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Type of Cello for a Lefty?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by amos, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    After listening to Muder by Death's new album "Red of Tooth and Claw", and watching their cellist's sexy playing at the Clutch show, I think that cello is going to be the next instrument I learn. Having small hands, I have never cared for double bass, no matter how much I enjoy jazz or playing electric bass. I do absolutely adore the way double bass sounds however.

    Which brings me to my question: I know from experience in trying to attain a left-handed double bass, that it is not like converting a righty electric bass to lefty. The internal acoustics have to be re-arranged, making it prohibitively expensive, this forcing players to continue searching for a second hand true-lefty, or have one built custom. Is this true for cello's as well? I would like to do a lot of plucking and strumming as well as bowing with my cello. I also want to use it in unconventional (non-chamber/orchestral music) musical formats.

    Should I look for a second hand true-lefty? Have one built custom for me ($$$ :()? Or should I look into electric cellos?

    I loved the way the MBD girl's electric cello looked and sounded. Rad.

    Edit: Maybe this should be in DB's misc. forum? Mods if you see this please move it if necessary.

  2. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    There are no 'lefty' cellos, they're all the same. If you absolutely have to play it left just go ahead and do that. You can restring it so the strings are reversed. Pluck or bow with whatever hand you want.

    If you watch a symphony orchestra playing you'll see that no one plays lefty. With a bowed string instrument the demands for control are equal (yet different) for both hands so there is no real reason to switch to a 'lefty' way of doing this.... you'll need to make your non-dominate hand work just as hard if you are going to use a bow.
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    If you're going to change it to lefty, you at least need to have the internal tone post reset. Usually it sits under the low C string right under the bridge - you should have it moved to the other side. A good orchestra repairman should be able to do this for you quickly and cheaply.

    Good luck finding a left handed bow.
  4. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    are you sure of this?
  5. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    If its anyway like a double bass there will be a sound post on one side and a bass bar on the other. Both have to be switched for lefty.

    Theres no harm in looking I spent ages looking for a left handed double bass. i finally got my hands on one. It was a custom unseen order. Expensive but not in terms of what double basses can go up to. More expensive than what is considered decent cheap ply wood starter bass. But I got one. Its pretty nice too.

    Just start talking to people that sell them. That fix them, that play them. you never know where you could end up getting one.

    Although I don't see this being any easier than finding a lefty double bass. May be a little because it's a more common instrument but not easy.

    But there has to be lefties out there somewhere its just a matter of where.

    If your left handedness is already well established as it was with me don't bother listening to those who say "just use your other hand" and all the BS about dominant hand doing the tricky fingering work.
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    and this was my point! there ARE left handed cellos..

  7. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    BassChuck: Your post confused me. You say there's "no real reason to switch to a lefty", but I've been playing left-handed electric bass for almost 11 years...how I see it is there no reason to switch to a righty if I don't need to.
  8. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    If you started lefty no, there is no reason. On the point of cello though there is a long tradition of fingering lefty and bowing right. If a person was to start cello for no other reason that to play for themselves or in some kind of commerical band there is probably no reason not to do it lefty if thats what you want. However..... if a person is starting cello with the thought that they might play in a classical ensemble or wish to pursue classical training they more than likely would need to switch to the standard way of playing. I'm willing to bet that there is a lower percentage of players doing DB lefty (and yes I know there are a few) than there are bass guitar players going lefty.
  9. DaBassman


    Mar 25, 2002
    Oneonta, NY
    When people ask me why I don't "just learn to play righty" I tell them to try to write with their left hand for a week. ;-) It's just not as easy as it may seem.....
  10. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    I think you are right about percentage of DB vs. BG lefty players. I met a guy who had such problems playing a improperly converted left-handed DB that he spent three months and switched to righty. This guy was good to, he was a student of Andre St. James (local DB jazz hero).

    The only thing that is weighing on me about cello is the fact that if I pursue a music degree in bass performance, I'm going to have to learn to play DB too.. or is that only for high-end schools where you can pursue a jazz performance degre (University of N.Texas; Berklee, etc.)
  11. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Playing left hand bass or cello and you'll cause a ruckus in an orchestra!

    The main reason for the fact the right handed-ness is to fit in to the dynamics and layout of an orchestra - same with violins! So unless your aiming for solo performance status you may have a few issues!
  12. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
  13. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    LOL awesome!!
  14. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Yeah I am not planning on playing in an orchestra, so I do not think it'll be an issue.

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