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Dec 4, 2022 - 1:58:51 PM

tomtrain

Canada

9 posts since 6/3/2018

I am a left handed banjo player with two great Deering Goodtimes. At times I get offers on quality Gibson or Gold tone used right hand banjo's and wonder if its feasable to convert to left handed. What is involved. and is there anyone in Canada that could make or offer a new neck at a feasable price ?

Edited by - Texasbanjo on 12/05/2022 04:50:21

Dec 4, 2022 - 2:13:46 PM
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Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5986 posts since 10/12/2009

4 string tenors and plectrums could be switched with just a new nut, bridge and moving the armrest.

5 string would require a neck built left-handed

Dec 4, 2022 - 7:39:24 PM

banjonz

New Zealand

11675 posts since 6/29/2003

We have a renowned banjo picker here in NZ who is a lefty. He started playing in the 60';s but no lefty banjos were available so he taught himself to play right handed. As Scott has said, you need to either obtain a lefty neck or learn to play right handed.

Dec 5, 2022 - 4:50:58 AM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

28235 posts since 8/3/2003

I think this thread might generate more posts if put in building set up and repair, so I've moved it there.

Dec 5, 2022 - 5:07:08 AM

3940 posts since 7/12/2006

I would say that the price of a new neck would only be worth it for a higher end banjo since a new neck would more than likely cost more than the lower end banjo you want to put it on

Dec 5, 2022 - 5:56:46 AM

7362 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by banjonz

We have a renowned banjo picker here in NZ who is a lefty. He started playing in the 60';s but no lefty banjos were available so he taught himself to play right handed. As Scott has said, you need to either obtain a lefty neck or learn to play right handed.


You will find that there are a lot of people who write with their left hand and play banjo correctly with both hands (not reverse).  I am one of them.

I'm still trying to figure out how you play banjo with one hand.

Dec 5, 2022 - 6:50:12 AM
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Helix

USA

16373 posts since 8/30/2006

Contact Gold Tone and see what they have. They also offer 2nds and blems when available

Their necks are high quality imported Maple and they offer lefties

You can specify shop services to help you mount it correctly

Edited by - Helix on 12/05/2022 06:50:38

Dec 5, 2022 - 6:57:56 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

16373 posts since 8/30/2006

h5y5n9p5.stackpathcdn.com/img/..._0077.jpg
They say they have a lefty for $100 USD

Dec 5, 2022 - 7:33:31 AM

beegee

USA

23156 posts since 7/6/2005

My professional violin-teacher/friend says there is no such thing as a "left-handed" violin. She teaches all ages and levels of students who are either left-hand or right-hand dominant, but they all play "right-handed" I can hear the outrage being voiced, but her point is: you learn to play it the same way everybody else has for centuries. Believe it or not it takes 2 hands to play most stringed instruments and the human brain can adapt.

Dec 5, 2022 - 8:59:45 AM

234 posts since 1/7/2019

Although this is probably quite true, it could be said of any activity where hand/eye dominance is a factor. Can you imagine if you were told you had to play baseball opposite handed? Yeah, you will probably get there, but it will be much harder than if you played to your strength. That is why there is a debate to begin with. For some, it is just more comfortable to play one way over the other. When we are learning something new, it makes more sense to reduce obstacles. More progress will be had, more quickly, which will likely encourage more practice, leading to even more progress, and so on and so forth. 
Just my .02 (which you can have for free smiley)
Jeff
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

My professional violin-teacher/friend says there is no such thing as a "left-handed" violin. She teaches all ages and levels of students who are either left-hand or right-hand dominant, but they all play "right-handed" I can hear the outrage being voiced, but her point is: you learn to play it the same way everybody else has for centuries. Believe it or not it takes 2 hands to play most stringed instruments and the human brain can adapt.


Dec 5, 2022 - 12:28:22 PM
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645 posts since 5/29/2015

Dec 5, 2022 - 2:29:14 PM

15095 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by beegee

My professional violin-teacher/friend says there is no such thing as a "left-handed" violin. She teaches all ages and levels of students who are either left-hand or right-hand dominant, but they all play "right-handed" I can hear the outrage being voiced, but her point is: you learn to play it the same way everybody else has for centuries. Believe it or not it takes 2 hands to play most stringed instruments and the human brain can adapt.


Bob, I got in REAL trouble talking about this years back.  My wife is a concert violinist and she is left handed but plays the violin right-handed as all serious classical musicians must—conductors don't want the string section poking each other in the eyes with their bows. Everything that has to do with a stringed instrument requires just as much coordination with the left hand as the right,and they are all very difficult to learn at first—everything seems awkward.

