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Should I try to find the right lefty bass or just re-learn right handed?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dwagner, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. I've been extremely frustrated trying to find a bass that suits my wants exactly tone-wise, looks, and overall price. I am almost thinking I should maybe give up on finding the perfect lefty and just get a right-handed bass and re-learn right handed or play upside down... anyone have any suggestions/comments? I already have a left-handed Squier Tele that I can play quite well but I am now wanting to purchase a $700ish bass and I want something I like when I'm going to spend that much money. Since I am playing lefty guitar, will it screw things up trying to re-learn? I'm thinking the main problem would be re-building speed in my picking/plucking hand -- I play fast-paced punk, space rock, and other high speed genres (Think 130BPM double-time).


    Side note: I realize this is probably in the wrong section--I apologize.
  2. dedpool1052


    Jan 10, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    besides price, what specs are you looking for?
  3. iunno


    Dec 16, 2010
    You could get Warmoth to make you something, you could find an inexpensive lefty that plays well and mod it, or you could flip the strings and strap peg on a right handed bass.
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    It might make sense for a lefty to play righty. All French horn players play what appear to be left handed instruments and keys and woodwinds make equal demands on both hands. I can't imagine playing guitar one way and bass the other way though.

  5. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay

    Keep it simple.

    If you're currently playing lefty guitar, You should play a lefty bass. imo!...

    Minimize the learning curve whenever possible.

    ....and my $.02 is spent.
  6. MakoMan


    Oct 17, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have a lefthanded friend who played an upside down right handed guitar for 30+ years. About 2 years ago he decided to learn to play a normal left-handed guitar. It's taken a while and a ton of frustration, but apparently it can be done!
    Personally though, I would think it has to be easier to find a left handed bass you like than to go through the effort of learning to play two instruments right handed.

    JEDI BASS Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I'd get a right handed Thunderbird style bass (reverse body shape) and play it lefty. Move the strap button and put some dot stickers on the other side of the neck. And, get a new nut put on it. There's also a way to either remove the pots or drop them into the body. I'd talk to a local repair guy about that.
  8. xantometapon


    Jan 23, 2011
    If you have asked the same question 20 years ago I would have answered that maybe you could try to re-learn, but nowadays I must say do not.

    I am a natural lefty and learned to play lefty, but 20 years ago it was extremely difficult (at least in my country) to find ANY left hand bass, cheap or expensive.

    But now there are a lot of options. Cheap, expensive, boutique, 5 strings, fretless, etc
    I wish I had all that options back then...

    If you feel like changing do it, but if you are confortable playing lefty don´t give up and keep looking for the right (or left in this case) bass.
  9. xantometapon


    Jan 23, 2011
    And regarding your budget, with that money I would personally buy an Ibanez Sr600 or a G&L Tribute, depending on the type of neck you prefer (slim or thick)

    Both good basses, not expensive and available lefty.
    Good luck
  10. the mojo hobo

    the mojo hobo

    Nov 13, 2005
    You don't say how long you have been playing guitar, but this actually happened to me. I started playing bass left handed on a Norma violin bass upside-down. When I wanted to buy a better bass I found left-handed basses were hard to find and expensive so I did switch to playing right-handed.

    Now that was over forty years ago and there are more lefties available today, but the selection of right-handed basses is enormous.

    Then there is the question of dexterity. If you play lefty your left hand is just exciting the strings while your right hand is doing the more complicated fretting. It seems backwards to me.
  11. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Yup, I've played lefty basses in the past but now just stick to upside-down righties. Easier to find, easier to resell. Some, like T-birds, don't look upside-down. I got me one of these:



    I've never felt any need to move the knobs across to the other side. They don't get in the way or anything.
  12. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I agree. To a lefty just starting out I would say take a long hard look at a "righty" bass. Isn't it really built for leftys? Those of us who have been playing one way or the other for years are not about to switch, naturally. Those just starting out should consider if it really makes a difference which way the neck points. Both hands are fully engaged in making music on a guitar and there is a lot to be said for letting your dominant hand do the intricate fingering work. I have to wonder if all us righty guitar and French horn players aren't making do with instruments that were designed by a lefty! :D

  13. Addison

    Addison This time, I didn't forget the gravy. Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    Bismarck, ND
    I'm a lefty and I play left-handed... here are my thoughts.

    1.) If you were a brand-spanking-new player, I'd recommend you play righty for lots of reasons... but, from the sound of your post you have already been playing for a little while so I think you'll be too far gone to start over. It'll be REALLY frustrating for you... trust me, I tried.

    2.) I don't recommend flipping anything right-handed, especially if you play with your low E on top (closest to your face).

    There are plenty of people who do and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with it, but there are some issues you'll run into. First and foremost, you'll have to have a new nut installed on the bass... then you might have volume knobs digging into your forearm... if it's a double cut bass (like a p-bass or j-bass) you'll have a short upper horn that will cause balance issues and you'll also have limited access to the upper register, past the 12th fret.

    3.) There are some pretty decent basses in your budget... you can find used MIJ Fender basses for about $800, new Schecters, some used discontinued Ibanez basses that are quite nice...

    I just did an eBay search for "left bass" in the $600-$800 price range and received 53 results.


    The biggest bummer about being a lefty is that it's almost impossible to "try before you buy" so you'll have to find dealers that offer a return policy so you can make sure you like it before you commit to it.

    4.) Lastly, I recommend you join the www.leftybassist.com forum and surround yourself with people like yourself who have all suffered similarly. There are some cool lefty basses listed for sale there and we'll post up links when we find good deals or rare pieces.

    It's a small community, but we're all pretty close and look out for one-another.

    Most of all, good luck! Having done this for over 20 years now, I can tell you that it's not always easy.


  14. I've had my guitar(s) for about 2 years but only been seriously playing the past year, so I agree that it's too late to re-learn righty.

    One bass that I liked was the Mark Hoppus Signature, (has the exact sound I want). If it was lefty, I'd buy it.

    I'll keep looking; thanks guys.
  15. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The Hoppus uses a Seymour Duncan Basslines SPB-3 Quarter Pound pup instead of the normal Pbass pup. Just add one of these to a lefty P bass and you'll be getting there.
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    You should be able to easily find a lefty Fender J or P bass or find a person who does basic builds and have them build you a lefty. Or contact Atkinson Bass. I know he doesn't sell builds anymore but I'm sure he can source you parts pretty easily.
  17. Addison

    Addison This time, I didn't forget the gravy. Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    Bismarck, ND
    Yeah, you could easily order a Hoppus copy from Warmoth...

    It's just a Jazz Bass body with a reverse P-Bass pickup route... have it painted seafoam green, get a white pearloid pickguard, a Jazz neck with a rosewood board, and then get the Duncan pups and all the hardware for cheap on eBay.

    By the time you're all done, you'd actually be really close to where you are in your budget, AND the overall quality would probably be even a bit better than the Fender version.

    In addition to all of that, you'd be building your own bass and there's a lot to be learned by doing something like that. I've done it and it was a very positive experience for me.
  18. I've been looking into that... the necks are really expensive though! Thanks for the idea -- I'm probably either going to go with that or buy a Jazz Bass and put noiseless pickups in it to reduce that annoying single-coil buzz.
  19. oldleftybass


    Jan 24, 2013
    What he said. Group hug.
  20. If the knobs and shape doesn't bother you, it's fairly trivial to have a new nut cut and reverse the strings on a right handed bass. Then you can play it left handed like normal.

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