Anything Left-Handed > Recreations > Music and Lefthanders > Other instruments

Other instruments

This page is for any information we come across on other instruments not covered on a specific page in our music section. it is also for you to add your own comments and ideas for things you would like us to follow up.

If there is sufficient interest or information about a particular instrument or group of intruments, we will create a dedicated page for it.

Please add your comments and ideas below.

Harps

The harp is one of the most ancient musical instruments and it is totally symmetrical! In other words, the strings are traditionally in the middle and   you can play on them with both hands. Modern harps tend to be “right handed” by putting the upper end of the strings to the left side of the harp, but even these instruments can be considered as ambidextrous. So the harp is a nice example of symmetry, helping every musician regardless of handedness.

If you are a harp player or know more about this please add your information as a comment below.

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83 comments on “Other instruments
  1. Ethan says:

    Yes, however the harp is normally played on the right shoulder causing the right hand to play the treble and the left had to play the bass(as the left hand can reach down further).Because of this, on lever harps, the levers appear on the right hand side meaning if played on the left shoulder(with the treble on the left hand and the bass on the right) you won’t be able to see the levers and will be unable to change key or have accidentals.

    However if you do play the bass on the left hand, (as it will probably be your stronger hand) you will have a louder bass which is usefull as the bass is often too quiet

    Hope this helped and sorry if not fully explained.

  2. Olu Jemiraye says:

    Hi plelase i need a Left-Handed Piano or keyboard
    Thank you

  3. Sarah Heney says:

    http://Www.lefthandedpiano.co.uk

    My friend Chris Seed had the world’s first left handed piano built 16 years ago

  4. nancy says:

    I play guitar & banjo and feel that it is unfair that we as left handed musicians have to pay extra $$ for a left handed musical instrument.
    Not to mention that we are limited in the range of instruments we can buy compared to people who are right handed.
    Does anyone know if there is a LEFT HANDED ONLY musical instrument store???

  5. z.ideal says:

    Hi…
    I’m a left hander.last year I started playing violon and my master told me that’s better to learn it by right handed violon. Does it differ? I myself think that i can play by the left handed better….

  6. theresa says:

    PLAYING DRUMS…ACOUSTIC OR ELECTRONIC
    I HAD TO SWITCH HI-HAT CYMBAL TO THE RIGHT AND PLAY WITH MY RIGHT HAND.
    I’M NOT SURE, REALLY, IF MOST RIGHT-HANDERS PLAY SNARE WITH LEFT HAND…
    I’M AMBIDEXTROUS ….BUT THINK I MUST BE PLAYING TYPICAL ” RIGHTY” STYLE
    ANY INFO ON THIS?

  7. Paul says:

    I was very pleased to be able to get myself a left-handed theremin

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5685451/nachtsmeer/nachtsmeer_theremin_oval.jpg

    For those who don’t know the instrument it is one of the oldest electronic instruments. Invented approx 100 years ago.

    Lots of info is avaialble online 🙂

    Cheers
    Paul

  8. Harold Gear says:

    Am very much a “leftie” but play double bass and bass guitar right handed. Delighted to be left-handed in most respects but so far as music is concerned relieved that I can play them right-handed especially as I also play pedal steel guitar. God knows how much a pedal; steel would cost if left handed as all of the mechanics (considerable) would be reversed!

  9. Jay says:

    I am left handed I cannot use my right hand. I have recently started playing the trumpet Trumpets are made for right handed people the ring for right hand on the right I hold and play with left hand pinky is in pain
    I would like to find a left handed pocket trumpet or even a lefty trumpet. I was also looking at getting a stand to hold it but they seem expensive and cheaply made

    Saw your site became member so thought I would give it a shot

    Thanks

  10. Emma says:

    I write right handed and mainly do everything else let handed . I play Piano, Euphonium, Trombone and even tried Sax and have no difficulty. I learned a bit of guitar in school but never really liked playing right handed . It was awkward so i happily gave up. Any lefties on a right handed guitar ? Any tips because i would like to learn again

