Left handed bass learning resources (lefty bass)

Since there really only seem to be two differences in the way left handed bass/guitar players relate to playing, vs. right handers, I thought I’d I’d start this and another thread (“Left handed bass instruments”) with the idea of highlighting some resources and encouraging others to add more.

  • The first difference is obviously the instrument orientation, and is the topic of the other thread (posted in the Gear category*).
  • The topic of this thread is the second difference: how the left handed player learns to play bass, and I define that as having options to view fretboards and chords shown as they are played on left hand oriented basses. I hope others will point out any websites, books, videos, etc. for those types of resources, and will discuss the merits of them.

Here are three such sources to start with (one of which I recently posted in another thread, but am reposting here specifically to bring to the attention of left handed players):

I do not own either of the above books, but welcome input from any who have had experience with them. They seem like they’d be helpful for left handed bass players.

If you have any other learning resources for left handed bassists that you can share, please post here!
*I intended to post the “Left handed bass instruments” topic in the “Gear” category, but it seems not to be.

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Check out the excellent fretful.io site, written by our very own @gcancella. It has a LH fretboard option.

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Thanks for reminding me! I have seen that site, just not visited lately. Good catch!

I also forgot to add this website in my initial post: Blumberg’s Music Theory Cipher for Guitar. A page on that site “The Cipher for Lefty Guitar (or Lefties)” has an index for info and diagrams which, while specifically for left handed guitar, can be used for 4 string bass simply by disregarding the 5th and 6th strings. This site also uses a reverse number system for the strings, in which the E string is #1, where the standard would be E as #6 for guitar, or #4 for 4 string bass.

I admit that thus far I haven’t delved much into the above website, but as I progress into learning about music theory, I may go back to it.

@Never2Late , I wish you well on your journey. I always have had a soft spot for left-handers, since I’ve been one for over 55 years. I’ve come to understand that lefties are a diverse bunch along a sliding scale of left handedness; some are rather ambidextrous. I learned to bowl left handed as young adult, but when I picked up the bass I went right handed; I guess decades of playing “air guitar” right handed set me on that path!

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Hi kwt7667! Thanks for your good wishes.

Yes, I do think there is a wide spectrum of handedness for left-handers (left-to-right), vs most right-handers use the right for all tasks. For me, it seems that I do fine motor tasks (writing, sewing, brushing teeth) with my left hand, and most gross motor tasks (throwing, using a bat, etc.) with my right. I always thought of it as “mixed-handedness,” after reading it somewhere. I have a left-handed sister who does more things left-handed than I do, though.

There was another thread where the topic of ambidexterity came up, and my input was that technically the term “ambidextrous” is defined as being equally good doing a given task with both hands (“ambi” = both, “dexterous” = skillful or adroit in the use of the hands or body). But many use it to mean doing some things with one hand, other things with the other hand. So we can leave that topic there.

I have always played “air guitar” left handed, so there you go! Different strokes for different folks, as they say. :slightly_smiling_face:

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A fascinating topic, since “we left-handers” are different than most folks. I honestly don’t know if I am truly ambidextrous or not because there’s the training factor. When I was in my early 20’s I worked in a grocery store, and eventually I found myself behind the register. The ergonomics just didn’t favor lefties, so I learned 10-key right handed. I scanned with my left and ran the register with my right, and I was very fast using both hands in concert! Now, 30 years later, working in IT, I still use the right hand for 10-key and the mouse way better than I ever could left handed. And, if I need to pickup my pen or pencil, my left hand is free to do so. Training does have an impact.

As far as my bass journey, which started a mere 18 months ago, I find that the fretboard is the most challenging aspect of learning bass. I really thought it would be a breeze, but it wasn’t. The right hand has been fine, although one of these days I’ll pick up a pick…and maybe I’ll sing a different tune! When I pick up a guitar, my right hand feels like all thumbs with the pick in hand. Training needed, we’ll see.

I really like the fact that @JoshFossgreen is left handed, and look at what he’s been able to do. I don’t think I’ve ever hear him speak specifically about this topic in detail.

Nevertheless, I think it’s cool to play left handed, adds a certain symmetry to gigs!

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