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Thread: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

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    Registered User pefjr's Avatar
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    Default Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Just a thought. 90% of us are right handed, so if you are left handed just reverse or inverse these thoughts.

    Ok, I'm looking at my mando play and it occurs to me that I am really not playing this thing right handed. My left hand is obviously working harder and more efficiently also. Check out your play and see. The right hand is picking away sure, but look at the talent the left fingers have in knowing where to fret and with at the speed of a bullet too, AND doing it upside down. Wow...... now try to cut your steak with the knife in your left hand, different story. Well anyway.........
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

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    Registered User Fran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    This is true for (almost) all stringed instruments (except harp and a few others)! And the other issue is that each hand does something different, unlike other instruments such as the piano or clarinet, where both hands do something similar. For violin it's even worse, bowing is very difficult to master. Indeed a "leftie" guitar or mando should in fact be called a "rightie". So for a right-handed person, playing mandolin or guitar is like acquiring skills of a leftie. Proof that we can all be ambidextrous...
    "People will be more impressed with your playing than the price of your instrument."

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    I noticed a long time ago that I have more dexterity with the fingers of my left hand, even though my right hand is my dominant hand. For instance, I can probably type 4x as fast with my left hand than my right. I attribute this to the fact that I play a lot of stringed instruments such as mandolin, guitar and bass. There's quite a few other things that I do with my left hand such as drink from a cup, etc., but I'm not ambidextrous; although it runs in my family.

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    For right-handed people the right hand should be doing the more important work.
    The left hand only has to find the notes, define the attack and release maybe a few other bits I've ignored.
    The real meat and potatoes work is done by the right hand, rhythm, dynamics, tone basically anything that's expressive and gives flow to the music. Because the right hand is so good at these things we tend to pay it less attention.
    The more I play instruments the more I've come to realise how the right hand is really where it's at for me.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    There are many people in the world that eat with the fork in their left hand. knife in the right hand.

    I see them even load the food, on what i'd call the under side of the fork..

    I have to switch hands to use right hand for both fork and knife..
    writing about music
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    I eat with the fork in my left and the knife in my right, it's called the continental way of dining. I didn't mention that because I've done that since I was a child, prior to my being a musician. My parents told me that it was wrong way to eat, but I would've been right at home in the UK, and was delighted when I watched people eat that way in the pubs.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    The left hand is the wheels, the right hand is the engine. You can turn the steering wheel all ya want but without the engine running you aint going anywhere.

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    Registered User neil argonaut's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    yeah here on this side of the atlantic, I've never seen anyone use the fork on the right; kinda supposed it was the same in the states but obviously not; I'm left handed but play right handed and eat right handed (for over here); but definitely feel the right hand is the more important; it's the one that fails first when increasing beyond comfortable speed.

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    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    For right-handed people the right hand should be doing the more important work.
    The left hand only has to find the notes, define the attack and release maybe a few other bits I've ignored.
    The real meat and potatoes work is done by the right hand, rhythm, dynamics, tone basically anything that's expressive and gives flow to the music. Because the right hand is so good at these things we tend to pay it less attention.
    The more I play instruments the more I've come to realise how the right hand is really where it's at for me.
    I can't agree more. I've always focused on the right hand, that's where the hard work is. I look at it this way, when you're reading a piece of music, it's your left hand that takes care of the pitch of the notes, what goes on up and down the staff. It's really pretty easy to learn which finger plays which note, and what the pitch is.

    Now the rhythm of the music is what happens left to right on the sheet of music. That is the hard stuff! Its what give us the fits and is the hardest to master, by far. And it's all controlled by the right hand.

    Look at it another way, try playing a very simple string of notes, say the first few bars of Mary Had a Little Lamb. Now ignore the rhythm and play the same series of notes, but assign random time intervals to each note. You end up with an unrecognizable piece of music. Which is pretty much what happens when I try to sight read an unfamiliar sheet of music, since I suck at it.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    One thing Mike Marshall emphasizes on the Academy of Bluegrass Mandolin School is that the right hand leads, the left hand follows. He says the right is where he puts most of his personal practice and that right hand technique is a big differentiator with great players.