There are many many musicians who are left handed because music is that kind of thing, but most of them learn to play right handed because if they don't, they will be forever hampered in their choice of instruments, always having to buy rare left handed ones or have conversions made. The bracing on a guitar has to be reversed if you are going to string it left handed.

I started making banjo necks in art school in the 60s and my primary business was left-handed necks because there are so many left handed artists.

Such an important decision often made hastily.

Dec 5, 2022 - 3:14:56 PM

beegee

USA

23156 posts since 7/6/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Gixxer340
Although this is probably quite true, it could be said of any activity where hand/eye dominance is a factor. Can you imagine if you were told you had to play baseball opposite handed? Yeah, you will probably get there, but it will be much harder than if you played to your strength. That is why there is a debate to begin with. For some, it is just more comfortable to play one way over the other. When we are learning something new, it makes more sense to reduce obstacles. More progress will be had, more quickly, which will likely encourage more practice, leading to even more progress, and so on and so forth. 
Just my .02 (which you can have for free smiley)
Jeff
quote:
Originally posted by beegee

My professional violin-teacher/friend says there is no such thing as a "left-handed" violin. She teaches all ages and levels of students who are either left-hand or right-hand dominant, but they all play "right-handed" I can hear the outrage being voiced, but her point is: you learn to play it the same way everybody else has for centuries. Believe it or not it takes 2 hands to play most stringed instruments and the human brain can adapt.


I am right-handed, in that i prefer to throw and write etc, with my right hand. I also bat left-handed(I actually can do either hand) and I wield a hockey stick left-handed


Dec 5, 2022 - 3:29:27 PM

60020 posts since 12/14/2005

There's a local Milwaukee-area picker who plays a right-handed banjo by chording with the right hand and picking with the left.

I moved his 5th peg from the side of the neck to next to the tailpiece, so the peg wouldn't stick out in his way.
He sounds as good as any other player. Must have figured out rolls &c using different patterns.


Let's see if I can find the photos.
- - - - - -
AHA! There they are!


Dec 6, 2022 - 6:19:03 AM

6018 posts since 12/20/2005

I have a left hand Gold Tone neck you can have, if you want it.
There are a few obstacles you should know:
Needs all 5 tuners
Heel might need some fitting, if you are handy with a dremel, should be fine
Needs truss rod cover
I’m not sure how feasible it will be to get it shipped from Texas to your address
Might be easier ways for you to get what you want
But like I said it’s yours if you want it

Dec 6, 2022 - 6:29:19 AM
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60020 posts since 12/14/2005

Nobody really NEEDS a truss rod cover!

But, if you insist, an entire ROLL of several yards of  truss rod cover material can be had for a few dollars at any hardware store.  wink

Dec 6, 2022 - 8:26 AM

6018 posts since 12/20/2005

I did not understand what type of banjo you wish to install the neck.
Is it one of the good time banjo’s you mentioned
If yes, I have a good time myself and I might be able to make a close fit

Dec 6, 2022 - 8:56:41 AM

6018 posts since 12/20/2005

This is a nice neck that had the misfortune of being one of my first attempts at luthiery. Probably about 20 years ago
I don’t recall how I got it, but I do recall I was trying to make it fit a Kay banjo. I used some kind of material, bondo maybe,
to get the heel to fit the Kay rim.
It didn’t work and I have had it ever since.
Since there will be time and money involved in shipping, parts and labor, I want to be sure you know what this is




 

Dec 6, 2022 - 9:18:47 AM
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6018 posts since 12/20/2005

If you want to just practice left hand banjo, there’s a way to create a makeshift left hand banjo with what you have
You need to put a railroad spike on the first string, 10th fret.
On strings one and five, use 10g strings. Tune first string to D, then use the spike, which will capo the first string to a high C.
Tune the 5th string to G, as you normally would
Install your wound D as the 2nd string, not the 4th string
Keep 3rd string (G) same
Put your 2nd string (B) on the 4th string
Tune the strings to pitch.
Capo everything at the 5th fret. Now you do have a left hand banjo you can play and practice with, it will be in the key of C.
Perhaps not the banjo you want to spend the rest of your life with, but, by God, it is very much left handed banjo playing.

Dec 6, 2022 - 3:39:34 PM

60020 posts since 12/14/2005

Inexpensive and functional! ^^^^ That's MY kind of innovator!

Dec 6, 2022 - 4:21:46 PM

12477 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
 

…My wife is a concert violinist and she is left handed but plays the violin right-handed as all serious classical musicians must—conductors don't want the string section poking each other in the eyes with their bows. Everything that has to do with a stringed instrument requires just as much coordination with the left hand as the right,and they are all very difficult to learn at first—everything seems awkward.

