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Switching from right handed playing to left handed possible?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hiway61, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. Hiway61


    Nov 24, 2001
    SE Pennsylvania
    I recently experienced a tear of some muscle of my left shoulder's rotator cuff and am unable to move my left hand up and down (mostly up) the neck of my bass while keeping my fingers over the fretboard. I have to go through a few gyrations to move my hand up the neck. Before I think about surgery (I had surgery on this same shoulder about 12 years ago and will repeat it reluctantly), I was wondering if any of you or anyone you know has successfully changed playing from either right or left handed to the opposite. I have only been playing for about 3 1/2 years (started at the ripe old age of 48 -- a midlife crisis thing I guess) so I don't have a huge amount of skills accumulated if that makes any difference in your advice.


  2. nuklhed


    Dec 21, 2000
    Louisville Ky
    I started playing about 3 1/2 yrs. ago. I am left handed. I started playing that way. I got ao frustrated because my left hand fingers couldn't pluck the strings and slapping was impossible. My other hand was just as bad on the fret board. I played like that off and on for a year. I finally put it down. I happened to throw a party, with a live band. The bass player let me mess with his rig. It felt natural. I have been playing like that ever since. I'm left handed, I am playing a right handed bass right handed. My playing is increasing along with my knowledge. It just depends on how bad you want to do it. I highly recommend getting a little buzz on first.;)
  3. If you've already become proficient playing righty this could be an extremely difficult task, even if you don't yet have a huge amount of skills. You've probably already developed your concept for playing, and it might be hard to reverse that.

    Have you tried playing lefty yet? How did it feel? I AM left handed and play that way, and when I try to play a righty bass my brain just doesn't compute. It makes no sense to me.

    Have you considered alternatives, such as a six string bass? This would provide a wider range without having to move up and down the neck so much. Not sure if the wide neck would help your condition, but it's worth a try.
  4. Hiway61


    Nov 24, 2001
    SE Pennsylvania
    Thanks for your thoughts, gentlemen.

    Nuklhed -- I think maybe I'll try a lefthanded bass to see how it feels. I've been trying to visualize playing lefty and it sure seems like it would be really awkward but, ... who knows.

    SR5 -- The idea of a 6 string never occurred to me but sure makes a lot of sense. As a 4 string player, a 5 string neck looks wide and the 6 looks impossible but this may be the better option than switching sides.

    If I choose not to have the surgery or if surgery isn't an option because of the previous surgery, I'll give both of these a try.

    Thanks again.
  5. Pea-NUT


    Jul 1, 2001
    Jerseyville, IL
    I once saw *ahem* Fieldy playing left handed. But the way he plays he could lay the bass on a table ,put a towel on the strings and hit it with a stick. I tried playing left handed once, its like playing for the first time again.
  6. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    I am left handed also but play right.... just more natural... however....

    I saw a A beatles tribute band. (its the biggest tribute band) and the bass player is right handed and he learned how to play left.. Not only that, he nailed the lines perfectly and was able to sing paul's parts.. very impressive.. I am sure it would be hard, but not impossible....
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