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! :)

Righty Playing Lefty

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Zoop Soup, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. Zoop Soup

    Zoop Soup

    Mar 21, 2013
    I can almost hear the collective inhalation of breath at the title of this thread. "What kind of moron is this?" you may be saying. Well, to put it simply, a broke one.
    My lefty friend has a bass that he doesn't use and he would be willing to lend it to me. The problem is, I'm right handed. How would this work out? I know left handed people can play right handed basses and I was wondering if that would translate to this. If I were to switch to right handed if I found this a passion I'd like to stick to, how hard would the transition be? I want to learn it and I'd like to be able to, but I'd like some input from you guys.

  2. Luke S Mouse

    Luke S Mouse

    Jun 5, 2009
    Just flip everything you know upside down
    It'll probably take a few days to get used to playing with, just like the whole fretted to fretless conversion, but I'm sure you'll eventually get the hang of it.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Or, you could just buy a new set of strings, flip the bass over, and string it right handed. Seems much easier to me. If the guy wants his bass back, put his old strings back on it. Done. Don't make things harder than they are.
  4. wednesdayagain


    Sep 28, 2012
    I'm sure you'll get used to it eventually.
  5. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    It's not that simple. The nut needs to be changed.
  6. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Actually you use both hands to play a guitar or a piano or a clarinet or a .... I've long thought that the supposedly right handed guitars are actually left handed. Doesn't it make more sense to do the intricate fretwork with your dominant hand and the simpler rhythmic plucking work with your other hand? There are arguments both ways but it is at least arguable that the guitar norm is backwards with respect to handedness. Those of us who have played one way for years are not going to switch, naturally. Those who are just starting out could consider going against the grain and I am quite sure that it would work quite well for you. The only downside is this: just like your left handed brothers and sisters once you get used to a left handed bass and feel the urge to get another or a better you find yourself wandering in a wilderness of right handed basses with only the occasional left handed oasis. Most everything you lust after will be unavailable to you. You will some day bitterly realize the value of what I tell all beginners: just play a "right handed" instrument. The obvious left/right asymmetry of guitars gives the strong visual impression that they have a handedness to them but I am not sure they are truly any more hand centric than pianos or clarinets.

  7. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The counter to the "intricate fingering" argument is that the dominant hand keeps time. You can fret at any point between two notes but you must strike correctly (or in my case, incorrectly). The truth will never be known!
  8. To the OP, pretty simple to reverse strings, but you would have to change the nut round which might not please your friend. Better to a buy a cheapie R/H I would think.
    As a lefty who was made to write with my right hand, and remembering the aggravation it caused me as child, when I came to learn the bass I did it my way, left-handed :) Although it is true that not all basses are available in a left handed version many, including most of the standard 'Pro' instruments are, particularly now most of us are online. I think telling left-handed beginners to just learn right-handed, if the only criteria is the relative availability of the respective instruments, is a bit misguided if I may say so. There's more to it than that I think, speaking as a left hander.
  9. oldleftybass


    Jan 24, 2013
    When I got on Leftybass I was surprised to learn that about 1/3 of the guys there play with "the big strings on the bottom"- either a lefty bass strung righty or just a righty upsidedown.

    Most righties that learn to play lefty are in Beatles tribute bands!
  10. cica


    Sep 18, 2012
    I would just mow a couple of lawns and find a righty bass for $75 on craigslist. You'll be much more limited later on because there are fewer lefty basses for sale. You also won't be able to sit in as easily if someone offers their bass to you. I'm a lefty, but I learned guitar righty.
  11. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    You could play righty strung lefty.
    You could flip the strings and nut to righthanded arrangement. I would recommend this arrangement so you are learning righthanded while saving up for a righthanded bass. There are many inexpensive basses avaiable these days so if you could get $100 - 200 together you can get a very decent bass in that price range.

    Look for Squier, SX, Cort, Ibanez, Peavey, Yamaha and Epiphone basses.

  12. This thread is dumb........ Sorry but it is.
  13. I started playing bass as a lefty, as that's how I did everything else. Back in '65, this was considered appalling by my music teacher who warned me I'd never find an affordable left-handed bass; so, I simpy played righty and have ever since. I've never lost the ability to play left, though I am slower now and righty seems more natural. Looking back, I think lefties look cooler and I'm tempted to revert, but at 62 this would probably be too new a trick for an old dog.
  14. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Not in some basses, it doesn't.
  15. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    Yes, in ALL basses.

    Can we get a luthier in here?
  16. exidor


    Jul 10, 2011
    I'm a lefty who plays righty & I wouldn't have it any other way.
    just play around with it but don't make it your home on a lefty.when you can get a righty get one. for now I'd work on learning the fret board & some scales maybe play it flipped upside down.for me playing right handed seemed right from the start.I have two older brothers who play bass,from watching them over the years I had a idea of how things worked on bass, & when I picked it up I learned pretty fast.which bummed them both out.I say get a righty as soon as you can.
  17. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    It's not just keeping time, it's about dynamics, which require more subtle control than fretting. Think about, for example, the extremely wide range of a concert violinist from the softest pianissimo to the most powerful fortissimo, and the control required for all the subtle gradations between. I think that's why the dominant hand picks, strums, bows, etc. on stringed instruments all over the world. I've played with several guitarists who play "backwards," and some of them have had extremely poor control of dynamics and/or poor picking technique. Not all, but some, including a righty who plays lefty because he thought the dominant hand should fret. I doubt it's a coincidence.
  18. +1
    I agree! I'm a lefty playing righty and I found that being left handed helped with my intonation on a fretless instrument. I have more control over where my fingers go. A right handed friend of mine never truly adjusted to the fretless. Might just have been different playing styles, but I do feel as though I have more control with my intonation.
  19. pkstone


    Apr 13, 2011
    Not on a headless Steinberger; the nut -- or more properly, zero fret -- is symmetrical, with wider channels on the outer edge. Makes 'em easy to flip.
  20. Stone Soup

    Stone Soup

    Dec 3, 2012
    I'll take your word for it. I can't find a good photo of a Steinberger string retainer.

    EDIT: Looks like the slots are matched to string width on this one.

Share This Page