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Thread: Left-Handed Players

  1. #26

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Jimi Hendrix was naturally left handed. His father tried to force him to play righty. That didn't take.

    Now I want to get a left hander mando and string it up to play right handered just to mess with dyslexics. And pay homage to Jimi.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I'm another lefty that plays right. Seems like there are a lot of us out there! I started on violin, teacher wouldn't even consider left hand. Transition to guitar and mandolin followed later right handed.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I'm a lefty that plays right. It was the only way to survive being the only lefty in a family of 6 kids relying on hand-me-downs.

    I play finger-style guitar which requires just as much dexterity with the right as left so aside from the expense of getting left-handed gear, I think it comes down to how you learn. That said, I'm a pro artist and couldn't draw my way out of a wet paper bag with my right hand to save my life.
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  4. #29

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Iím a dominant lefty and could never play righty. Like many things, I think handedness falls on a spectrum and some leftyís can play righty, while for others itís not feasible. Itís hard enough to play an instrument, why fight your natural inclination?
    Having access to more instruments would be nice, but most builders will build a lefty for the same price, and all A models can be flipped with a new nut and saddle.

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  6. #30
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I’ve never seen a left handed keyboard! You need both hands to make many things work, it’s just how you teach yourself (or are taught) that makes it easy or difficult.
    I think we’ve covered this ground more than once.
    And by keyboard I’m talking both musical as well as what we are communicating with right here.
    Later.
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  7. #31
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    I’ve never seen a left handed keyboard!...And by keyboard I’m talking both musical as well as what we are communicating with right here.
    Later.
    Let me know if you'd like to try one and I'll make you one as long as you're in Windows. Beyond switching the keys and creating the map so it actually does what it's supposed to do I don't see a huge market but I can do it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  9. #32
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
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  11. #33
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    That would be a shock.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  13. #34
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I know a few lefties and they don’t have it easy. I don’t know why they are in such a minority. You would think that it would be 50% of the people on earth. Strange. Some tools are more difficult for them like scissors.

    As far as stronger musicians there are those who learn on left handed instruments which require finding or commissioning one and those who play a right hand instrument upside down. Those folks just adapt and often have a unique sounding style. I believe Libba Cotton was like that. I have a friend who plays both mandolin and guitar and probably banjo too that way. He can play any standard right hand instrument but he plays bass lines with his fingers and melody lines with his thumb. Plus his finger picking is strange to watch. Great musician though.
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  15. #35
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    Chris Thile is a lefty who plays righty.
    As is Adam Steffey. Interesting thing is that Adam's first teacher was a lefty that played lefty.
    Out of tune and out of time.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Algreen View Post
    I’m a dominant lefty and could never play righty. Like many things, I think handedness falls on a spectrum and some lefty’s can play righty, while for others it’s not feasible. It’s hard enough to play an instrument, why fight your natural inclination?
    Having access to more instruments would be nice, but most builders will build a lefty for the same price, and all A models can be flipped with a new nut and saddle.
    Well, I both agree and disagree with this. Yes, it's surely true that hand dominance falls on a spectrum, and some folks seems to be rather strongly left- or right-handed, while others are closer to being completely ambidextrous. This is partly a matter of nature (genetics) and partly of nurture (hand skill experience).

    However, if you are so hand dominant as a lefty that you cannot countenance playing as a righty (as you contend), then it seems to me that you're bound to run into some trouble down the line! After all, playing any stringed instrument well requires nearly equal facility with both hands, not just one or the other. Yes, fretting and picking are very different skills, but they both -- independently -- require considerable coordination. Who is to say which hand has an intrinsically "harder" skill to perform than the other, or that requires any particular level of hand dominance, for that matter? When playing right-handed, after all, it's the left hand that frets the string first, before the right hand picks it. So, one can argue that the left hand is actually the 'dominant' hand, in the strict sense that it always leads, while the right hand follows. Also, considerably greater force is demanded of the left-hand fingers (to fret) than the right (to grasp the pick). So maybe playing 'right-handed' actually favors lefties, a bit? Certainly, being left-handed has not hurt Chris Thile's playing one bit!

    Ultimately, good playing calls for good dexterity in both hands. Excessively strong hand dominance works against this, regardless of whichever hand it is. You need to train your non-dominant hand to be dextrous, too. It can be done! For instruments that aren't available with mirror-image versions for left-handed people, like pianos, there are still plenty of terrific left-handed players. So I cannot accept the notion that some left-handed person "could never play righty." I think that's bunk.

