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Thread: Left-Handed Players

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Left-Handed Players

    I got an inquiry this morning from a new member regarding a Left-Handed Mandolin Players Group. I see one social group. Are there any others and are they active? I do realize at least one of the longtime members that is left-handed plays right-handed.

    It would be great if the information that some of you have developed over the years could be shared with new players. Please consider looking at that group or if there are more letting us know the names.

    My input on the subject has been pretty much limited to discussing converting right-handed A style mandolins to lefty's. Beyond that I have little to offer.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I’m left handed and play right handed, it seems to me there are several here in my similar canoe.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    I’m left handed and play right handed, it seems to me there are several here in my similar canoe.
    Funny, 'twas you I was thinking of.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Wow, I’m flattered!
    I feel like I’ve voiced my opinion on the subject way too often. Playing righty has some serious advantages not the least of which is the ability to walk into any music store and play 95% of the mandolins on the wall. Besides, I’m really a cheap so and so who would never pony up for a special instrument, did I say i was cheap?
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Wow, I’m flattered!
    It was that night we spent in the slammer. It was all you could talk about. That's why I broke out that next day.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Probably why I was in the big house in the first place!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Chris Thile is a lefty who plays righty.

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Another lefty who plays righty. At this point in my life, have come to realize it's a more accurate description to say I'm a right handed person who writes and uses eating utensils left handed. All sports and instruments are done right handed. And am right eye dominant.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    A little over a year ago I was looking to learn mandolin and took some good advice about learning to play right handed (even though I am a lefty). Never having played a fretted instrument (I am a percussionist/drummer), it all made sense to me and I bought a right handed mandolin. The following six months I struggled with getting a good feel for the instrument. Yes, I was learning some things, but it just did not feel right to me. Not only that, but after 6 months trying to play right handed, my air guitar stance was still lefty. At that point I decided to purchase a very cheap ($80) lefty mandolin toy off ebay to see how it felt. As soon as I started playing it....I started to feel comfortable with it, and knew that I was going to play lefty going forward.
    So, for me...playing lefty is the way to go. The good thing is that I still have my right handed mandolin and I pick that up a couple times a week for some short right handed play. Lefty will be my primary play mode, but I like to challenge myself to try to at least form some chords and get a good strum down right handed as well.
    I have only been at this for for a very short time, but I am really liking how I am feeling the instrument now.
    I have since bought an Eastman MD404 that Mass Street Music converted to lefty for me. Great job by the way. And Ken Ratcliff is in the process of building me a lefty Silver Angel Fantasma! I am so stoked about that. Hope to have it some time soon.
    Last edited by martynic; Dec-07-2019 at 10:58pm.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by martynic View Post
    A little over a year ago I was looking to learn mandolin and took some good advice about learning to play right handed (even though I am a lefty). Never having played a fretted instrument (I am a percussionist/drummer), it all made sense to me and I bought a right handed mandolin. The following six months I struggled with getting a good feel for the instrument. Yes, I was learning some things, but it just did not feel right to me. Not only that, but after 6 months trying to play right handed, my air guitar stance was still lefty. At that point I decided to purchase a very cheap ($80) lefty mandolin toy off ebay to see how it felt. As soon as I started playing it....I started to feel comfortable with it, and knew that I was going to play lefty going forward.
    So, for me...playing lefty is the way to go. The good thing is that I still have my right handed mandolin and I pick that up a couple times a week for some short right handed play. Lefty with be my primary play mode, but since I had a six month head start with right hand play, I try to copy some of the things I learned via lefty.
    I have only been at this for for a very short time, but I am really liking how I am feeling the instrument now.
    I have since bought an Eastman MD404 that Mass Street Music converted to lefty for me. Great job by the way. And Ken Ratcliff is in the process of building me a lefty Silver Angel Fantasma! I am so stoked about that. Hope to have it some time soon.
    Wow...thats my story as well including being a drummer / percussionist (left handed.. both). My story varies slightly...tried right handed guitar years ago. Brought it back out a few months ago and I just don't feel natural playing it. So, this time I went directly to a left handed mandolin. Talking to some one that teaches mandolin and he said "learn to play right handed"...then at a music store the other day the owner said the same thing about learning right handed...guess they just want to take on right handed students. I did tell the guy at the music store that he was not really doing anyone any favors by suggesting learning right handed when you're a left handed person...anyway, after having my left handed Eastman MD-305 I can say how much more natural it all feels and how much more pleasurable it is to play. I look forward to practicing every day. Watching on line lessons for now and it's easy as most say ...index finger on the d string at the second fret etc...easy for me t least. Glad it worked out for the left way.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Roon View Post
    Wow...thats my story as well including being a drummer / percussionist (left handed.. both). My story varies slightly...tried right handed guitar years ago. Brought it back out a few months ago and I just don't feel natural playing it. So, this time I went directly to a left handed mandolin. Talking to some one that teaches mandolin and he said "learn to play right handed"...then at a music store the other day the owner said the same thing about learning right handed...guess they just want to take on right handed students. I did tell the guy at the music store that he was not really doing anyone any favors by suggesting learning right handed when you're a left handed person...anyway, after having my left handed Eastman MD-305 I can say how much more natural it all feels and how much more pleasurable it is to play. I look forward to practicing every day. Watching on line lessons for now and it's easy as most say ...index finger on the d string at the second fret etc...easy for me t least. Glad it worked out for the left way.
    That is great Don! Enjoy the journey. I know I am!
    I am finding that percussion experience is really helping with hand coordination and rhythms.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by martynic View Post
    That is great Don! Enjoy the journey. I know I am!
    I am finding that percussion experience is really helping with hand coordination and rhythms.
    I agree....I hardly think about my left hand....just working on chords.
    Good luck ! Enjoy !
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Sports related. Saw an old interview with baseball player Mickey Mantle who hit both right and left handed. The only thing he did left-handed was hit. Absolutely nothing else. Everything else he did, he did right-handed.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    I'm left-handed and play right-handed (if you can call it playing).

