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How do I make music without my left hand?

Marion 08 Jul 99 - 02:55 PM
CarlZen 08 Jul 99 - 03:07 PM
Mike Billo 08 Jul 99 - 03:16 PM
Tiger 08 Jul 99 - 03:17 PM
Allan C. 08 Jul 99 - 03:29 PM
Matthew B. 08 Jul 99 - 03:35 PM
Bill in Alabama 08 Jul 99 - 04:16 PM
Mudjack 08 Jul 99 - 04:25 PM
Richard Bridge 08 Jul 99 - 05:00 PM
Jeri 08 Jul 99 - 05:22 PM
DonMeixner 08 Jul 99 - 05:41 PM
Margo 08 Jul 99 - 05:47 PM
John in Brisbane 08 Jul 99 - 07:20 PM
katlaughing 08 Jul 99 - 08:40 PM
alison 08 Jul 99 - 08:47 PM
Duane D. 08 Jul 99 - 08:58 PM
MAG (inactive) 08 Jul 99 - 09:13 PM
Jeri 08 Jul 99 - 09:59 PM
DocJohn 08 Jul 99 - 10:04 PM
Susan of DT 08 Jul 99 - 10:16 PM
Night Owl 08 Jul 99 - 11:34 PM
WyoWoman 09 Jul 99 - 12:14 AM
Steve Parkes 09 Jul 99 - 03:45 AM
SueH 09 Jul 99 - 07:57 AM
Neil Lowe 09 Jul 99 - 09:59 AM
Rex 09 Jul 99 - 10:48 AM
Bert 09 Jul 99 - 10:54 AM
WyoWoman 09 Jul 99 - 08:28 PM
Mike Billo 09 Jul 99 - 10:26 PM
Danielspiritsong 10 Jul 99 - 02:42 AM
CarlZen 10 Jul 99 - 04:19 AM
Jeri 10 Jul 99 - 07:44 AM
Night Owl 10 Jul 99 - 12:30 PM
Mike Billo 10 Jul 99 - 01:12 PM
WyoWoman 10 Jul 99 - 01:58 PM
Bert 13 Jul 99 - 02:01 PM
Mike Billo 13 Jul 99 - 10:30 PM
Art Thieme 14 Jul 99 - 11:39 PM
Allan C. 15 Jul 99 - 08:33 AM
Art Thieme 15 Jul 99 - 05:21 PM
Pauline 16 Jul 99 - 01:29 AM
McMusic 16 Jul 99 - 01:43 AM
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Subject: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Marion
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 02:55 PM

Howdilly doodilly neighbours. Question: are there any instruments that can be played without the left hand?

I have been forced into fiddle/guitar sabbatical of indefinite length because of tendinitis or some such tragedy. Fair enough, I want to heal properly and I suppose it's good for me to have a chance to study up on theory. However, I've been getting so desperate for music that yesterday I resorted to playing pennywhistle, but I'm paying for it today, so that's out.

Any suggestions? Maybe I'll have to start paying more attention to my voice, eh?

And just so you know, I've already considered and rejected becoming a page-turner, a "Chopsticks" pianist, or sitting on some guitarist's lap and strumming while he frets.

Love,

Marion


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: CarlZen
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:07 PM

A friend of mine who is a wood worker once ran his fingers through a circular saw. They didn't go all the way through and he grabbed fingers and hand and went to the ER and was airlifted to San Francisco for special surgery. The fingers were sewn on after extensive work on his nerves. He still has trouble playing the guitar because his left hand is numb. He took up the dobro. He only needs to hold a bar, and finds that that does not interfere with his healing process. I don't know how this would relate to tendinitis, but you may want to try it. Also, if you visit David Grisman's site, DAWGNET, he has a discussion of his problems with tendinitis and how he dealt with it and what he does now to prevent it from recurring.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Mike Billo
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:16 PM

I had a serious bout with tendonitis about 10 years ago. Fortunately, I already knew how to play the harmonica and bones(no left hand required for either). Learn to play the harmonica, or the bones, or the trumpet(fingerings require only the right hand).


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Tiger
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:17 PM

Marion....

You could also tune to an open chord and strum w/your right hand. You'd still need to barre to get different chords, but there's lots of ways to do that (good finger, broomstick, cigar tube, bottle neck, etc.). Good luck, keep us posted.

......Tiger


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Allan C.
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:29 PM

How about a MacArthur harp? I don't know anything about them, but maybe Ferrara will pick up on this and tell you more. But meanwhile here is a picture of someone playing one:

MacArthur Harp

http://homepages.go.com/~margmacarthur/macarthur.html


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Matthew B.
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 03:35 PM

The autoharp requires very minimal (and non-strenuous) use of the left hand.