    Full disclosure: I am left-handed, and I play mandolin, guitar, and banjo righty. Sure wish I could play mandolin like Thile, but that's not gonna happen!

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  18. #37

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I think there are some people who are so lefty they could not play righty. If youíre a lefty who has never played a stringed instrument before get a lefty and try it. Iím sure there are righties who play lefty...in fact hereís a whole business devoted to lefty guitars, etc...run by a righty.

    https://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/index.html
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  19. #38

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
    Here’s one...https://www.jerrysleftyguitars.com/index.html

    And a whole bunch on this list... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List...ay_left-handed

    Interesting how there are so many combos for lefty playing but righty is basically just one way, I mean I have not heard of a righty turning a lefty guitar upside down, or restringing, etc...
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    As someone who is 'mostly' a lefty I think it is simply what was presented to us when we started playing. We learned to do it that way. In almost all cases it involved strumming with the right hand and pressing down on the strings with the left hand. The right and left hands are both doing 'something'. Both hands require significant training to master the task at hand. I just don't see anything that says that the dominant hand must strum, and the non-dominant must press down the frets.
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  22. #40
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    As far as stronger musicians there are those who learn on left handed instruments which require finding or commissioning one and those who play a right hand instrument upside down. Those folks just adapt and often have a unique sounding style. I believe Libba Cotton was like that. I have a friend who plays both mandolin and guitar and probably banjo too that way. He can play any standard right hand instrument but he plays bass lines with his fingers and melody lines with his thumb. Plus his finger picking is strange to watch. Great musician though.
    Here you go:

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  23. #41
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyPickin View Post
    As is Adam Steffey. Interesting thing is that Adam's first teacher was a lefty that played lefty.
    That probably was helpful—sort of like watching someone else in a mirror.
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  24. #42
    Registered User lex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
    I'm right-handed but play lefty due to an injury to my left middle finger which makes it impossible to make some important chord shapes with that hand. For me, playing melody is much easier than playing rythm with my non-dominant hand. I'll often tap out a tricky rythm with my right hand to figure out the groove before implementing it with my left. This is a fairly big hurdle for me especially since rythm is such a big part of mandolin playing.

    It sort of surprises me that anyone would choose to play with their non-dominant hand these days. I guess it puts a damper on some of the social aspects of sampling other people's instruments if you're playing left-handed but, you can find good left-handed mandolins at all price ranges. The Mandolin Store has had lefty Eastman, Collings, Breedlove, and Pava at various times. One of the prettiest blonde Collings with tortoise binding I've ever seen just showed up in the classified and it was Lefty.

    I'm not sure I'd be happier with access to more instruments but I'm pretty sure I'd be happier if I could be using my dominant hand to pick with.

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  26. #43
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
    Ryan Thomson aka Captain Fiddle in NH. Developed focal dystonia which left him unable to bow with his right hand. Rather than give up fiddle, he started all over playing left-handed and got quite good on the other side. The dystonia did not interfere with his playing mandolin, banjo, accordion so he continues to play those right handed. He wrote a book about left-handed fiddle playing.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Playing-Violin...d/dp/093187742




    BTW, Steve Vai and John Otway and a few others can play guitar from either side.

    This whole thing about "both hands are equal playing the mandolin" is horse manure. If you were talking about playing tin whistle, where it's just a matter of which hand is on top, I might agree with you. If it is so "equal" then why can you dig a hole from a lefty stance (L foot on spade, R hand forward on handle)? Simplify it further...shovel snow from the left side (R foot forward, L hand on the end of the handle... Bang some nails with the hammer in the left...right hand only has to initially hold the nail. How about sawing a board lefty with a hand saw?

    Face it, about the only thing most right handers consistently do with their left hand is to wipe their rear ends! And (guys) doing their biz at the urinal.

    I spent several year messing around with a lefty mandolin. I enjoyed it, going back to beginner levels (physically) didn't bother me, and it was great for insights on how one should teach the instrument, and how screwed up so many beginner methods actually were. But you only realize stuff like that if you've done it from both sides. (which most of the lefties-playing righty haven't done, so their evidence is only anecdotal in nature.) (You can click on the Comando/Mandozine interview link at the bottom of the post for further info)

    I've been training in martial arts for 25 years, and that is one of the most ambidextrous physical activities there is. I will also (intentionally as training) work the left side with hammers, saws, shovels, throwing etc. Talk to or read what neurologists have to say about ambidexterity exercise and the benefits on the brain. They call it neurobics, though it also includes exercising the other senses to sharpen those.
    wikipedia. Brain_training
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
    Absolutely! Lefty instrument dealer, Jerry Welch is righthanded but had an right hand injury as a carpenter. So, he switched to playing left handed. I am sure there are others out there who have had similar experiences.