    Like a lot of lefties, I have an extremely stupid right hand. For instance, I can only get a fast tremolo if I use finger picks. Which is illegal in most states.

  20. #15

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by martynic View Post
    A little over a year ago I was looking to learn mandolin and took some good advice about learning to play right handed (even though I am a lefty). Never having played a fretted instrument (I am a percussionist/drummer), it all made sense to me and I bought a right handed mandolin. The following six months I struggled with getting a good feel for the instrument. Yes, I was learning some things, but it just did not feel right to me. Not only that, but after 6 months trying to play right handed, my air guitar stance was still lefty. At that point I decided to purchase a very cheap ($80) lefty mandolin toy off ebay to see how it felt. As soon as I started playing it....I started to feel comfortable with it, and knew that I was going to play lefty going forward.
    So, for me...playing lefty is the way to go. The good thing is that I still have my right handed mandolin and I pick that up a couple times a week for some short right handed play. Lefty will be my primary play mode, but I like to challenge myself to try to at least form some chords and get a good strum down right handed as well.
    I have only been at this for for a very short time, but I am really liking how I am feeling the instrument now.
    I have since bought an Eastman MD404 that Mass Street Music converted to lefty for me. Great job by the way. And Ken Ratcliff is in the process of building me a lefty Silver Angel Fantasma! I am so stoked about that. Hope to have it some time soon.
    You're making a great point.

    I've been playing guitar for over fifty years and have never been able to get a good alternating bass going. About a year ago I attended a guitar workshop with drop-D mavin Bennett Hammond. He does a great alternating bass and was trying to show me something that I just couldn't get.

    I finally said, "Sorry, I have a stupid right hand."

    He said, "What? You're left-handed?"

    Yup.

    He said, "You'll never be able to do it!" (Duh.)

    Then he launched into a rant about teachers who force lefties to play righty.

    At this point, I can't even imagine relearning leftie. I do know a guy who played righty mando and guitar for years, then had an accident that ruined his right arm and had to switch to lefty. He sounds pretty good.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    You're making a great point.

    I've been playing guitar for over fifty years and have never been able to get a good alternating bass going. About a year ago I attended a guitar workshop with drop-D mavin Bennett Hammond. He does a great alternating bass and was trying to show me something that I just couldn't get.

    I finally said, "Sorry, I have a stupid right hand."

    He said, "What? You're left-handed?"

    Yup.

    He said, "You'll never be able to do it!" (Duh.)

    Then he launched into a rant about teachers who force lefties to play righty.

    At this point, I can't even imagine relearning leftie. I do know a guy who played righty mando and guitar for years, then had an accident that ruined his right arm and had to switch to lefty. He sounds pretty good.

    Too bad you couldn't get that bass part down.

    Thinking about it you would be the perfect candidate to switch from playing right handed to playing left handed for several reasons;
    You know exactly what the chords are suppose to sound like.
    You know how the chords should look when you glance down at your hand ...and it wouldn't take you long to just transpose them in your head
    There are probably more used left handed guitars then mandolins but there are some inexpensive left handed mandolins you could work with.
    You might be surprised how easy your left hand adapts and how easy it is to make the chords with your right....
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    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
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    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
    Kevin
    I guess it all comes down to what you are more comfortable / confident doing.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by V70416 View Post
    Chris Thile is a lefty who plays righty.
    So is Tim O’Brien. Didn’t realize that until I saw him autograph a cd.
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  28. #20

    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Roon View Post
    Too bad you couldn't get that bass part down.

