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right- or left-handed instruments

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Andrew B., Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Andrew B.

    Andrew B.

    Aug 20, 2010
    I'm right handed. When I played piano the left hand part was easier. Later I took up guitar and I used to wonder why the left hand was on the neck. Chords and riffs with the left hand were much more involved than moving a pick up and down with my right hand. And in terms of finger picking, most styles are sort of repetitive and don't require much thinking, while my left hand is having to jump to different positions in a flash.

    When I took up bass I used two fingers on my right hand to play. Much easier than finger picking a guitar. But my left hand was dealing with frets that are further apart than on a guitar while moving around the neck.

    So it strikes me that my left hand has the harder job. And that left-handed people go out of their way to find an instrument to give their right hands the harder job.

    There must be some sort of sense to all this, but I can't figure it out.
  2. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    I wondere about this when I started playing too. I've come to think stringed instruments evolved with the dominant hand for picking/plucking/bowing because those activities control dynamics. Dynamic subtlety often requires a finer touch than fretting, IMO.

    I've played with several lefty guitarists who play righty, and now a right-handed guitarist who plays lefty. The lefties often play fine right handed, but a couple of them had a "herky-jerky" picking style, i.e., poor dynamic control. Left-handed dominance often is not as strong as right-handed dominance (at least from what I've seen), so many could probably play fine either way.

    The right-handed guitarist who plays lefty is extremely limited. His picking control is weak, which makes some basic maneuvers difficult, and he has trouble with some rhythmic patterns. Many factors could be involved, but considering his high musical talent, the enormous number of years he's played, and his generally good coordination (he's a good drummer too), I strongly believe he would be better if he played right-handed.
  3. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Several terribly inappropriate comments immediately come to mind... :D
  4. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Believe me. We wish we could be righties like all you wonderful, special, normal people. Why don't you go try to learn it lefty because I tell you to? Didn't think so.
    I'm a righty who can only play lefty. I'm not going to read your post as condescending and insulting, but trust me, there are a lot of people around here who will. If this thread doesn't get shut down it'll be the first.
  5. Andrew B.

    Andrew B.

    Aug 20, 2010
    Interesting observation. I hadn't thought of that variable.
  6. Muaguana


    Jul 28, 2009
  7. Slax


    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Absolutely great analysis. I'm a lefty who plays righty with a strong dominance in my left hand. I wasn't aware there were left handed basses when I started. (Hell, I played trombone and no one said, "Hey man, why don't you try left handed?) I found that my left hand came quick to maneuver the fret board but my right hand was difficult to teach dynamics. This is why I ended up playing with a pick for years, I could manage that. The past couple years I've focused mainly on fingers and I have made leaps and bounds but still I feel that skills needed in my left hand (fretting hand) come way easier than my right.

    But it's 6 eggs in one hand and 1/2 a dozen in the other thing isn't it? If I was righty, wouldn't this just be the exact opposite? :)
  8. Well im a lefty, and im of the opinion that what ever feels comfortable in your hand.

    When i picked up a bass and held it right handed, i couldnt finger the strings, my fretting way too difficult.

    I said to the dude in the store, i know its silly, but is there a left handed bass i can try.

    Man when i picked it up it was sooooo comfortable, my hands felt more natural, my left hand doing the fingering on the strings was FAR more rythmic.

    Were not trying make lifes difficult for us honestly. But hey i played a right handed bass upside down last week as mine broke on stage.....

    Let me see how many righties can pull off playing a lefthanded one upside down :p

  9. Andrew B.

    Andrew B.

    Aug 20, 2010
    Hmmm. I remember the first time I picked up a guitar I held it in a lefty style. Made more sense. OTOH, if someone had not corrected me, maybe I would have ended up with the problems the lefties are mentioning trying to play right handed.

    Also, looking back at my message I realize it was worded in a provocative way. I really don't think others are doing anything wrong by playing according to their strong hand. I should have worded it differently.
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    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.

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