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Author Topic: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players  (Read 687 times)

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WestOz

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Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« on: August 11, 2017, 09:10:52 AM »

Melnet boasts some 2324 members, which should imply there are in excess of 200 left-handed players, unless there is something about melodeons which leads to a skewed population favouring right-handers (not out of the question, in fact quite possible).
Are you left-handed (ie write with your left hand)?
If so, do you play the melody side of your melodeon with your left or right hand?
If you play the melody with your left hand, do you simply invert the box(so the high notes are chin-end), or have the reed-blocks been rotated?
Fettlers, you must come across a few -comments?

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Lester

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 09:18:14 AM »

I have converted two boxes for a lefty. A 1 row 4 stop where I inverted the air spoon and a pokerwork where I fitted an additional air button. Apart from these mods the boxes were  left standard. Really odd to watch him playing.
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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 09:37:03 AM »

I suspect the majority of left-handers play conventionally, as do most keyboard players; yes, left-handed pianos DO exist, but they are very rare and VERY expensive.  I've never heard of a left-handed church or concert organ - the implications are mind-boggling! I guess it would be possible to rewire an electronic  keyboard instrument or to remap a controller keyboard to work left handed (I wonder if you could do that with a Streb??) but I've never seen it done. I've played in bands over the years with two left-handed keyboard players and one left-handed guitarist. All played conventional right-handed instruments - the keyboardists/pianists because there wasn't any choice, and the guitarist because when he started he'd never seen a left-handed player and it didn't occur to him that you could string it t'other way round and play left-handed.

Graham
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 09:40:17 AM »

I am so left handed and of course left footed. I have never had a problem playing with the usual right hand melody. In fact I can't see a problem, you need to be just as dexterous with both hands. If you learn only to play only left handed you'll never be able to borrow another's box to have a trial squeeze.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 10:25:26 AM »

I write left handed, prefer my left foot to kick a ball, hold a cricket bat right handed and swap an archery bow between hands to confuse people. When up a ladder painting I start in my left hand then swap to my right and continue much to the exasperation of my wife!

I play melodeon conventually with the treble keyboard on my right hand. I find that left hand bass runs come easy.
A long time ago I tried McCann duet concertina, and with it felt my left hand was dominant and my right couldn't keep up, and picked it up last week. My left hand still remembered but my right sadly was all over the place.
I conclude that a melodeon is the right balance between the hands for me.
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I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

NickF

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 11:09:02 AM »

I know of a chap who plays the box upside down so the treble side is on the left. Very disconcerting to watch! But he does play very well!
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brianread

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 12:19:02 PM »

I know of a chap who plays the box upside down so the treble side is on the left. Very disconcerting to watch! But he does play very well!

I am one of those - I play upside down with the treble end on my left and the high notes under my chin.  No changes except an extra air button, I can however play anyone elses box by using my little finger on the air button (which is what I did until 2005).

I agree there is no real reason why I should do so, but I started before seeing any one else (1972), and as I initially only played the tunes (no bass) I naturally played that on my left hand. By the time I saw another player (1975?) it was too late I thought then.  However with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight I should has switched then.  I would NOT reccommend anyone to follow me  - left or right hander.
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Huw Adamson

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 01:11:44 PM »

I am left handed, (although as a child I decided to write right handed, to avoid smudging ink, so now I can write with both hands, but I draw and paint left handed,) and I play conventionally. IMHO, the conventional way is actually the best for lefties. Look at fiddles and guitars - the expressive movement is made with the dominant arm, and the smaller fingering work is done with the non-dominant hand. This is how I like it with melodeon. Maybe more true of one row style playing rather than cross row playing, but to my mind the bellows control is the most important aspect of the instrument, if one element could be said to be most important. This is why I like controlling it with my left hand. I do play a bit of right handed guitar too in fairness, but that's because the main advantage of the instrument is how commonplace it is, and isn't really ideal. Were I to take up fiddle, I would certainly want a left handed set-up.
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John MacKenzie (Cugiok)

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2017, 01:27:03 PM »

I am ambidextrous, inasmuch as I can do absolutely bugger all, with either hand.   :|bl

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Andy Next Tune

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2017, 02:18:17 PM »

I'm left handed and play with the traditional hold of melody end to the right.
Having played in sessions with Brian, it can be a bit disconcerting at first, particularly when trying to follow his fingers on a tune you don't know. But not nearly as off-putting as when the person leading a tune is playing a B/C as happened earlier this year.

It is a very interesting exercise to turn your favourite melodeon upside and then try to play a simple melody line with the 'wrong' hand  >:E
 I found that after a quite short time, the brain started to sort out the switch of hands and directions; and the 'wrong' hand started to show new-found talents for melody:)
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Andy

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 02:36:04 PM »

Write with left hand.

Button boxes BC and BCC# right handed.

Play a wee bit of tenor banjo and mandolin, a minute bit of guitar and even less on the fiddle but all right handed.

Reasonably ambidextrous, for a lot of 2 handed tasks I would need to look at a more 'handed' person to work out whether I am working left or right handed, probably do more stuff right handed though.

Guitars and the like strike me as odd, unless you are doing some fairly fancy finger picking, surely playing RH style you are doing a lot of the difficult stuff with your left hand.

