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he played it left handed

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:18 pm
by rabsasa
Apart from the obvious example, was there ever a left-handed bass player?

Left handed, upside down, bass

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:28 pm
by RobHall
Much as it pains me to join in on this thread, I couldn't help noticing last week that the bass player with Tinariwen plays an orthodox right-handed bass left-handed and upside down (the guitar, not the bass player).


He Played it left hand

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:54 pm
by GrahamG
And to think I thought I was odd being a right playing left-hander. Silly me.

Two more reasons for playing the wrong way round that I'd like to add.
1. The left hand does most of the difficult work (though on that basis right handers should be playing left-handed!)
2. It's hazardous to play left handed on a small stage with right handed guitar players.

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 1:52 pm
by howard male
My original rambling posting on this subject ended with the words:

'So there we have it. If anyone can add any other names to this growing list, let me know.
I'd love to hear, for example, that Tom Verlaine or Robert Fripp were closet lefties. Verlaine in particular is a prime candidate for outing if you ask me. His style is quintessentially left handed.'

I have since rewritten it, in order to try and place it with one of the guitar mags. Today I phoned 'Guitar' in order to get an email address I could send the article to. The guy I spoke to wanted to know a bit more about the piece before I sent it. I mentioned a few of the guitarists I'd found out were left-handed - right-handed players, and he replied, " I didn't know any of those guys were, but I know Robert Fripp is." It was like being given the missing stamp to my fine collection!

Here's a little attempt at humour which ends the new version I'm trying to get published:

Finally, I'm sure you'd like to know how to spot a lefty guitarist at ten paces. Well, apart from the lack of plectrum, see which hand he reaches for his beer with between numbers.

Elizabeth Cotton

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 2:32 pm
by RichardH2
I'm afraid I don't know Elizabeth Cotton's music, but I would have thought if you are playing 'upside-down', and playing bass notes with your index finger, it would still be possible to damp them at least on the bottom string either with the edge of the palm of the fretting (left!) hand, or by fretting on top of the fret, which produces a more staccato sound.
Thanks Howard for a fascinating thread! As yet another left-handed right-handed guitarist, it's wonderful to find that I'm in such good company, even if it makes me feel even more humble about my playing than ever before - no more excuses! I do agree with your thesis that this limitation makes for a more innovative style of playing. (I never could hold a pick either.)
I think its time we formed an association/special interest group.
- Richard

Curtis Mayfield

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:32 am
by Adam Blake
Apologies if he's already been mentioned and I haven't seen it but wasn't Curtis Mayfield a leftie? Did he play it the wrong way round? I was teaching "Move On Up" today and was gobsmacked afresh at the almost inaudible rhythm guitar part - presumable played by Mayfield himself. It's just astonishisng. You have to really listen hard for it as it's buried in the mix but he keeps up the most agile flamenco strum completely flawlessly throughout the whole track without a break. Almost any rock guitarist would be unable to do this (their wrists would fall off), and I venture to say even Franco Luambo would have had to furrow his brow and concentrate.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:45 am
by howard male
I don't think Curtis has been mentioned before. And is there a better way of spending nearly nine minutes, other than listening to Jeepster twice?

I've just given the track a careful listen and it sounds like the work of a leftie to me Adam. You're right, it is a wrist-strength thing. I always found it relatively easy to do fast, funky strumming until the cows come home, but fast soloing is another matter - I'd reach a frustrating physical barrier to progress - those fretting fingers could only go so fast! Eventually I came to accept this limitation in my playing and adapted my style accordingly.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:33 pm
by Adam Blake
Listening to Jeepster twice!! LOL!! Hmmm... I always thought Jeepster was a close second to Get It On as Marc's finest five minutes. His little solo at the end is a model of perfect economy. In fact, let's get serious here and have a discussion about the unsung brilliance of Bolan's guitar playing. I myself am very fond of his work on Bowie's original 45 version of "Prettiest Star" and I love the way he bends up to the major 7th on "Life's A Gas". Ignorance or genius? Well...