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.


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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    So bogus!

    When it's a right-hander, it's always "the right hand powers the instrument", but if a lefty asks which side they should play from...they are continually told to "play right-handed so the dominant hand can fret the notes." So which is it? If fretting with the dominant is so much better for the lefties, then how come all the righties are still fretting with the left?

    Manipulating a bow is 500%+ more complex in terms of control than hitting the strings with a pick. I can see bowing with the right (for RHers) being an overall advantage. (But again, why is that lefties are discouraged from playing fiddle/violin left-handed?) And the sonic options of the bow far far exceed anything that can be done with a pick.

    Actually, for mandolin in general, as it is conventionally played, the right hand is pretty limited in scope in what it does. "Faster" seems to be the major preoccupation. (The classical players have much greater right-hand capabilites and technique, though.) Compared with guitarists who incorporate fingerstyle or pick+fingers, two-handed tapping, various muting techniques, numerous attack angles etc. etc. etc., the mando RH is pretty simplistic. (How many mando pickers have incorporated the free hand for additional sonic/tonal reasons.) For that matter, even the (mando) left hand is limited in comparison - no bending, no vibrato, limited slurring.....

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Oh oh (Niles!)...another heretic daring to "minimize" the lowly plectrum

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    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flynn View Post
    One thing Mike Marshall emphasizes on the Academy of Bluegrass Mandolin School is that the right hand leads, the left hand follows. He says the right is where he puts most of his personal practice and that right hand technique is a big differentiator with great players.
    Check out Thile's right hand technique . . . that's where his amazing precision and touch comes from.

    If you really want to confuse things, talk to a southpaw about whether they feel they should play left-handed or right-handed. I have a buddy who is a southpaw, except he learned guitar as a righty. He really struggled whether to try to learn the guitar as a lefty or a righty, and ended up playing righty just because there were more right-handed instruments available. After a few years, he still didn't feel comfortable driving the rhythm with his right hand, to the point where he seriously considered going back and relearning the instrument left handed. The learning curve for that was more than he wanted to plow through.

    I can understand why the dominant hand is the one that drives the rhythm. Ultimately both hands have to coordinate perfectly, and that's a tall order, so I'm not sure it makes sense to think one is more talented than the other.
    Clark Beavans

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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Check out Thile's right hand technique . . . that's where his amazing precision and touch comes from.
    CT is a left-hander, btw

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    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Quote Originally Posted by tree View Post
    Check out Thile's right hand technique . . . that's where his amazing precision and touch comes from.

    If you really want to confuse things, talk to a southpaw about whether they feel they should play left-handed or right-handed. I have a buddy who is a southpaw, except he learned guitar as a righty. He really struggled whether to try to learn the guitar as a lefty or a righty, and ended up playing righty just because there were more right-handed instruments available. After a few years, he still didn't feel comfortable driving the rhythm with his right hand, to the point where he seriously considered going back and relearning the instrument left handed. The learning curve for that was more than he wanted to plow through.

    I can understand why the dominant hand is the one that drives the rhythm. Ultimately both hands have to coordinate perfectly, and that's a tall order, so I'm not sure it makes sense to think one is more talented than the other.

    I have a good friend who is left handed. He plays right handed guitar and mandolin, mainly because he didn't have a left handed instrument when he started. But he also plays fiddle, and plays it left handed.