    Thinking about it you would be the perfect candidate to switch from playing right handed to playing left handed for several reasons;
    You know exactly what the chords are suppose to sound like.
    You know how the chords should look when you glance down at your hand ...and it wouldn't take you long to just transpose them in your head
    There are probably more used left handed guitars then mandolins but there are some inexpensive left handed mandolins you could work with.
    You might be surprised how easy your left hand adapts and how easy it is to make the chords with your right....
    Iíve been thinking about switching to lefty for sometime now. I grew up playing golf, guitar, drumming, opening cans, etc right handed...I write and throw/kick do things that require dexterity lefty. Now, I - with a capital I - believe thatís because back in the day there were not any/many lefty options around my area so I adapted.

    I feel Iíve hit a wall with speed and dexterity with my right hand...itís not my dominant hand and I have to will it to do what I want it to do. I have at times turned my mando/guitar over and played lefty...my left hand is so much smoother picking and itís zero effort to go fast.

    Iím not looking to get into a fight because I believe itís a personal choice and that people should check out their options. Itís not right or wrong to do so...there are options for a reason thus no right or wrong way. There are plenty of righties that do things lefty...Rafael Nadal (tennis) and Tua (AL football quarterback) are two righties I know of that taught themselves to play lefty. Phil Mickelson is a righty that plays golf lefty.

    Iím actually considering getting an inexpensive lefty and giving it a go.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    When playing any musical instrument it's what works for you. There will always be someone that says that your form is incorrect or you're working too hard. I'm reminded of a guitar player by the name of Chet Atkins who uses his thumb over the top of the fretboard to fret bass strings. It sure as hell never hurt him that he was doing it wrong. All of us have a level we will rise to that is totally dependent on what we put into things. Music should be an enjoyable experience for the player first. What the audience thinks becomes secondary. If you're left-handed and want to play left-handed just do it and don't worry about what anyone else says. The same thing applies to those that are left-handed and want to play right-handed. I'm right-handed and can't imagine playing left-handed.

    Just don't let anyone catch you using a capo on your mandolin.

    Just kidding, it's a tool, you can use it if you want to.

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

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    The vast majority (but not all) left-handers are able to adapt to playing the mandolin "right-handed," including some of the very best players, like Chris Thile and Tim O'Brien. I put those words in quotes because playing the mandolin requires skills with both hands. The same is true for the piano, and there is not much call for left-handed keyboards, after all. Those left-handers who play right-handed and have hit performance plateaus, and then blame these on their handedness, might just as well have hit plateaus for plenty of other reasons -- nearly all players experience plateaus, after all, regardless of handedness! As others have noted, over 90% of mandolins are right-handed, so if you play right-handed, you are guaranteed to have far greater choice in musical instruments and better bargains for purchase. Learning and lessons may also be easier.

    If you happen to be a lefty and so hand-dominant that you cannot even countenance learning right-handed, then you are likely going to have some problems training your non-dominant hand down the line, irrespective of whether it's doing the fretting or picking! Playing a stringed instrument is an intrinsically ambidextrous activity, after all.

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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by bigskygirl View Post
    I’ve been thinking about switching to lefty for sometime now. I grew up playing golf, guitar, drumming, opening cans, etc right handed...I write and throw/kick do things that require dexterity lefty. Now, I - with a capital I - believe that’s because back in the day there were not any/many lefty options around my area so I adapted.

    I feel I’ve hit a wall with speed and dexterity with my right hand...it’s not my dominant hand and I have to will it to do what I want it to do. I have at times turned my mando/guitar over and played lefty...my left hand is so much smoother picking and it’s zero effort to go fast.

    I’m not looking to get into a fight because I believe it’s a personal choice and that people should check out their options. It’s not right or wrong to do so...there are options for a reason thus no right or wrong way. There are plenty of righties that do things lefty...Rafael Nadal (tennis) and Tua (AL football quarterback) are two righties I know of that taught themselves to play lefty. Phil Mickelson is a righty that plays golf lefty.

    I’m actually considering getting an inexpensive lefty and giving it a go.

    I think also it had to do with who showed you how to do what.....my dad was right handed so he showed how to golf and bat right handed
    My older brother is left handed and he showed me how to throw and bowl so I learned that way. As I got older I noticed that I grabbed things with my left hand... first step is with left foot etc so for ME ...I now do everything left handed ....we live in a right handed world !
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  32. #24
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Roon View Post
    I think also it had to do with who showed you how to do what.....my dad was right handed so he showed how to golf and bat right handed
    My older brother is left handed and he showed me how to throw and bowl so I learned that way. As I got older I noticed that I grabbed things with my left hand... first step is with left foot etc so for ME ...I now do everything left handed ....we live in a right handed world !
    As every Marine will tell you regardless of handedness, the first step is always with the LEFT foot.
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    Default Re: Left-Handed Players

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stueve View Post
    As every Marine will tell you regardless of handedness, the first step is always with the LEFT foot.
    Ha! When I was in basic training in the Army I always got in trouble because my clothes faced the ďwrongĒ direction which was not the Army direction...I chuckle to this day when I am in my closet...guess I must hang my clothes left handed...
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