  29. #45

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stueve View Post
    Left handed, play right handed, play guitar right handed, mastered alternating bass 30 years ago. Everytime this discussion comes up, I'm in the minority. I cannot imagine trying to fret with my non dominant hand. I can easily learn picking (even finger picking for guitar) with non dominant hand, but fretting always seems to me to be the more complicated end. I know I know the whole world disagrees with me. Still that is my opinion
    Yup. A lot of lefties have no problem doing fancy right-hand stuff. But a lot of us do, too.

    So, yeah, you might be in the minority, but I doubt many people disagree with you. We're all wired differently. Just count yourself among the lucky!

    For what it's worth, Joni Mitchell developed her guitar style because she couldn't get any Gary Davis-style thumb work going. Pete Townsend created his style because he couldn't compete with Hendrix's and Clapton's lightning leads.

    I'm no Joni or Jimi or Eric, but I've developed a style I like and that gets pubs inviting me back. So it would be cool to have do slick thumb work like Jorma K. or Richard Thompson, but I have a good time with what I do do.

    That ain't the Hokey Pokey, but it's what it's all about!

  30. #46
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    The reality is there is no binary "handedness." It's NOT digital. It's an analog spectrum that runs from not being able to use your non-dominant hand to being fully ambidextrous. We all fall somewhere on this spectrum. Some of us move along the spectrum.

    I grew up using my left hand to write, throw, and eat. Sports felt more natural as a lefty. When I started violin I learned righty. Both hands were pretty awkward at violining at first. But I learned, and stuck with standard convention on guitar, bass and later mandolin. I've learned to do somethings like write, swing a hammer, wield a knife and and use power tools righty, or more accurately ambidextrously.

    Consequently, I know I have more in common with righties than militant lefties who buy left handed scissors, coffe mugs, spiral notebooks and instruments.

    As always I'll close with the observation that about 11% of the US population is left handed. I've spent my entire adult life (almost 40 years) in the nuclear power and propulsion field. Easily 40 - 50 % of the people working in this field are lefties (aka sinister).

  31. #47
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian
    This whole thing about "both hands are equal playing the mandolin" is horse manure..... If it is so "equal" then why can you dig a hole from a lefty stance (L foot on spade, R hand forward on handle)? Simplify it further...shovel snow from the left side (R foot forward, L hand on the end of the handle... Bang some nails with the hammer in the left...right hand only has to initially hold the nail. How about sawing a board lefty with a hand saw?

    Niles H
    I do all those things both ways to not preferentially wear out one arm/elbow/shoulder etc. Just like rotating tires.

  32. #48
    Registered User Tom Sanderson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I’m another lefty that plays righty.

  33. #49
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I wonder if there are any right-handed folks who opted to pay lefty. Maybe somewhere in the world, like in a mirror or another dimension?
    I know a VERY good banjo player who switched from righty to lefty (hed some problems with right hand so switched necks adn re-learned). Took him 6 months till he started playing lefty on public but played also righty. after year or so switched fully to lefty and had a new neck made for his Gibson. It's all in the brain.
    Adrian

  34. #50

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    The reality is there is no binary "handedness." It's NOT digital. It's an analog spectrum that runs from not being able to use your non-dominant hand to being fully ambidextrous.
    While I agree it's not hard and fast, there is some underlying biology that makes it more difficult for some.

    In the book "The Wonder of Boys" the author, a doctor, discusses what happens during fetal development in the context of boys brains being wired differently from girls. According to him there is a point during development when the brain gets "wired" to the nervous system and, whereas in girls the wiring is consistent across the left and right lobes of the brain, in males the connections get hard-wired primarily into one side. He explains this as the reason girls are better at multi-tasking than boys who tend to only be able to do one thing well at a time.

    It's long been taught that certain parts of the brain perform certain functions and since dexterity is one of those functions, which handedness you are will presuppose you being better at some things than others. As with most things we can learn to compensate for the way we're wired with time and effort, but it is harder for some than others because of the underlying biology.
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