The one thing where I am strongly sided is eye dominance (left eye) - much harder to use non dominant eye than hand.

Unless anyone should think I am making a smartypants claim to ambidexterity, I add the same rider as John - fairly rubbish with either hand.
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 02:58:29 PM »

I write, draw, paint, shoot and do certain private things left handed. I play the guitar, mandolin and bouzouki right handed. When I play my 20 button anglo (generally in G) I favour the left hand side. I can't do the vamp with the left hand, melody with the right hand at all.

So, when I play melodeon I have only ever played "normal" ones. I am certain I wouldn't know where to start with a left handed instrument. Don't know if this made a difference to my playing or not but I did seem to find playing basses came very easily, compared with others starters I know. Whether I ever got any better is another matter.
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triskel

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 04:28:48 PM »

IMHO, the conventional way is actually the best for lefties. Look at fiddles and guitars - the expressive movement is made with the dominant arm, and the smaller fingering work is done with the non-dominant hand. This is how I like it with melodeon. Maybe more true of one row style playing rather than cross row playing, but to my mind the bellows control is the most important aspect of the instrument, if one element could be said to be most important. This is why I like controlling it with my left hand. I do play a bit of right handed guitar too in fairness, but that's because the main advantage of the instrument is how commonplace it is, and isn't really ideal. Were I to take up fiddle, I would certainly want a left handed set-up.

You've nicely summed up the practicalities of why I believe the first models of Demian's accordions, from 1829 and the beginning of the 1830s, were ALL left-handed (to our way of thinking), though intended for right-handed players. As I wrote (originally in 1999) for my Michaelstein Symposium paper - Note 16: "It being considered, at the time, that the right hand should be used to control the bellows, probably in analogy with stringed instruments like the violin and guitar, where the left hand fingers the notes and the right hand produces them."

I have four Demian accordions, and three of them are left-handed.
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GPS

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 07:54:53 PM »

Thinking about this a little further, I have a feeling many of us are closer to ambidextrous than we think. I've mentioned that I played (for many years) with a close and now sadly departed friend who was left-handed but played guitar right-handed. He had an extremely impressive left-hand technique - he could play chords and licks that I couldn't  possibly attempt - and though his right-hand technique may have lacked a little fluency, it was still b****y good. He was also a grade 8 pianist, and his conventional technique was impeccable.  Now I've been playing guitar and bass for longer than I've been playing melodeon, and although I'm right-handed I  feel I have a fairly agile and flexible left hand because that's the hand that does most of the "donkey work" on guitar or bass.  When I'm playing the box I honestly don't notice a lot of difference in the fluency of the two hands (maybe that's because they're equally incompetent!), and they each get on with their own jobs, as it were.  I think what I'm saying is that the training of each hand is as important as the other, and to a certain extent "handedness" is  something you just have to deal with.  On the the other hand ( ::)) I'm approaching the lower half of a second bottle of our local village wine in a temperature of 29 at nearly 10pm, so perhaps I'm not at my most perceptive!

Graham
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jonm

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 08:08:06 PM »

I normally write left handed, although I can write with my right, and write mirror-image with the left.

I play a lefty guitar, and conventional mandolin upside down (EADG=bottom four guitar strings).

I play piano accordion and melodeon upside down and Lester has performed excellent mods on the instruments which required mods for air buttons and stops.

English concertina appears to be totally ambidextrous.

I also occasionally confuse organists by playing the upper keyboards with the left....
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 10:38:06 PM by jonm »
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brianread

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 10:37:10 AM »

I'm thinking perhaps we could have a left handed melodeon player meet somewhere to swap ideas about how to cope with our self-enforced disability?  The photos of us all playing the "wrong" way round might have quite an effect on some peoples grasp of reality.

Could we see how many we've got here?
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Brian Read
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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2017, 12:04:04 PM »

Left hand writer, but cricket=right and I found I could do medical procedures with either hand. Very useful at times. I use a telescope with either eye.

I play box right handed, but "think" my melodies very much from the left. That seems to be a mix of chord  appoach to music, and genuine liking for left end stuff, crossed chording, bass runs, whatever. My first 18 bass box utterly bowled me over, and I couldn't do without now

Conversation 20 years back with Mr A Cutting: "guess you must be left handed, Andy?"

"How did you get that"? 

Actually, I think it is written all over people's style of play. Excellent topic!
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brianread

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2017, 12:14:56 PM »

Conversation 20 years back with Mr A Cutting: "guess you must be left handed, Andy?"
"How did you get that"? 

Then I've really missed an oppportunity!!
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Brian Read
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2017, 12:23:45 PM »

Chris, you've hit the nail on the head again for me
"Think my melodies from the left...."
I know exactly what you mean.
I know you are much more chordal and modal in your approach than I am but when playing I am always conscious of my left hand and what it's doing.
Also when I first look at a tune, I'm thinking about how the melody dictates the left hand, but in turn how left hand will dictate a pushed note or maybe a cross rowed pull note. I try and sort my left hand therefore it dictates which melody push/pull note I'm going for.
Q
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 12:35:50 PM by Thrupenny Bit »
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

stevejay

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Re: Idle Curiosity - Left-handed players
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 01:46:13 PM »

Lefty, play regular.
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