A Left Handed Musician's Life

I know the population of right handed people surpasses the population of left handed people, but why is life drastically more inconvenient for lefties? At my college, there is only one, if any, left handed desk in each room; if I do not sit at that desk, I have to sit at a right handed desk, which writing then becomes a problem. Writing itself is a problem alone, as we smudge over what we write all the time. I could think of more examples of how living left handed becomes a problem, but I would rather save time and get to the real struggle for left handed people: Music.

I am a left handed bass guitar player, left handed drum player, and left handed upright bass player, and all are a problem for their own reasons. First, it is important that I mention that any left handed instrument costs more than its right handed counterpart, sometimes it is $50 (usual for bass guitar), but other times it is almost $300 (usual for upright bass). Now I will explain my reason for each.

Firstly, playing bass guitar left handed may not seem like a problem at first, but I will explain. I went to Guitar Center yesterday, and guess what I did not see. That's right, NO LEFT HANDED BASSES. Out of the hundreds of guitars and basses Guitar Center had, there were only 4 or 5 left handed instruments, and they were all guitars, not basses. I sat down with a right handed bass (that I want left handed, but it is discontinued) and turned it upside-down, but it is not the same. That brings me to my next point: left handed bass options are very few. I want certain types of basses, but they are not even made. It is not fair because everything is available right handed.

Next, drums are a minor problem; it is more of an annoyance. Since I play drums left handed, the drum-set is mirrored. Every drum set I encounter is ALWAYS set up right handed, therefore I never get to play, unless I take the effort out to mirror the drums, and rearrange them back when I'm done. What a total bother.

Lastly, upright bass is pain in the neck left handed. Since the upright bass is not symmetrical, switching the strings around will not yield typical left handed contact. Using the bow in my left hand, I often hit the waist of the bass (the part of the bass that goes inward, sort of like an hourglass) resulting in me messing up. It does not sound the way it is supposed to when the strings are switched (because of the insides of the bass). In addition, I cannot play in any orchestras because all players in an orchestra play right handed, regardless of their dominant hand. To get my own bass, I need to custom order it, built from the ground up left handed, which can cost $2000 (minimally).

I get really upset trying to look for left handed bass guitars online because I can never find what I'm looking for. The bad part about ordering any instrument online is that one will not get to try it, especially for lefties, since we pretty much have to order all of our instruments online. I am prideful about being left handed, but sometimes it just ruins everything.
Mathew249 Mathew249
18-21, M
3 Responses Dec 29, 2011

Although I hardly consider myself a guitar pla<x>yer or musician, I do have a guitar and know a few chords. It is a right-handed guitar with the bridge and nut turned upside down and restrung. Holding a guitar to play right-handed would not be an option, it just feels way too awkward to hold it that way, much less play.

OMG, I am replying to my own comment. If it's good enough for Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain (to name a few) it's good enough for everyone else. LOL :)

I know what you are saying, we all usually end up in too deep so it's too late to try to play the wrong way round. All the lefties you mentioned play "properly". I've seen some play with the strings still strung for a right handed person, that looks just so wrong. But then most of them that play that way are just strummers. I have to say if I had to start again I'd be the same, I cant even sit with a guitar the other way around I'm totally useless.

30 years of playing guitar and its always been a nightmare going into shops, 100's of right handed guitars from cheap to vastly expensive and only a token leftie that I'm not interested in, and guess what, it's usually not in tune and covered in dust. luckily I've collected many lefties acoustic, bass and electric, Strats/Teles/Les Pauls etc unfortunately it is a right handed world and the companies that make the instruments are not bothered about the small market for lefties and have to add a 20% premium for short run stuff, it's all about making money pushing more products. My theory is everyone learns to play guitars the wrong way round, your strongest hand should be on the frets, think about it!!! But as beginners we all think the strumming hand is most prominent as we don't know what to do with our fretting hand at that stage. Good luck in your search I'm sure once you've found the instruments you need you can then concentrate on enjoying your music.

I have the same problem.<br />
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I am a left handed guitarist and had so much trouble finding a left handed guitar. I went to every music store and all of them had right handed guitars. I would find one left handed guitar but it would be too expensive. We live in a right handed world.

True that! All the left handed basses I manage to find are too expensive too. I wish the world was not like this, but what can we do...