Is There any Real Difference Between a Right Handed and Left Handed Banjo?

A left handed banjo is not difficult to find these days. Most people favor their right hands when doing tasks. But if you are a lefty then you are likely to also play a stringed instrument like a banjo with your left hand. Should you then buy a left handed banjo? Should you learn to use the right hand and practice in a different way? Is there any real difference between a left handed banjo and a right handed banjo?

Let’s look at these aspects in more details.

Differences between a left handed banjo and a right handed banjo?

A left handed banjo is a banjo made especially for people with a dominant left hand. The dominant hand is used for the picking.

There isn’t much difference between a left handed banjo and a right handed a banjo. There may be minor differences based on the variant. For instance, some may have a difference in the placement of the nut at the top of the bridge and the neck.

The left handed banjo is actually a mirror image of the right handed banjo. The first string is the same in both. There isn’t any difference in other strings as well. The fret numbers are also the same in both left and right handed banjos. You will also be using the same fingers but with your dominant hands.

There isn’t any difference in how you learn to play it either. If you are using a book, you can simply follow the instructions for the right handed players. If your teacher is a right handed player and you are a lefty; you will both be mirror images of each other. In fact, in most cases; it is easier to learn from a right handed teacher if you are a lefty. The same applies to learning from videos or books.

So, when the instruction is to put your left finger on the fret, you just use whichever finger is on the fret and whichever is on the string. If you are a lefty, you will use your right index finger instead of the left. The important thing is to simply focus on the fret you are pressing and the strings you are plucking irrespective of whichever hand is your dominant hand.

Which hand to use?

First, it is best to play a stringed instrument using your dominant hand. If you are a lefty, you should use the left hand for picking. The dominant hand will be more suited for control and producing melodious rhythm. Yes, most people can train their non-dominant hand to do the tasks. But it is not easy.

Left handed banjos are easily available in the market these days. So, you don’t really need to compromise on not using your dominant hand for playing the banjo.

Earlier when left handed banjos were not available, most lefties learnt to play the banjo with their right hands. So, you do have a choice as to which hand to use. Earlier, even most teachers also insisted on teaching lefties to play stringed instruments using the right hand only.

If you are unsure about which hand to use, pick a banjo, and see what feels natural. If you are a lefty and still want to see if using your right hand to play the instrument is better, then by all means try it out once. You will know what is right with how it feels to use your dominant hand or the other one.

How to buy the ideal banjo?

If you are a lefty and wish to use your left hand as the dominant hand for playing the banjo, buy a left handed instrument. With a wide range now available for both beginners and professionals, it is easier than ever to play the banjo as you prefer it.

Choose a seller with a huge inventory of left handed banjos. Deering Goodtime open-back banjo is available for left handed players. It is perfect for beginners. Deering Goodtime 2 is a resonant banjo for beginners. Deering Sierra Mahogany is perfect for professionals.

So, contact the seller and ask for help in choosing the perfect left handed banjo for you.