The psaltery doesn't require any left-hand finger action at all -- you just hold it in your left hand and the right hand does all the work. Likewise for the Jew's Harp, the glockenspiel, the melodica, the french horn, and the spoons.

Tambourine, maroccas, and other percussion instruments of that sort are extremely easy to get started with, and can be lots of fun.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 04:16 PM

If you already are familiar with the guitar, your best bet would be bottleneck and open G tuning. As has already been pointed out, harmonica would also be a possibility. You can even use a neck harness and practice while driving.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Mudjack
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 04:25 PM

Voice, Voice ,Voice,,, but the open tuned guitar will give you some nice accompany. All the above covers any I can think of with the exception of a Karoake machine.....please don't. That was a bad joke. Stay with the voice and hope the physical thing will heal itself in good time.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:00 PM

Fife


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:22 PM

If you can already play pennywhistle, try tabor pipe. It's made for only one hand - it only has 3 holes, but takes some skilled breath control. With a bowed psaltry, you only have to hold the instrument with your left hand while bowing with your right. Mountain (or lap) dulcimer takes two hands, but one style of playing involves only fretting one string with a piece of wood (or one finger). So your left hand would only have to hang onto the wood and move it up and down the neck. Added bonus: they're extremely simple to learn and not too expensive.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:41 PM

Marion, (Librarion?)

After I ran my left hand through a table saw and had the odd finger reattached I despared at ever playing again. And there are those that twelve years later say I never have. I used the Auto harp for continuous therapy on the fingers and I maintain that the autoharp is the only reason I can play now. Tendonitis is a diferent deal tho'. The auto harp will require you to bend your wrist in a very srenuous effort and whil;e you may not be troubled with tendonitis of the elbow you will likely met his good friend Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I still try the A'Harp but I'd play it on my lap. THe second choice for me would be a Lap Dulcimer with a noter. Definately a four or more string instrument. I like George Orthey's Dulcimers a lot.

Guitar player magazine ran an article on this very subject about the time of my injury and they kindly sent me a photo copy of the article from their archive. Its long gone now but give them a call, ya never know.

I would look into physical Therapy for your RMI (Repetative Motion Injury). With deep massage and proper PT you can live with tendonitis. I do.

Don


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Margo
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:47 PM

I second the motion for bones. I had never seen them played until a couple of weeks ago in Canada when I visited Musicman. He really impressed me with the bones. Plus, they're cheap. Just have ribs for dinner.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 07:20 PM

Be the first person in your area to play didgeridoo. They're very cheap to make, easy to transport and help spread Australian indigenous culture.

Pan pipes are are also monomanic, as are Dixie and Swanee Whistles. Enjoy.

John


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 08:40 PM

And, ya'll forgot the KAZOO! Good fer yer voice, too! **Just Kidding**


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: alison
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 08:47 PM

Hi I'm just going to say one word then I'm going to run before someone hits me for suggesting it...... you don't have to use your left hand...

Bodhran

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Duane D.
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 08:58 PM

I don't know if the tabor pipe referenced by Jeri is the same item I've seen, but there is a one handed pennywhistle with 4 holes of various sizes and is played akin to an ocarina. The bowed psaltry gets my vote (because I play one). If you don't support it with your left hand, you can sit it on your lap or on a table.

Duane.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: MAG (inactive)
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 09:13 PM

Where exactly is the overuse syndrome? Anything which reactiviates it, like lifting groceries or turning a steering wheel can keep it from healing. It's hard not to play at all, but necessary to avoid bucking a problem forever. -- MA


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 09:59 PM

Duane, you're right. The tabor pipe has 4 holes - 3 finger and one thumb. I used to go to a lot of dances around upstate NY and New England. There was a wonderful caller who had 1.5 arms and played the heck out of a tabor pipe. I wouldn't have believed his skill was possible unless I'd witnessed it. I managed to find the notes on one once.


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Subject: well as a chiro with increasing problems myself...
From: DocJohn
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 10:04 PM

I can say it's a good thing I have an interestin bottleneck guitar cause sometimes I can't bear to fret a guitar. I gety the best therapies whenever I need them but I can't just walk away from my practice, which is the cause of my problems.

Sooo...I get to the office early enough to treatmeyself and then again before I go home. I really have been working on slide. Do it sitting down rather than standing with a strap, the wrist angle is better sitting. I hope you're getting good therapy and can discontinue the root cause.

