Lefty Playing Righty

Ok, I’m not suffering a problem or asking for advice, just thought it might be an interesting subject to discuss. I’m left-handed but have always played guitar, and now, bass right-handed. I guess I am not as left-hand dominant as some people as I do a lot of things right-handed but yeah, If you threw a ball at me it would be my left hand that would reach out to catch it. It never occurred to me to play left-handed. For one, when I started out in the seventies cheap left-handed guitars in the second-hand shops were non-existent and the alternative was going through all the faff of playing a guitar upside-down with the strings changed around (I mean, who would even do that? lol). But to be honest, I never saw any reason to do so anyway. I mean with a guitar you have to use both hands independently so why should it matter - it is naturally an ambidextrous instrument anyway? I’d be interested to hear from any left hookers who simply could not get their head around a right-handed instrument but more specifically, what gave them the greatest problem. The only disadvantage I can see is also an advantage. I have no proof of this, it’s just an observation, but it occurs to me that a left-handed person could possibly have an advantage playing a right-handed instrument when it comes to fretting on the neck because the fingers of the left hand should be stronger and more dexterous. Where the disadvantage might lie perhaps is that the weaker right hand has to suddenly find dexterity in plucking and raking. I always assumed that was why I found fingering chords on guitar easier than my right-handed mates but my rhythm arm strumming those chords was all over the place. Interested to hear any other thoughts

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I have often wondered about this.

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This was discussed a bit here:

I think it is only really advantage for those who are truly ambidextrous. Like you said above, any advantage I may have by fretting with my left hand seems to be given up by plucking with my right so I think it balances out.

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I’m left handed and play bass right handed. The thing is, I’d need to be able to play left handed on a left handed bass to compare to how I’d play between both techniques. I throw and write with my left hand, but use right hand for various stuff too, like a mouse on a PC.

So I guess I’m half/half?

I don’t seem to have problems on the bass though. I probably would have learnt to pluck quicker and easier if I used a left hand bass but I can now okay comfortably on a right handed bass so I can’t see any drawbacks.

Difficult to compare with though as have only ever played right handed basses

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A 100% lefty who has learned to play righty here :slightly_smiling_face:

I get how it’s suggested that the dominant hand usually be used for plucking, but all it really takes is enough practise with one hand and that will be the most able for its purpose :man_shrugging:

This was a big thought of mine though when I was picking out my first instrument last year. I opted for what I expected to be a little bit extra work learning to play right handed so I don’t limit my options in the future.

Since playing an instrument was completely new I don’t really have anything to compare it to! I would guess what you said about being a lefty may have helped with fretting to a degree.
And I will say that the main issue I found when suddenly using my right hand a lot more was 1) learning to pluck equally as controlled with the middle finger and 2) pushing past the occasional new forearm ache.

I’m happy with how I’ve learned, personally. If anything maybe its helped balance out competency with both?! :joy:

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I’m right handed and play bass right handed, but I’m a better pool player left handed (I can actually shoot either righty or lefty).
When I was in archery many years ago, my coach switched me to a left handed bow, resulting in significant improvement in accuracy.
It’s a strange thing…

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I’m left-handed, but somewhat ambidextrous (like other lefties here, I have learned to do some things the right-handed way). I think I probably could have learned to play right-handed bass just as well, but since my bass playing started by getting a left-handed bass from a friend, I am now a left-handed player. Now that I have been looking to get a new bass, it has crossed my mind whether it would have saved me a bit of trouble starting to play right-handed, but eh, I don’t think I’m gonna switch at this point, and I think it’s a bit fun to have that slight difference to most bassists.

Also, it’s definitely a small thing, but watching BB and other bass instruction videos the neck of the player’s bass points at the same direction as mine, which possibly makes it a bit easier to find the frets on my instrument. It irks me a bit that Josh uses the terms right hand/left hand fingering though, so I always kinda have to make a mental correction from one direction to the other :stuck_out_tongue:

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Out of curiosity, have you tried a left-handed bass?

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It probably has to do with your dominant eye, Pam . . . :slight_smile:

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Yup, that’s what my archery coach said

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Yep as jazz bass suggests shooting with a bow has nothing to do with handedness, it’s all about eye dominance. A bow is after all about as ambidextrous an instrument as you can get and in theory anyone should be able to shoot a left or right handed bow with little difficulty. I’m left handed and shoot with a left-handed bow because my left eye is dominant but every other left eye dominant archer in our club is right handed. Similarly we have left handed people shooting with right handed bows. Just to mix it all up we also have an extremely skilled archer who shot with a right handed bow and gave it up for a left handed bow because he wanted another challenge.

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I might need to start a new thread on my own “Righty Playing Lefty”… My son is left handed, and I picked up his bass a few months ago and found I enjoyed it.

I smashed my left elbow a couple of years ago in an unfortunate jogging incident! My forearm now contains 2 titanium bars and many screws. I am still rebuilding manual dexterity and range of movement. My bass practice is a fun phyiotherapy! Billie Jean is going to take me a while though!

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I am largely ambidextrous, but if you can play right handed, you will have a much larger selection of instruments

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No one has mentioned @JoshFossgreen is left handed but plays right handed.

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I knew he was one of the chosen few :grinning:

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I’m also left-handed with most things. Part of the reason I started playing was to (hopefully) keep both hands active enough to resist the genetic inclination I will have toward arthritis later in life, so it makes sense for me to pluck left & fret right. My left hand gets more activity through writing, etc. And on the plus side, playing left while doing lessons seems easier and more like a mirror (if that makes any sense) when watching a right-handed player.

But this is also more of a fun hobby for me, not something from which I ever plan to derive an income. If that were the case (as it is for @JoshFossgreen and probably several other lefties here), it would have made far more sense to play right-handed. Basses like a Yamaha or a factory-made fretless will be beyond my means as long as I play left, but I’m having fun and keeping active with it. :grinning:

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I’m definitely a lefty, but I made a conscious decision at age 14 to learn guitar, and then bass, right handed. Left handed basses were unheard of in a small midwestern town in the 60’s.

Like others, I cannot really say if I could play better on a left-handed bass because I’ve never tried it.

I can say that I’ve never regretted my decision.

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Greetings, @chris6, my wife is also a south paw and plays guitar. She also finds it easier to play right-handed. She found that when learning, there were almost no lefty teaching methods out there, so she found herself just going with it and never looked back. She throws with her right too … writing is all she does “lefty”. From what I understand, it’s not that uncommon.

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Eat with the left, wipe with the right …

I’m a lefty through and through. Southpaw bass guitars for me; nothing else works. BTW, sunburst and black are the only colors you can get in guitars, yeah?

I write left-handed, and bat (softball, tennis, table tennis, cricket) left-handed, and golf left-handed, and play soccer on the left wing because I am left-footed (this ‘skill’ got me into teams I otherwise would have had no place being in!)

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I’m a lefty do most things left handed. My brother is right handed guitar player and when we were kids he would always try to have me play his right handed hand-me-downs! For some reason I couldn’t play them (probably because I didn’t have the patience or my brother didn’t have the patience). I bought a lefty bass and have loved playing ever since.

I have noticed this as well! I like that part of learning and being a lefty!!

Limited colors and models for sure! I would love to play a Gibson Thunderbird but have yet to see a lefty in any shop I have been to. Oh well.

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