February 1, 2008

Lefty Bass Player … Sort of.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:23 pm

A week or so ago, I attended a party at a fancy catering place. The evening included cocktails, dinner and music being played by a local group that obviously plays these kinds of parties regularly. I listened. They were quite good.

Some of the licks the bass player was playing caught my attention, so I focused on him a bit. The first thing I noticed was that he was a lefty. That’s not all that unusual; Paul McCartney, a pretty famous bass player, was a lefty.

The next thing I noticed was that that the bass player wasn’t playing a bass made for lefties, but rather he was playing a right-hand bass, but turned upside down. Although I didn’t recall ever having seen a bass guitar player do that, I have seen left handed guitar players do that quite often. They simply flip the guitar over and restring it (i.e. reverse the strings) for left-hand playing, as can be seen in the case of Jimi Hendrix here.

OK, so I was thinking that this bass player was doing a Jimi Hendrix thing with the bass, but the problem was that his fingers were in the wrong places to be making the sounds I was hearing. WTF?

I looked closer, and I’ll be damned. He was playing the bass upside down, with the STRINGS upside down too. He simply flipped a righty bass upside down and played it that way as a lefty.

Watching him play (and he was damned good) was twisting my mind in all sorts of directions.

I felt I had to share this amazing thing with someone. I saw a colleague standing at the bar, and here’s about how it went:

Me: Hey, did you check out that bass player?

Him: (looks at bass player) Yeah, what about him?

Me: Well, for openers, he’s a lefty.



Him: How about those Giants?

Undaunted, I sought out another person with whom to share my amazement at what I was seeing and hearing.

Me: Hey, did you check out that bass player?

Him: Which one is he?

Me: He’s the guy on the left.

Him: (looks at bass player) Yeah, do you know him or something?

Me: No, I don’t know him, but did you notice that he’s a lefty?

Him: How can you tell?

Me: (Trying to think of way to answer the question without using words like “fret board” or “headstock”). Well, look at the guitar player next to him.

Him: The guy playing the red guitar?

Me: Yeah, that guy — the guy on the right. You see how his guitar is pointing to the left?

Him: Oh, yeah. So he’s a lefty?

Me: No. He’s a righty. Look at the bass player — the guy on the left. His guitar is pointing to the right.

Him: So, the guy on the left is a righty?

Me: No, he’s a lefty.

Him: His guitar is pointing to the right and he’s a lefty? I don’t get it.



Me: How about those Giants?

This kind of shit happens to me a lot.

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