    That's too weird for me, LOL.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Too many activities encourage us to live (and play) out of balance. One thing I recommend to help integrate: (windsurfing, skiing), and playing drums/percussion. In all styles of drumming, the rudiments are founded in evenness--as with "picking," one is required to execute one sound after another with as much evenness as possible (articulation comes later). If one pursues hand-drumming, one soon learns how every part and area of the hand is used to effect sound. In stick (kit) drumming, it's not just about how we strike the drum, but rather how to coordinate the entire body--necessary to render each stroke and inflection in time; there is so much MORE going on between the beats--that the body must master and regulate--in order to place ones strokes properly. If you sit behind a kit, your body will soon assimilate everything about the rhythmic elements of music...before you even play a note/beat. Your body will feel the music, and the "notes" you impart will express pieces, parts, aspects, elements--of the total music. Being a rhythmatist--a percussionist--makes it easy to understand the entirety of the rhythmic aspect of music. Then you can deconstruct, as desired, to make it interesting

    Etc.

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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    I started out left handed, and still write and mouse with the left, but play all things string conventionally (right handed). Even at 50 im getting less and less hand dominant. Probably because i started piano in June. Wish there was a Piano Caf'e.

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    Groucho Marxist Geordie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Austin Bob View Post
    I have a good friend who is left handed. He plays right handed guitar and mandolin, mainly because he didn't have a left handed instrument when he started. But he also plays fiddle, and plays it left handed.

    That's too weird for me, LOL.
    I play ukulele left handed, but play a right handed mando flipped upside down so I can play that left handed,too. With the uke, the fretting hand does all the work, so perhaps I'm having difficulties with the mando because I'm not giving the strumming hand enough attention. Hmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    One thing I recommend to help integrate: ...playing drums/percussion.
    True! I started out as a drummer (playing a right handed kit left handed) and now have a rock-solid sense of timing. I recommend it.
    Let's all go back to 78 rpm!

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    Registered User rb3868's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    My left hand has always been better than my right, but I disagree about the left hand doing harder work. the different picking patterns and strumming patterns with my left hand - forget about it. of course, my left hand is better at catching a ball, too, but I could never throw lefty with any accuracy

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    .. no your other left hand.
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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    When playing the mandolin maybe that's the way that you perceive your playing to be - more left,less right. Now,if you took up playing Bluegrass Banjo,your perception would be that your right hand was 'maybe' doing more than your left. You're doing only what needs to be done on any particular instrument. If you took up playing a traditionally wind powered Church organ,you'd have to use both hands & both feet. You do what needs to be done,no more is necessary (IMHO),
    Ivan
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    When playing the mandolin maybe that's the way that you perceive your playing to be - more left,less right. Now,if you took up playing Bluegrass Banjo,your perception would be that your right hand was 'maybe' doing more than your left. You're doing only what needs to be done on any particular instrument. If you took up playing a traditionally wind powered Church organ,you'd have to use both hands & both feet. You do what needs to be done,no more is necessary (IMHO),
    Ivan
    I will add two things: 1) To the title of the thread: Hands are not "talented," people are. That wording has sent this thread off in some interesting directions, but I think the real question is how hard are two hands working and how much is their coordination challenged. 2) Like a lot of threads, we've gotten more than one discussion going on: leftys vs. righties and picking hand vs. fretting hand, just to name the main ones. I think the latter discussion is the more productive for most players.

    For that discussion, it seems that most of the big name players emphasize the picking hand over the fretting hand, whichever "handed" you choose to be. There are a lot of high-coordination activities (martial arts and competitive rifle shooting in my life) where everything needs to coordinate, but one side leads slightly and the other follows. To Ivan's point, that is "what needs to be done" on mandolin. The pipe organ may be an exception!

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is your left hand more talented than your right.

    Having played the mandolin for over 45 years I feel qualified to make some observations.

    In my mind and many other pickers, the right hand is the most important. As an earlier post said it does the most to differentiate between pickers. It contains your angle of attack on the strings and your general ability to lead deal. 90% of Monroe picking is right hand technique. The same holds true for wizards like Thile

    Now to left handed and right handed people. I am left handed and play mandolin right handed. With that in mind, I believe I am slightly handicapped on my right hand dexterity, but I make up some ground with my left. I have always been a good Monroe chopper and down stroker with the right hand, but I never developed the light touch right hand wizardry of some others.

    I believe Thile is left handed also. With that in mind he has it all going for him if you concentrate on that right hand
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