I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

One of the first tutorial vids I watched said if left handed then put the left on the bottom but in hindsight it makes no difference does it.

I read that the issue comes if you want to play flute or instruements like that.

I cant imagine I would want to do that but I also didnt imagine I would play flute when I started playing fiddle a few years ago ๐Ÿ™‚.

I cant imagine a reason I would want to play other wind instruments though.

Thoughts?

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

It makes no difference to whistle playing.

If you want to play a flute, you’ll need a left-handed flute. That severely limits your options. Personally I would advise changing. There’s just no reason in favour of playing left handed.

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Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I am too. It really doesn’t matter. I play with 2 guys who play lefty flute. If you want a lefty flute get a Tipple. They play fine and are cheap. He’ll make a lefty for ya. Just never, ever take up the pipes.

Trivial side note: Donncha O’Briain played lefty, it seems. If you don’t know who that is look him up.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I suppose it depends whose bottom your hand is upon.

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Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

Mary Bergin plays whistle with left hand at bottom.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

In reference to the left handed flute for left handed players, I’ll point out that Patsy Hanley, a wonderful person and flute player, plays a keyed right-handed flute left handed. He doesn’t seem to let it bother him and says that there was nobody around when he learned to tell him he was doing it wrong. Un-keyed flutes should make no difference which way you play it. Heck, I know a left handed banjo player who can, at times, play a right handed banjo up-side down and if you weren’t watching you never know. My father played the harmonica very well upside down. Point is do what you will!

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

The embouchure hole on an unkeyed flute will be cut to suit right or left hand playing. If you play the wrong side you’ll get a lot of hissiness and it’ll be harder to get a good clear tone. So if you stick to left-hand whistle then you’d need a left-hand flute, keyed or unkeyed, should you ever decide to transfer. If you stay with whistle, then playing right or left hand makes no real difference. You’ll find certain ornaments easier or harder - swings and roundabouts, so to speak. For example, I’m leftie and play right handed. My E rolls aren’t as crisp as I might wish because the third finger of my right hand isn’t quite as agile.

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Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I think I will continue to take my chances with lefty since quite a few of yall do and the great mary bergin does too.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

Yes Dory-Ann I thought about that too. I’ve not played a lot of un-keyed, flutes, But I and my more skilled left hand flute player friend couldn’t tell the difference with my Gary Somers, M&E, Sam Murray, Copely (C, E flat) played either way. Your experience may be entirely different. I just don’t find that the manufacturing process would lend itself to treating one side differently. I could be wrong.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I’m very left handed and play the whistle the conventional way round with the left hand at the top. On a whistle, as others have also written, it really makes no difference … however, there are differences with other instruments.

Since it makes no difference in playing the whistle, there is nothing to be lost by encouraging a beginner to use the conventional hold, and maybe something to be gained in the future if they wish to play other instruments. No-one knows where their playing will take them in the future so why give yourself a potential issue for no reason whatsoever?

btw. I’d not describe the holds as "left handed" or "right handed", simply the conventional way or not since there is no natural tendency for people of either handedness to play the whistle one way or the other.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

Seamus Egan plays flute in the traditional right-handed manner but reverses his hands when he switches to low whistle.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I play right hand high , on the whistle it makes no difference but I’d recommend you play standard left hand high as if you wish to play another woodwind you could be severely compromised as the norm is left hand high.
I would have changed but after 30 odd yrs doing it wrong I couldn’t be arsed to start again. I play left handed keyed chanter ,that I had to order made…. regulators have to be left handed …………. whole load of expense and preordering …..

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I am not left-handed but two of my kids are, and my advice (which they both eventually agreed was the best plan) was to learn on and use a "regular" instrument. They’re more readily available, don’t have to be strung in any special way, actually use your dominant hand for the intricate work as in a fiddling, and anyone can hand you their instrument no matter where you are and you can fill in or do a solo if you haven’t brought yours along. Most of us who play any variety of instruments end up being pretty ambidextrous anyway, don’t we?

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

Not just Patsy Hanly, but John Wynne, Cathal McConnell, Seamus Tansey, and any number of flute greats have played lefty using old or modern flutes keyed for "normal" right-handed playing. Cathal McConnell makes very effective use of the backwards-oriented keys; I’ve seen him move his entire left (bottom) hand off the holes to hit the g# in a fast A reel without missing a note. In contrast, Seamus Tansey removed the silver keys from his marvelous Rudall, plugged the holes, and filed down the blocks—problem solved!

My guess is few if any of these guys weighed or argued pros and cons of which hand to put on top. They did what seemed natural and lived with the consequences. So play in whatever way suits you. If you want to play the flute later, find the best flute you can afford and play it. If the keys are backward (or forward), learn to use them—or not! Good luck & happy playing!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMOMuDSHZNI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCU07LkzSvE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8mNRWhkxWE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTo5Ae7Vz3c

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

OK, I’ve already mentioned that I’m left-handed here. With whistles it really is of no consequence whether you’re left-handed or right-handed. Not so with other instruments.

I’m glad that my mother is also left-handed and I had the support and confidence to go against teachers, school staff and others who seemed to think that a left-handed child was a problem to be corrected.

Those people thought that I was making some sort of lifestyle choice or an affectation just to be a nuisance. They took their understanding from a time when people thought that the child simply needed correcting, putting on the right course, and all would be well.

However, handedness is not a lifestyle choice, or an affectation put on to be a nuisance. Peoples brains are literally "wired" differently. It’s not a thing that can be changed on any sort of a whim and there are all kinds of developmental and educational implications for growing children. You cannot simply sit down left-handed children and "solve" the "problem" by "persuading" them not to be left-handed. Seriously, get a couple of good books on the subject.

Sorry … I realise that someone is likely to take offence here, but I can’t help but put put my oar in. Left-handedness should not be treated as some sort of disability, and no child should be persuaded that the natural make-up of their brain and body is something that needs to be "overcome" for someones (even allegedy their own!) convenience.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

I started playing "reversed grip." On a whistle or flute, it’s really not a big deal at all.

If you want to eventually play Uilleann Pipes, (and you do), it’s a *major* hassle. Making a lefty set is not difficult. It’s a matter of tying in the bag differently and making a reversed mainstock for the drones/regs (and a reversed bass reg in a full set) but finding a good, used lefty set is next to impossible, which necessitates ordering new. Oddly, chanters are generally OK played either way unless they have a lot of keys.

Handedness is pretty irrelevant as well.

Re: I am left handed and am learning the whistle with left hand on the bottom, bad or no?

The more videos I am watching on various flute videos on youtube the more lefties I am seeing crop up; and not just the old timers who didnt know any better. Many younger ones also going with south paw. It seems almost as high as 40% of the videos I have seen.

I feel vindicated now ๐Ÿ™‚