There are many many musicians who are left handed because music is that kind of thing, but most of them learn to play right handed because if they don't, they will be forever hampered in their choice of instruments, always having to buy rare left handed ones or have conversions made. The bracing on a guitar has to be reversed if you are going to string it left handed.

 


That. Concert stages and orchestra pits are crowded enough with players all using the same hands to finger and bow. No room if you mix 'em up.

I switched from lefty when I decided that I wanted to play cello and bass some day. I was in 6th grade, IIRC. I was always able to play lefty as a party trick but after awhile, I became better as a righty. There are some pictures of me playing lefty as late as 2009.

Dec 6, 2022 - 4:28:11 PM

12477 posts since 10/27/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

I'm still trying to figure out how you play banjo with one hand.


Can be done but ain't pretty. I record that way but won't do so live.

Rick Turner made a special one-handed banjo for a BHO member whose name would be familiar if I posted it. Unfortunately, I never got to see it before it was shipped. I'll reach out to Rick's son and to the customer to see if there are any pictures and/or a video of it being played.

Dec 6, 2022 - 4:30:25 PM
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15095 posts since 6/29/2005

quote:
Originally posted by mikehalloran
quote:
Originally posted by Ken LeVan
 

…My wife is a concert violinist and she is left handed but plays the violin right-handed as all serious classical musicians must—conductors don't want the string section poking each other in the eyes with their bows. Everything that has to do with a stringed instrument requires just as much coordination with the left hand as the right,and they are all very difficult to learn at first—everything seems awkward.

There are many many musicians who are left handed because music is that kind of thing, but most of them learn to play right handed because if they don't, they will be forever hampered in their choice of instruments, always having to buy rare left handed ones or have conversions made. The bracing on a guitar has to be reversed if you are going to string it left handed.

 


That. Concert stages and orchestra pits are crowded enough with players all using the same hands to finger and bow. No room if you mix 'em up.

I switched from lefty when I decided that I wanted to play cello and bass some day. I was in 6th grade, IIRC. I was always able to play lefty as a party trick but after awhile, I became better as a righty. There are some pictures of me playing lefty as late as 2009.


Dick Guggenheim, a right-handed BHO member learned to play the banjo lefty when he developed a condition that would have prevented him from playing at all if he didn't switch. He accomplished it quite well.

Dec 6, 2022 - 9:26:19 PM

6018 posts since 12/20/2005

I’m a right hand player. In 2004, after years of frustration with lack of improvement, I came upon the idea of trying learning to play left handed. The hope was that somehow that would help tie everything together somehow and I would finally start making progress.
I think it did help some although it was not the solution I was hoping for.
I played left and right hand for about 5 years.
After that I could tell I was not going to ever be a left handed player
Still, all in all, amazingly, it did achieve some astonishing beneficial results. I would recommend it to anyone

Dec 7, 2022 - 10:13:39 AM
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12477 posts since 10/27/2006

One of my early guitar students was a woman who lost a couple fingers on her left hand. After teaching her to play lefty, I taught others to play that way.

Although Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) was famous for playing his uke lefty, he was actually a right handed player and played guitar and uke better that way. His first TV appearance on The Green Hornet showed him playing right handed and there were others. Anyway, he thought that if he played lefty, it would exercise a different part of his brain and it would ease the migraine headaches he suffered—claimed it worked, too. Somewhere in my basement there is a picture of him playing my Martin 0 righty with me playing his Martin 1 lefty at a party. 

Dec 16, 2022 - 8:34:50 AM
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10 posts since 6/16/2014

I have told many left-handed people "who did not already play any stringed instrument" that it was the best idea to play right handed for various reasons. 1. Everybody has a strong hand and a weaker hand, so, one hand has to develop quite a bit. 2. If you walk into a picking situation, You would not be able to join in by simply borrowing someone else's banjo. 3. Up until recently, if you wanted a left-handed banjo, If would be a special order that would be expensive and you would have to wait for it to be built. 4. You can't just walk into a store and try out out different brands and pick out your favorite. BUT, now, things have gotten better for the lefties. There are more left-handed banjos on the used market....AND...Gold Tone offers many of it's banjos left-handed, available now. And they sell their necks individually on their website. If I was a lefty and wanted to try out different banjos, I would put out an inquiry on this site asking if there are any lefty in your area who would let you try out their banjos. Banjo players are usually very friendly and helpful people. This is just my 2 cents.

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