Re: Left handed beginner

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Posted by Rich Laird on November 27, 2000 at 07:40:09:

In Reply to: Left handed beginner posted by Joel on November 25, 2000 at 17:22:14:

: A poet by nature, I fell in love with this instrument the other night: an upright
: bass. This guy really held his group together; brought them back when they strayed,
: gave them a strong, soulful rhythm. I've decided to look into playing it myself.
: Right off the bat, I noticed that his right hand was on the neck, while mine would
: be the left. You would think I'd know if I'm a southpaw or not, but consider this:
: I paint with my right hand and throw a football with my left. With my left hand
: on the neck, is that the norm or not? Also, ANY advice you can give a beginner would
: be appreciated.

I am a confirmed lefty...writing, throwing, swinging a bat - you name it. I've also been a professional bassist - both double bass and bass guitar - in all kinds of musical venues from symphony orchestras to jazz to FallingDownDrunkontheDanceFloor beer bars. And all that has been the normal way (typically called "right-handed"). That's also how I played the 'cello and the six-string guitar. Why? First because I had good teachers who taught me that way - never even asking whether I'm right handed or left-handed (it doesn't really matter). The point is that for every so-called "left-handed" instrument out there, there are about a zillion so-called "right-handed" instruments.

I really think that if you take up any string instrument you're taking on a big unnecessary hassle if you try to learn left-handed. You probably - with some difficulty - can find a lefty bass (Bob Gollihur can have one made for you: But if you're ever in a situation where you have a playing opportunity that involves another instrument, you're out of luck. Since the bass is a large instrument, there likely will be times where tranportation issues mean that you may want/need to play someone else's axe. So, trying to play lefty is asking for some problems and doesn't have any real advantages.

I've never known anyone who plays left-handed because they are left-handed.
I can remember two guitar players I've known who play lefty. One had an injury to one of the fingers on his left hand that prevented him from using it for fingering. Another one was pretty much self-taught and no one had ever explained to hime that he was holding the instrument upside down. I always heard that Paul McCartney played lefty so that he could share a mic with George (back when they couldn't really afford microphones!).

So, get a regular bass, a good teacher, and get those poetic juices flowing. And like the man says, let's hope the inspiration outlasts the blood, seat, and blisters!

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