John


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 10:16 PM

The MacArthur Harp does require some left hand work, but not a lot. The strings near the pillar are clustered in chords and played with a finger of the left hand from behind the instrument while holding the harp on your lap at the pillar with your other left fingers. The right hand selects strings for the melody on the face above the soundbox.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Night Owl
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 11:34 PM

I would add my vote to the mountain dulcimer..the piece of wood...or whatever you choose for the left hand can be used to bar all four strings easily or only the melody strings. I think the Autoharp, other than simple strumming on your lap, can place your entire left arm and hand in an unnatural position if held upright.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 12:14 AM

I second the hope that you're getting really good massage from someone who knows anatomy, and physical therapy. I write for a living and was so crippled up from tendonitis and carpal tunnel stuff last year I was seriously thinking I might have to change careers (and since I"m temperamentally unsuited for most "real" jobs, this was alarming). But with PT, massage, a course of anti-inflammatory drugs (Relafen -- not great for the rest of the bod if you take it for a long time, but better than the alternative for a few weeks).

And, as a singer, I just have to say, open those pipes and let the music pour out.

KC


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 03:45 AM

If you take up the harmonica, DON'T prcatice with a neck harness while driving if your car has an air-bag!!

Steve


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: SueH
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 07:57 AM

I'd go along with the fife or tabor; these were designed to be played one-handed (other hand drumming)& if you already play the penny whistle there shouldn't be much of a learning curve.

Sue


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 09:59 AM

Little known and seldom used percussive/wind instruments, mostly associated with and employed in Bluegrass music: washboard; jug.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Rex
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:48 AM

In addition to the Tabor pipe mentioned above, there was an article in Recorder magazine about a fellow who designed a soprano recorder that was played with only the right hand. This was accomplished by keys and levers attached to a standard recorder. The article said that he was making these to sell.

Rex


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Bert
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:54 AM

Lets see, if we take this hurdy gurdy..... and get ourselves a little pulley .....and steal the motor from the sewing machine......Hee Hee...


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 08:28 PM

What *I* want to know is where do you get all these cool instruments mentioned in this thread? I think a harmonica is about as exotic as it gets in our local music stores.

KC


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Mike Billo
Date: 09 Jul 99 - 10:26 PM

Hi KC. Here in San Francisco, there is a store called Lark in the Morning, that has all of the above mentioned instruments in stock. They have a great mail order business, and website too. Run a web search on them, and you'll find their online catalog.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Danielspiritsong
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 02:42 AM

How 'bout a Gene Autry chord changer??

Just a thought...

Dan


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: CarlZen
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 04:19 AM

Neil - I love washboards and jugs when used in the proper context.

But watch out, because most places I've been where people are playing bluegrass the washboard, the jug, and even the washtub bass are scorned. I've seen people nearly lose their lives playing spoons at a bluegrass jam session.

I always thought bluegrass was just a part of the big folk music stew, but a lot of bluegrass people don't consider bluegrass to be folk music and can consider folk singers et. al. as being kinda strange.

They would probably love it, though, if an army of washboards, jugs, spoons and tubs showed up at a singer songwriter jam. (If there is such a thing)

I'm not trying to make fun of or generalize about bluegrass people, but there seem to be a lot of inflexible, orthodox bluegrassers. I guess every genre has those types, especially the once that tend to be more participatory.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 07:44 AM

House of Musical Traditions also carries these instruments. I've purchased from them and would gladly do so again.

Another company is Hobgoblin


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Night Owl
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 12:30 PM

I know that it's a risky business to ask a Mudcatter for a definition, ;o) BUT....Danielspiritsong...what's a Gene Autry chordchanger????


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Mike Billo
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 01:12 PM

Well said CarlZen. I was afraid to say the same things for fear that someone would feel I was intentionally "flaming". Every bluegrass session I have ever attended has been less like a musical event than it is like the Spanish Inquisition, with accusations of heresy flying back and forth. Narrow-minded music nazis muttering about how "Mr. Monroe would have played it", and the never ending litany about how Earl Scruggs would have done it, without having the historical perspective to know that Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs were considered revolutionaries in there day.

At one local jam session there is a declared "Bluegrass-Free Zone", where Celtic,Sea Shanty,Jazz, Blues, Jugband, and everything else is played and sung. I'll bring my harmonicas,ukulele, bones, spoons and washboard where people meet to play and enjoy music, and leave the bluegrassers to fight among themselves about how one musical style may or may not be played.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 01:58 PM

Mike and Carl -- I've noticed that, too. I wonder what that's about?

I guess in any artistic genre there are purists and ... what do we call it? Inventivists? Synthesists?