    • Mike Rex says:

      I have played right-handed guitar left-handed since the age of 10. I was given a guitar and naturally turned it over. It means that the chord symbols still apply without having to reverse them. I have had 3 electric guitars which I have bought left-handed and converted, or have had converted, to right-handed stringing. On a Fender type, there is enough adjustment on the bridge and it just needs a new nut and re-stringing. On a Gibson type, the bridge lies at an angle and has to be re-positioned, making the change-over more awkward and expensive. As far as playing with a plectrum goes (rhythm or lead) it seems to cause no problems. Finger-picking is another matter, though I have seen a video on youTube of an upside-down lefty who does it very well. Best of luck! Mike

  11. Susie S says:

    I learnt a bit of piano at school, but have mostly played wind instruments. Had no problems with the recorder, apart from having to make sure I bought one that could cope with the awkward little finger on my right hand! I now also play flute ocassionally and wanted to learn oboe (started, but stopped after moving countries).

    I also taught myself to play a melodeon (diatonic accordion), starting about 5 years ago. At first the fingers on my right hand were a bit jaunty, quite messy, but after persistence they smoothed out. I’ve recently started learing a chromatic button accordion (2 years ago), following lessons this time. Again, I had the same problem with my right hand. But the interesting thing is now, I can play smoother and faster with my right hand than left hand and find it hard to move fast around the chords! But one big advantage of being a left hander playing an accordion is that your left arm does all the work on the bellows, whilst your right hand just has to move up and down the keyboard. This makes it so much easier when playing the melodeon, specifically, when you’re changing direction all the time. Also, with a large accordion, it’s easier using my strong arm for dynamics.

    I did actually once see someone trying to play a melodeon upside down. I always thought that, whilst you would have thought that it would be practical to reverse it if left handed, there are many impracticalities of using a right-handed instrument for this purpose (one of them being that the strap attachments are at the top, as well as the air button, so if reversed it makes it awkward to play). But I’ve always understood that melodies are played with the right hand and chords with the left (mostly – there are styles and ocassions when it’s reversed), so adapting to accordions wasn’t a problem for me, especially as the strength is required in the left arm!

  12. neville says:

    As Claire described, I had the misfortune to play in an orchestra as a right-handed violinist on the right hand side of the music stand with a left-handed violinist on my left.while at first it was quite amusing, it became clear after some near misses between tip of bow and eyes(mine usually)that we were incompatible and my partner was moved to the rear of the section where he played quite happily, and safely, on his own!

    • Nick McCormack says:

      Charlie Chaplin played the violin left handed and,when he could afford it had left handed violins made,previously he had played a normal instrument with the strings reversed.

  13. Heather says:

    It seems that at least on here there are a lot of left handed percussionists, I totally avoid playing on anyone elses instruments as I have mine set up left handed and in exactly the right places for me, also it makes a difference how mine are set up as I am short, my right foot has no hope of being able to keep up the constant beat on the bass so my own set up is essential. I even managed this in the very “left handed is unacceptable” world of the 1950s.
    Yes I’m told I look odd when playing and on the odd occasions when I have been expected to play a concert bass drum as in a band contest, I have said no sorry when I play it I cant see the conductor so I take my own and use it like a kettle drum and sitting down, there are ways around everything. I think leftys learn very quickly to “think outside the box”.
    Some one has said on this forum being left handed will either make you excell or fail miserably, I failed miserably on the piano and my hand writing is really the worst, the piano failure was due to not being able to get my right hand to work correctly, but my hand writing failure is totally due to the school teachers I had who would not let me even hold my pen for a moment in my left hand, so because my grip in my right hand was poor the pencil or pen went everywhere by the time they finally gave up it was to late for me to learn to write with my left hand either I was so far behind it was impossible. Thank God for the typewriter and now the computer! And excell yes in anything to do with being creative, art ,design, sewing I learnt to think outside the square very early for even sewing machines are right handed.
    Logn live the lefty percussionists

    • Vita says:

      Long live left handed female percussionists!!! I too have all my “toys” set up in just the right spots so I can easily switch from Conga’s to Tambourine quickly. Speaking of Conga’s, I set mine up with the Low on the left & the high tone on the right. I LOVE being a LEFTIE!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  14. Michael says:

    I’m a lefty but I learned to play guitar, bass, and drums right-handed. I eventually switched the set up lefty(using my right hand for hi-hat/ride only). I never had any trouble learning any instrument (either way). I was first taught guitar by my right-handed father (He made sure I was comfortable with it first though). I have recently found that I can play lefty as well– whitch (among other things) leads me to believe that I may be ambidextrious instead (although my preferrence for most things {writing, eating, manipulating objects} is to use my left hand. I’ll keep up my lefty guitar, but I have eleven years experience playing righty….so I’m not going to give THAT up.

    • brittney says:

      Yeah I am the same way…I first tried playing the guitar on “guitar hero” left handed but it was to confusing…Playing it right handed just came more natural….The same was with playing an actual guitar…I dont know many left handed people who can play right handed besides me, so it was nice to see there are others…. I also cant use left handed scissors! I tried, all it does is bend the paper lol it wont cut…So I just use right handed…..

      • bassmedia.net says:

        hi,
        i have played bass guitar for 20 years and guitar for the last few.
        I started on right hand guitar, mainly as i didn’t know the difference and left handed guitars have always looked odd to me!
        Over the years i thought about swopping to a left handed, but like you the time put in as a right hander would be wasted.
        The advantage on guitar though, especially electric is the dominant hand is on the fingerboard, especially for solo lines. (i think that is why Jimi Hendirx went left, he was right handed….i think!)
        Keyboard players can do basslines very easily.
        Now, with all the info. on the internet, we can see what us lefties are naturally good at…..the choosen few!

  15. Liz says:

    Hi,
    I love music and had no problems learning the recorders nor the clarinet. I used to play one of those little electric organs you could get in the 70’s with chord buttons on the left and keys for the right hand, with my hands crossed over, until my Dad insisted I taught myself to play the ‘right’ way round. However when I came to learn the piano I was fine except for the over-loud bass, but when a piece got difficult and I had to really concentrate, then without any conscious thought, my left hand would play the treble clef and my right hand the bass clef – woops. I really struggled doing drum rolls on the timpani- until I started the roll with my left and hand not my right. For some reason I could not cope with playing the harp at all. Singing is non-handed but I do not seem to be able to pitch accurately and realiably. Any other lefties have problems with singing in tune reliably? Liz

  16. Dave Conley says:

    I have really enjoyed learning that there are a lot more left-handers that are drummers in the world. I learned to play right-handed with the traditional grip used for sticks but now I try to used a matched grip whenever possible. I haven’t played for awhile but miss it alot and hope to go back to being a stickman very soon. I was very lucky growing us as eventhough my mother wanted to change me into a righty, God Bless my first grade teacher Mrs. Caldwell who flatly told her NO! In regards to an earlier post concerning having to use the leadliner’s kit in a concert setting… This is very true. I have several friends in the sound system/concert stage business and a lot of the time the kit is theirs, set to the demands of the main act. Also, as mentioned, time constraints also are sometimes prohibitive. Now, 52, I am so used to being left-handed in a righty world, a lot of times it would now be more diffifult to do certain tasks as a true left-hander. But, if I had a child who was a lefty, I would encourage them to be a lefty to the max. If their teachers were not open to their particular needs, I’d be sure and protest until they were. In my area in Eastern KY, a school system outlawed peanut butter because one student… yes one student out of hundreds was allergic to peanut butter. LEFTIES ROCK!

  17. Sandra Davis says:

    I wanted so much to learn the violin. But in my younger days, they didn’t have violins for lefties. I tried with a right-handed violin, but I had to quit before I found out if I could do it or not. So, I became a pianist. I don’t have the dexterity in my right hand as much as in my left. So, playing the trills and other right hand techniques is harder for me. I had to really work at it, but even with years of work, it is still not as easy for me.

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