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Reason for left handed instruments

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by basss, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    Just curious.

    Why does the 'main' hand have to be the plucking/picking hand? Since the muscles you use for bass playing are not really used for anything else it doesn't seem like it would make a difference which hand does what.
  2. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    I would imagine for some it just feels more comfortable flipped around. It's the same way with righties too sometimes, them feeling more comfortable playing lefty.
  3. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Same reason there's left handed combs, or pencils... personal preference.
  4. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    It comes naturally.
  5. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    The reason I ask is that neither right or left handed basses seem to come natural to anyone who hasn't played before. I've been teaching for a number of years now and have dealt with enough beginner students to know that the bass feels like a foriegn object no matter what hand you're using when you are starting out. For a left handed beginner it might make more sense to play right handed basses just so they have more instruments to choose from.
  6. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    Well, I don't know about that... I'm a lefty in everything I do except playing bass, and when I first started playing I tried lefty first because I thought that's just what I was supposed to do, but I could never get the hang of it until a righty guitar was put in my hands.
  7. baalroo


    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    I completely 100% disagree with this. I'm a lefty who started by trying to play a friends right handed guitar when I was about 13, I would pick it up and twiddle with it and he'd try to show m stuff and I just couldn't get it. After hours and hours of trying on countless occassions I had nearly given up when another friend happened to be around and said something to the effect of "Aren't you left handed, I bet it'd be easier if you flipped it over and played 'left handed'." I flipped it over and even though I'd been trying to play for quite ahile righty, it immediately felt much more comfortable and easier. In a matter of about 30 minutes I had learned my first song.
  8. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    I'm not saying there's no reason to play lefty. I guess if it feels better to you then it is better. But I've seen left handed players who play great on right handed instruments just because thats what they started on. just makes me wonder...
  9. baalroo


    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    Well, you are implying that there is no reason to play left. Besides that I've given you personal anecdotal evidence that suggest your basic assumption "neither right or left handed basses seem to come natural to anyone who hasn't played before" is incorrect, because playing left handed did IN FACT come to me naturally, as compared to playing right handed which was so insanely difficult for me I nearly gave up something that became my one true passion in life(playing music).

    We lefties have to put up with enough having so few instruments to choose from, paying extra for the ones we do get, not being able to play other people's guitars, etc. Thus, we get a bit touchy when others imply that we have for some reason intentionally caused ourselves the trouble simply because we're ignorant. There's a reason some of us play lefty thank you very much.
  10. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    That may be trued for most people and most activities, but I'd say there are exceptions. I'm right handed and I can think of two ways in which I've always been more comfortable doing it like a lefty. One is shooting pool, the other is skateboarding (OK, I haven't been on a skateboard in 30 years, but I was always a goofy foot). No idea why I did those two things "the opposite way" but for me it was just natural.

    I imagine the same would be true for playing bass - or anything else.
  11. basss

    basss Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2001
    No reason to get all defensive, buddy. I know, southpaws are people too. Asking why is not the same as saying there is no reason, unless you really want to see it that way. Again, I'm willing to accept that it just feels better to some people.

    Last year my one lefty student's bass was damaged. Normally when this happens the student would just borrow a bass but of course the lefty wasn't able to. He tried to fix it using tape a couple times - never quite made it to the shop and I don't really have the time to fix it myself. He ended up falling behind and finally quitting altogether. I'm wondering if I shouldn't have just told him to play a right handed bass - he never really seemed to feel comfy on the left handed one and it might have been the same on a righty bass.
  12. baalroo


    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS

    I didn't mean to sound defensive. You just seemed to ask a question, and then blew off the answers that didn't agree with your own assessment. :)
  13. Hmmm... i'm not sure. I write left-handed(NOT ambidextrous) but for everything else I do I'm righty-including bass. Some people are just hooked up differently. I do think the unavailability of lefty basses is pretty unfair though.

    btw... southpaws? lol never heard that expression till now :)
  14. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    there are left handed basses because there's a small market. i don't have a choice, i have to play lefty.. i hate it, but that's just the way my body is built.

    and btw, do a search, there are plenty of threads like this on this forum.
  15. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    The first time I picked up a bass, it was a righty. I got so frustrated I sold it and didn't play again for a few years. When I bought the next one, I bought a lefty. Fast forward, here I am today. :D

    The only thing I do right-handed is golf.

  16. baalroo


    Mar 24, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    It's a boxing term that originated in the mid 1800s to describe a left handed blow that would often come in "under" the other boxer's guard that was later used for lefty pitchers in baseball. It's also fairly common vernacular to most lefties, odd that you've never heard it.
  17. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    The first acoustic guitar I got, at the age of 11, was right handed. My parents bought me that as a christmas gift, and said all lefties were very expensive compared to this. So I started on that and have never been comfortable playing a lefty.

    Anyway, what I have noticed is that I can't for the life of me get the fingers up to speed. I've read here that some people can pluck sixteenths at tempos 150bpm and above using only two fingers. I can't even move my right hand fingers at that speed in the air. With a lot of practice everyday for a month or three, I could perhaps manage being able to pluck at 120bpm for a couple of minutes. I'd love to be able to play TOP's "What Is Hip?", but I can't keep up with that plucking speed for more than a minute maximum before I start experience fatigue and the timing suffers. At 90 bpm, I'm comfortable, 100 is ok for a few minutes if I'm in a good shape speedwise, but 112 kills me too quickly. Occasional 16ths @ 140 bpm works, but then I'm talking about only two or three notes...

    I think the reason to this is to a large extent the fact that my right hand is my weaker one. OTOH, I don't have any big problems with my fretting hand.

    If I would have gotten a lefty as the first instrument, I don't know where I'd been today. I bet I wouldn't have problems with the right hand speed though.
  18. JacobE


    Jul 19, 2008
    i have a friend whos left handed and plays guitar right handed hes insaneley good to, im pretty sure he just did that out of conveiniance it is really hard to good lefties on occasion
  19. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    My guitar player convinced me that as a lefty I'd probably never feel comfortable playing right. I believed him as I didn't know any better and got a left-handed guitar (I moved to bass a couple years later). Sometimes I wish I hadn't listened to him. But then again, I know a guy who's right-handed but decided to learn lefty because of Paul McCartney.
  20. Howlin' Hanson

    Howlin' Hanson Lighter cabs, please.

    Sep 3, 2007
    Austin TX
    On a slightly different tack, how often has anyone seen a player playing left-handed using a righty bass upside down with the strings in the regular locations?

    I saw this recently on a cruise, and the bassist even had his strap attached to the long horn which was below the neck! Not certain how he kept it from flipping upside down. Any lefties here play like this? :confused:

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