What is a left handed violin ?
By tradition, when playing the violin, the instrument is held in the left hand and rests on the left shoulder, while the bow is handled by the right hand. Why? Because for most people, the left hand has a passive role and the right one has an active role in all coordinated movements. The fingering is less active than bowing and, as a consequence, the left side of the body is the one in charge with it. The movements of the bow are of great importance when playing the violin and it defines the virtuosity of the player. Musicians control the intensity, the power, and the nuance of the sounds by controlling the movements and the pressure of the bow on the strings.
But tradition cannot change the human nature. What happens when an individual discovers that his/her most coordinated hand is not the right one? Should this individual refrain from performing those activities that require more control in the right hand? The answer is simple: NO!
We talk here about left handed people and the adjustments that need to be made in things, to meet their natural needs. A left handed person is an individual whom uses the left hand more easily or skillfully than the right one. By analogy, a left handed violin player is a violinist whom finds it more natural to handle the bow with his/her left hand instead of the right one. Playing violin left handed used to be and still is a concept difficult to recognize and accept among teachers. Just like in the old days when teachers forced their left handed students to write by holding the pen in their right hand, there are music teachers today that try to make left handed students hold the bow in their right hand regardless their natural disposition. Playing violin left handed is a new concept and it became possible only a few years ago, when luthiers like Gliga started to build violins for this particular category of musicians.
A left handed violin looks like a normal violin, but it is held in the right hand and rests on the right shoulder. The bow is held and coordinated by the left hand. But, contrary to the general perception, a right handed violin cannot be converted to a left handed violin by just placing it on the right shoulder. There are a few construction elements that define the violin that is played left handed. A left handed violin is a mirror copy of a right handed violin. A left handed instrument is designed and built so from the beginning. There are no changes in the back and the sides of the violin. The top and the neck of the instrument are those whom suffer changes. The first element that defines the left handed violin is the bass bar, which is placed under the right leg of the bridge. The sound post is placed under the left leg of the bridge. The strings, from the right to left, will be G-D-A-E. Consequently, the position of the peg holes needs to be modified to meet the new order of the strings. As another consequence of the new order of the strings, the shape of the bridge needs to be adjusted, too. The last element and probably the most difficult to be made is the left handed violin chin rest. The chin rest for a left handed violin is an image in the mirror of the chin rest for a right handed violin and it is carved to hold the right side of the chin. Left handed violin chin rests are extremely hard to find and rarely sold individually or separately.
At the moment we carry left handed violins in 4/4 size only, but we happily take orders for fractional sizes.
Also, we have recently started to carry left handed violas and left handed cellos.