming around I'm very serious about purchasing an upright. Here's the catch, I'm left handed. Other than learning right handed, I was wanting some insight on an upright such as if I purchase one will flipping the bridge and nut fix my dilemma or are the tuning pegs going to be an issue as well? Also if there are any people who have felt my pain with this what did you do, or what would you recommend?
     
  2. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    If you can afford it, some companies make left handed doublebasses. I'm sure that those in the know can chime in to let you know which companies do this. Good luck. Though I play right handed, I feel your left handed pain!
     
  3. My Dad is a lefty, and has always played guitar and other string instruments right-handed. If you learn to play the DB left-handed, the pool of instruments available to you in the future will be tiny.

    Converting an existing right-handed bass for left-handed play is not as simple as switching the bridge and nut. The instrument has to be opened up and the system of internal supports rebuilt. You're talking thou$and$.

    Engelhardt, Shen and Upton Bass all make quality, purpose-built left handed basses at reasonable prices for a slight upcharge.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Not tuning pegs, but basic construction. The bass bar is on the E string side and the soundpost is on the G string side for a reason. There are a couple of folks (John DeCesare comes to mind) who do that Jimmy Hendrix thing of playing a right handed bass left handed; everything's backwards the string closest to your pizz hand is the G. Personally I don't see how they do it. I think Ed Howard did that for awhile, but I might be mistaken...
     
  5. mlz77096

    mlz77096

    Oct 16, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I have a friend who plays all her fretted instruments left handed. When she purchased her upright, she decided to learn right handed. It was that or play it backwards which I have seen some lefties do. The problem comes when you are in a group and want to trade off on instruments. It's one thing for each player to have his own guitar, but carrying more than one bass to a gig and having it on stage is another. Unless your right hand refuses to pluck strings or your left won't deal with the finger board, I vote for learning right handed.
     
  6. Dbman007

    Dbman007

    Apr 3, 2013
    Thank you I have been looking at Englehardt I will look into there left handed basses.
     
  7. Dbman007

    Dbman007

    Apr 3, 2013
    I had no idea about the inside construction of an upright or the correlation it had with the strings i have alot more to look at now, thank you!
     
  8. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt

    Sep 20, 2000
    Nashville,TN
    Endorsing Artist: Kiesel, Carvin, Accuracy, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    Upton makes them as well, IIRC. John Pattitucci comes to mind as a Lefty who plays right handed-he says it puts the strongest, most intelligent hand on the neck.
     
  9. jdepriest

    jdepriest

    Sep 20, 2005
    Waynesburg, Pa
    If you were older, had lots of disposal income and only wanted to play jazz for the rest of your life, I'd say buy a lefty and be happy.

    But you're young. Get a teacher and learn right handed bass. Several companies do make good left handed bass, but not very many and they always cost more. Converting a right handed bass is also expensive. Save that money and invest in a good quality righty instrument and lessons. Also, I'm assuming you want to study music in college. That means a heavy dose of classical bow work and playing in a section. I've been to and played in hundreds of orchestra concerts from Suzuki kids to major professional symphony orchestras and every level in-between. I cant remember every seeing a lefty in a section.

    There are lots of lefty's playing right handed. And remember, on a right handed bass your left hand is still doing most of the hard work! :)
     
  10. tmntfan

    tmntfan

    Oct 6, 2011
    Edmonton canada
    I would also advise to learn to play right handed. if you are going to school for music (your post wasn't clear) anything you do afterwards will be tougher trying left handed. playing in pits, studio time, teaching (and likely learning) from a right handed player adds more confusion to the mix.
     
  11. Fran Diaz

    Fran Diaz

    Mar 28, 2002
    Santander, Spain
    Bassist
    I'm on the same bandwagon. Best thing I learnt (and the only lesson that I remember) from my first classical guitar teacher was to play as a righty so I would have more instruments available in the future.

    Gary Willis (EB, I know) is also a lefty playing righty, and there are many others

    You can't play lefty in a section because you would hit your bow with your mate's bow; or your hands if you are on the right side.
     
  12. Jsn

    Jsn upright citizen

    Oct 15, 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area
    As a lefty who learned to play "right handed", I heartily agree with this. It's not really a concession, in my opinion, but an intelligent choice. It's the left hand fingers that do all the dancing.

    Think of it not as a compromise, but an advantage.
     
  13. Medve

    Medve

    Mar 8, 2013
    Dbman007, same story here. I am left handed and playing my bass right handed for over thirty years.
     
  14. Bowe

    Bowe

    Apr 1, 2013
    Italy
    Personally I'm right handed when I write but I play left on right handed instruments. When I say that I play bass, all THREE kinds; guitar style, double-bass (3/4 pit-bass), and the Ashbory, they all are right handed that I play from the left. I don't need to remind that balance can be a problem with the guitar styles if they're just flipped.

    With the double bass it makes for some added stage presence to change players in the middle of a song and not miss a note!

    So, if it works don't mess with it.
     
  15. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    It's kind of silly that we even refer to bass playing as right or left-handed. It's not like pitching a baseball.
     
  16. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    or left handed piano. Bite the bullet and learn it with standard tuning - you'll be glad in the long run.
     
  17. jazzbill

    jazzbill

    Jun 4, 2010
    Richardson, TX
    Another lefty playing right handed here. I agree with those who say learn to play right handed.
     
  18. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    You could wean yourself towards right-handed upright by making the switch on electric bass right now.
     
  19. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Another lefty who plays right handed here. You are young. Learn to play right handed now. You will be very glad you did.
     
  20. Another lefty playing righty here. Play right handed!

    I also play right handed saxophone.
     

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