Lefty, righty, ambi?

Hello all, I’m a lefty newby (3 months playing bass) here.

I’ve been playing right handed drums for over 30 years (in the beginning it was just so much easier to start righty than lefty and it stuck). I have always wondered, however if I would have been a better drummer playing lefty from the beginning. I now play both crossed and straight handed so its not too big a deal anymore, except my feet of course remain righty tighty. Due to back problems I cant play drums as much or as extreme as I would like, so finally after 40 years dreaming decided to come over to the dark side (bass…too many years of conflicts with the enemy (bass players)…lol).

I’m an American living in Brazil for over 15 years and left handed 4 string basses are almost impossible to come by, 4 strings alone are almost impossible to come by and actually cost more here if you find one. I bought my used Yamaha TRBX505 (yes 5 string right handed), about 2 months ago and have been progressing nicely, however of course wonder if I should have started lefty. I have seen all of Josh’s free videos on YouTube and could swear I saw someone (Josh?) writing something left handed on a whiteboard somewhere.

My question to anyone with more knowledge than me (everyone at the moment…lol) is should I put down the right handed Yamaha right away, and look really hard for a left handed bass?

TIA for any responses


I think it’s better to learn as right-handed. if I were you, I’d just keep the TRBX and continue learning the righty way.


Yep. It was @JoshFossgreen writing lefty. If I remember correctly, he said he started playing righty because it was easier to find instruments he liked that were right handed.

As to whether you should change, no body can make that call but you. It comes down to what your preference is. I figure this probably isn’t the answer you wanted to hear but personal preference ends up being the answer to lots of questions about music.


I’m a lefty. When I decided to learn to play bass the first time around I was 14 and it was 1965. Left-handed basses were unheard of back then - the only option was a right-handed bass with the strings reversed. I made a conscious decision to learn right-handed and I have never regretted it.

Playing bass isn’t like, say, throwing a baseball. Both hands are used and it is arguable whether fretting or plucking requires greater dexterity. I personally feel that fretting requires greater dexterity and thus playing “right-handed” is actually more natural for a left handed person.


Thank you all for the quick responses, and the responses I wanted…lol.

I am loving my flat black “batman” Yamaha, and really don’t want to part ways with it.

I just had this conversation with my guitarist son, and he mentioned the same thing as @spidey9, maybe even more so on bass, that both hands need dexterity, in different ways of course, but a lefty fretting with left hand may actually be even more advantageous.

I guess if 15 people responded right away…YES DROP THE RIGHT HANDED INSTRUMENT IMMEDIATELY OR YOU WILL REGRET IT 5 YEARS FROM NOW. I would take heed, but imagined it should not be such a big deal.

Again thanks for the advice (even if it was exactly what I wanted to hear lol). Now I just need to deal with my 5 times fractured pinky finger (left hand), but that’s a topic for another discussion.



Oh the neglected pinky. If you do a search for ‘pinky’ there have been numerous conversations about it. Most of it comes down to…

The pinky is the finger least used independently. It may take some time but the little guy will eventually learn to do his job and forcing him to learn can be therapeutic.

On the other hand, if it is damaged beyond use, you’re not alone. we’ve had quite a few people with serious hand injuries (including missing fingers). At that point it’s about figuring out how to make it work with what you’ve got.

Let us know if you have any other questions. :+1:


@eric.kiser still functions, thank goodness, and is actually almost not “flying” anymore. I just started playing in front of a mirror, I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this, but it does seem to help with the flying pinky, wrist down…etc.
The little bad boy functions, it sits a bit further away from my ring finger than it naturally would, but still works. Its really good at the moment in creating fret buzz!!! :joy:


:rofl: :joy: :rofl: Yeah, that’s frustrating but not out of the ordinary. It can be trained!


Honestly, being right hand dominant, I have never understood why I would want to fret with my left hand :slight_smile:

Lefties playing standard basses seem like the lucky ones to me.


My sentiments exactly… I am just hoping that as I advance in technique I will have to focus less on the notes I am playing and pull stay even more hooked to the rhythm

I cannot think of any advantage of a lefty bass for a lefty other than the knobs which at this point I am never touching but I see “pros” fiddling with them all the time…


I agree with both of these!


Hi! Right now I am begging you- please try a left-handed bass. I am a lefty writer and lefty musician and I can barely play a right-handed bass!
Good luck! :smile:

YMMV. Often as a right handed player I have kind of wished I played a lefty bass from the start, instead of a bass normal for my dominant hand, simply because there just has to be an advantage to using your dominant hand for fretting :slight_smile:

Josh is a lefty and does just fine with his right handed basses.


Once in a while that thought crosses my mind, so… what gives?

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I am ambi; there are somethings I do right handed, some left handed. Most things I do with either hand. I don’t have a dominent hand.

I play right handed; feels comfortable, see no reason to experiment with my left hand. Easier to buy and sell instruments.


My dad is a lefty so all of us are pretty well ambidextrous after watching him do so much with his left hand. My brothers are closer to truly ambidextrous than I am. One batted lefty in baseball and the other was a switch hitter.

We all play instruments righty. Dad doesn’t play, but one brother plays guitar and the other is learning. They both find it easier making chord shapes with their left hands. Plus the instruments are easier to find.


I’m a lefty, but it is all very specific to every task.
Writing, throwing a baseball or football I do lefty and can’t do well righty.
Golf, hockey, bowling, frisbee I do right handed and can’t do it well lefty.
Throwing darts, shooting a basketball and random other stuff I’m fairly ambidextrous.

When I picked up a guitar/bass for the first time right handed felt natural and left handed felt awful. So for me it never usually comes down to which way I want to learn something, one way just makes more sense to me and feels way better than the other.


I’m just starting out …like I’m on the second module… I mentioned earlier that I had broken my wrist five years ago (crappy St. Valentine’s day…). Broke is really more like shattered the tip of the radius . Anyway…it hurts to play the frets with my index especially . Today, I flipped my right -hand bass over and played it with my bad hand picking and the right fretting. OMG. So much easier. My right hand is holding the bass correctly. My fingers straight up, not wanting to curl over. The bad hand is picking happily. I 'm VERY right handed, so this is all a bit of a shock. Now the kicker. I’m borrowing a bass while I see if this is going to work for me. How horrible is it to play the bass upside down? I practiced on the correct string, but then practice again in the correct position. i.e. I’ll play the riff on the E string as instructed, but the will practice again on the G string because it is in the E’s spot. I doubt know. Sigh…decisions

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Edit Before I forget, Guitar Pro (and perhaps other, free software) will let you load a tab file, and then you can easily change the tuning of the strings and it will recalculate the fretting, if you decide to go upside down…

Edit 2 I would say, if you are going to play strung upside down, you should prioritize learning the fretboard and musical notation. That would make your life immeasurably easier, imo. I play a 5-string bass and have taken to learning songs in alternate tunings without changing the tuning of my instrument because I can read (not rapidly lol) notation :smiley:

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@achavez47, if you haven’t bought a bass yet you could also look at buying a left hand bass. It sounds to me like that would be the way for you to go.

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