Part of what I love about music and other forms of art is the way it all evolves and informs and enriches. It's sort of like cooking, for me. I mean, I do like recipes, to give me a sort of general guideline about what to put in and in what order. But if I can't jam a bit with the ingredients, where's the fun?

Yrz in flamboyance, KC


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 02:01 PM

I know what you guys mean abut the bluegrass player. We had one where I work. So far to the right that she had never even HEARD of folk music.

Well my friend used to tease her that bluegrass was folk music and that all folk musicians were communists. So every time he saw her he's say "Still playing that Cuban communist folk music".
So he told me to write a song for her and here 'tiz. To be sung with a sort of calypso tune. feel free to sing it to any bluegrasser that you find:-)

Red, Red, Redneck

Oh I have a big sub-machine gun
and I won't drive no car
You always see me in my Army Jeep
a'smoking this big cigar.

Chorus
Oh I am a Red, Red, Redneck
and I come from this Cuba land
with my beard and my belly and my uniform
I look like a mountain man.

Oh you drink plenty of whiskey
and I drink plenty of rum
But we both get drunk every Friday night
and we both have lots of fun.

Chorus...


Oh I love Maria Helena
And you love little Liza Jane
Maria Helena she is beautiful
but Liza Jane, she is plain.

Chorus...


Oh you came over here with your banjos
gonna play some real fine gigs
I gave you a Cuban welcome
All in the bay of the pigs.
We're javelinas Ole!

Chorus...


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Mike Billo
Date: 13 Jul 99 - 10:30 PM

Great song Bert!!


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 14 Jul 99 - 11:39 PM

Ed Balchowsky was a good friend in Chicago. He lost an arm in the Spanish Civil War in a battle on the Ebro River. Before going to Spain Ed was beginning a career as a concert pianist. While recovering in Spain, he became adicted to Morphine and, on returning to Chicago, was just one more junkie around town for the next 30 years. Somewhere along that long road Ed heard a classical piece for the left hand only. It changed his life---musically at least. When I knew him he was the janitor at Richard Harding's folk nightclub in Chicago---The Quiet Knight. When the gig was over we'd sit in back of the club in the low light and listen to Ed play the songs of that civil war with one hand. He was a passionate man and every so often a discordant sound would puctuate the sounds made by his good hand when his stump would come down hard on the keys. Somehow, it seemed just right. "Freiheit" and "Peat Bog Soldiers" never sounded so good. I remember marching around the pool table in the club with Utah Phillips---swilling Scotch---pool cues on our shoulders like soldiers---while Eddy played his songs of Spain.

I'm glad I've got tapes and a video of Eddy. But I do wish you all could've been lurking in that closed, empty bar at 4:00 AM to dig those inspiring good times...

Art


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Allan C.
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 08:33 AM

You know, Art, sometimes you just bring the tears to my eyes. I, too, have spent my share of time in a couple of coffeehouses/clubs/bars and have been a part of the life there. The pictures you paint of the people you have known and the zany things you have done such as mentioned above, have a sentimental sadness about them that just gets me every time. (Pardon the thread creep, folks.)


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Jul 99 - 05:21 PM

Allen, Thanks, but that's just the way it was...

Ed Balchowsky was also a very surreal artist. He'd throw out reems of huge drawings and painings in the garbage behind the club at Belmont & Sheffield. (If Sheffield Ave. sounds familiar, yes, that is the street that hugs the right field wall at Wrigley Field.) Oprah Winfrey, the "Grand ole Orah" herself, has several of Eddy's paintings. But in those other times we just ransacked the garbage before they hauled it to get some amazing stuff. Sure do wish I'd kept some of it. Ed either fell or jumped in front of an "L" train in the subway station at North Ave. & Clybourn about 15 years ago. I'm thinking that I told this story of Eddy B. in another thread once. No matter I guess.

Art


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: Pauline
Date: 16 Jul 99 - 01:29 AM

I have a friend who has no fine motor control of her right hand because of a stroke she had in college. Her left hand suffers greatly from overuse syndrome. However, she loves music and is very strong willed. She now plays both piano and organ with her left hand only. She uses one finger to pick out the melody and the other fingers to play chords. She sounds very good and I'm very proud of her.

I also concur with those who recommend the lap dulcimer, although it requires some use of both hands. You can put it down on the table, use a noter, and strum. It has a lovely sound which may well appeal to you as a string player.


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Subject: RE: How do I make music without my left hand?
From: McMusic
Date: 16 Jul 99 - 01:43 AM

Anyone mention the hurdy-gurdy? Or does that require both hands?


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