Glad you could see my point about Curtis Mayfield. What a hero!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:47 pm
by howard male
I thought that might get you (or someone) going! I suppose it's because it was the single that changed my life. I probably played it about ten times a day for three months. Just go and listen to those quirky little licks played high up on the fret board as the track fades, and the ragged but oh-so-cool lead embellishments all the way through. Not to mention the line which got the single banned in South African: "I'm gonna suck you!" It's just perfect, perfect pop music - cool, sexy, fey, fun, and funky.

'Get It On' might be the accepted classic but I find it rather pedestrian and leaden compared to 'Jeepster.'

Yes, the 45 version of Prettiest Star is exquisite. Ronson beefed up Bolan's melody, but couldn't better it. Unfortunately the Bowie/Bolan relationship, which could have produced some interesting collaborative projects, got shot in the foot at this session, by Bolan's bitchy missus, June. She turned to Bowie as they were leaving the studio, and told him snidely that Marc's solo was undoubtedly the best thing about the track!

And in answer to your question - it was ignorance and genius. See the discussion under 'BBC London' about Darko Rundek, for a full analysis on how these two qualities have worked hand-in-hand to produce the best music on the planet!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:14 pm
by Adam Blake
That's a nice gossipy snippet about June, but honestly can you imagine those two working together on a regular basis? Bowie thought he was God whereas Marc KNEW he was God!

two NYC folk/blues players....

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:02 pm
by David Godwin
..both lefties who play right are Dave Van Ronk (gets a substantial mention in"Chronicles", died a couple of years ago, and had a street named after him in NYC last year). Also, in a convoluted way, partly responsible for bringing "House of the Rising Sun" to the Animals.

Secondly the great blues player and teacher Woody Mann.

Elizabeth Cotton

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:49 pm
by David Godwin
Howard - I notice that you were in HMV buying the Books album. By coincidence, I was in HMV today, and noticed that the Martin Scorsese's blues series has been reduced to £9.99 each. I got hold of Charles Burnettes "Warming by the Devils's Fire", and it has some great archive footage, including Elizabeth Cotton, not just playing in her "upside down" manner in close -up - you can see that she doesn't damp the bass - but there is also part of an interview with her. Apparently, she was paid 75c per month in domestic service, and when she was given a raise to one dollar, she bought a guitar. Amazing to think that the writer of "Freight Train" worked in domestic service into her eighties.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:35 am
by howard male
I'm certainly more tempted, now they are only a tenner each.

So which of those Blues DVDs are actually worth having? I know some were well recieved and others not so. I'd certainly like to see that Elizabeth Cotton footage. Can anyone advise me?


PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:36 pm
by David Godwin
Of the four that I have acquired, I think that Wim Wenders is the best, but all (the others are Clint Eastwood, Charles Burnett and Martin Scorcese's own film) have proved their worth to me. I am biassed here, as I really liked Wender's 70's road movies, before Paris, Texas.

Incidentally, the DVD versions of "The Blues" are different and longer than the tv versions, where I think that some of songs were curtailed

Wenders concentrates on three bluesmen, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James and JB Lenoir. I could never tire of Blind Willie's "Dark was the night, cold was the ground". It seems impossible to cover - but Mark Ribot's version here is tremendous - a fantastic performance, with almost the intensity of Blind Willie's. This film has. for the most part modern footage of interpretations of Blind Willie's and Skip James' songs, and some previously unseen footage of JB, together with some renactments, which are well done. All of this warrants revisits, but I have to say that I never really "understood" Skip's style until this film. This is the standout for me of this film - that strange mixture of an unusual guitar tuning plus that "almost falsetto" voice.

The Scorsese DVD's

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 12:23 am
by Adam Blake
I enjoyed all of them. I haven't got them here so I can't refer to titles but the one about Memphis was superb. I also very much enjoyed Tom Jones telling the story of how Joe Meek tried to seduce him! I was ready to be snotty about the British blues stuff but was enchanted by none other than Lulu who I thought stole the whole thing. Go figure... If they're really only a tenner I'd suggest you get stuck in.