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The left handed dilemma


fraMTK
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So, a little bit of background first.

I started learning guitar when i was 8 years old and plaied for about a year then stopped. I picked the instrument back up let's say 3-4 months ago  with rocksmith and started my learning process again.

The last couple of weeks, though, i had a dilemma, should i play right handed or left handed?

Let me explain why i'm not sure which hand to use anymore:

 

i write and do a lot of stuff with my left hand (open doors, drink, eat, use my cellphone etc.) but i do a lot of stuff with my right hand too (kick with my right foot, play tennis, shoot a bball and so on).

 

Everything was good and i didn't mind too much until i noticed that while i'm listening to music i instinctively simulate the fretting with my right hand.

Right now it feels more "natural" to use my left hand while fretting but i'm not sure if that's because i'm "made" to play like that or because i was taught that it as the correct way to play a guitar and i've never even considered playing in the opposite way.

 

Long story short, should i try and play left handed or it's just a waste of time and i'm a little paranoid? :P

 

P.S. i'm really tired right now so please excuse my really bad writing skills :P

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Playing guitar is much of a coordination of two hands, and has in this aspect a lot of similarities with sports.

In sport, you were certainly forced to use your both hand or feet,

a basketball player must be equally able to dribble the ball, depending on the opponents way to attack you.

 

So in sports you prefer the right hand, then I would recommend playing right handed.

I don't think there is any gain by also left hand playing, as you have no opponents when you play (except yourself :P )

 

However, should you have a bad finger, i.e. a hurting or blocking pinky of the fretting left hand, then being able to fret with the right hand is a welcome solution. I wish I could.

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Forget who said it, but ... "Have you ever seen a left handed piano?"

 

With the hassles of finding left handed instruments, I'd say stick with right handed as long as you aren't so strongly dominant you can't play right ... or as Freebird says, you have an injury. Both of my pinkies are pretty much out of use on guitar/bass, so I just figured out how to do without. 

 

See Django Reinhardt. 

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I learned both. I'm primarily southpaw in a number of regards, but there are quite a lot of things I do primarily rightie. Learning both can be a hassle, mostly because you have to flip-flop everything in your head every time you switch orientation. On the other hand (yeah, bad pun; oops), being able to play right-handed has saved my skin on a few occasions gigging about. As has been noted, the vast majority of instruments are right-handed, and leftie models are given the premium pricing. If you're primarily leftie, learn right-handed. There may come a time when you're playing a gig or something and your axe goes down. Just starting out, you're not as likely to have brought a spare along, and any spares that might be lying about will be right-handed. That versatility could be the thing that allows you to finish the gig versus getting half your pay for it at best.

 

And AMOlson: I have seen left-handed pianos. I've also seen backstrung harps and a few other truly weird things. Just a few months ago, single example, I was looking online for some new kit and found an 8-string resonator bass with a tremolo lever for sale. Probably one of the silliest things I've ever seen, and too expensive for a novelty item when the asking price was $800ish.

 

People, I've found, *will* make some of the most ridiculous niche items you could conceive and sell them to people who think that it's just a swell idea, usually for far too much.

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Heh. Have to laugh. My fave instrument is a baritone Schecter. Love that girl. But she really IS an example of neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat. Isn't even really a 'good' short scale, since the strings are so close.

 

However, a baritone is not something I'd ever recommend someone start out with. For an early instrument, I'd stick with something good but basic. My fave of the basses is actually the ESP LTD F-104. It looks a little funky, but it's a 35" 4 string and generally runs under $150 used. (Even has an active equalizer, so you can plug it straight into a set of headphones, no amp.) Right now I have one permanently down-tuned and it sounds fantastic, even next to my pro basses. Just a little light in spots. 

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I started right handed, wasted a lot of time and made no progress, then finally decided to really learn and get a left handed guitar, and it is infinitely easier. A lot of people will try to claim that being left handed on a normal guitar is an advantage because the left hand does the fretting, but that is moronic - if it's easier to fret with the dominant hand, why was every guitar on the planet made to fret left-handed when 99% of the players were right-handed?

Yes, it sucks to see cool guitars right-handed and next to nothing left, but I have plenty of guitars that I love and can actually play and keep rhythm. I would say buy a lefty guitar online, like an Amazon warehouse deal, if you don't like it, send it back, but if you're really lefty, you will probably fell a million times more comfortable.

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  • 6 months later...

 if it's easier to fret with the dominant hand, why was every guitar on the planet made to fret left-handed when 99% of the players were right-handed?

 

 

Cause the dominant right hand is stronger/faster and can pluck/strum strings faster?

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

 if it's easier to fret with the dominant hand, why was every guitar on the planet made to fret left-handed when 99% of the players were right-handed?

 

 

Cause the dominant right hand is stronger/faster and can pluck/strum strings faster?

 

If only it were that. It's something far simpler, and quite as silly; been around for centuries in one form or another, too: trainer bias.

 

In more detail: Most trainers/teachers/tutors/etc will have been trained a certain way, usually right-handed, and their instructor was same, and so forth. So 99% of the population learns and produces equipment for a certain way. Swords, guitars, firearms, most anything with a focus on selecting a specific hand to use primarily, same. It's why you can look at a page of handwriting and instantly tell if a left- or right-handed person had the pen(cil). It's why even now, right-handed fencers of all levels of capability have such a time dealing with left-handed opponents. It's basic human interaction and economics.

 

As I demonstrated, it's a lot simpler at core than Billie suggested, but quickly becomes a Gordian knot of permutations, complications, exceptions, etc. - and I gave one of the most pared-down explanations possible.

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I remember trying to decide if I should play left or right.  Holding the guitar left-handed was far more comfortable but, (as was mentioned above), I was concerned about prices and accessibility to lefty guitars.  If I came across a guitar, either at a friend's or a gig, chances are it was going to be a right-handed guitar.  I didn't want to have to refuse or sit-out on an invitation/opportunity to play because I was left-handed.

I'm not really sure why, but I went with a third option: play a right-handed guitar left-handed and haven't looked back since.  The inverted string style has its own challenges to be sure  Some chords are easier while others are more difficult.  Certain body styles also can make access to the higher frets more difficult but there are still plenty of good guitars where this is not an issue.  Rocksmith even includes an option for inverted string play. 

Just realized how old this post was so my response is probably for naught.  Maybe something for future readers to consider.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another leftie here !

I have tried to play a couple of my friend guitars as right handed but the hand coordination wasn't there. I got my guitar after playing Guitar Hero games. Was playing it in leftie mode, so got a left handed guitar, haven't dropped since. It feels easier to be honest. Also with normal guitars, i'm focusing on my right hand so much that I forget to move my left while playing the strings.

As a sidenote, my air guitar sessions were with left handed guitars too.

So try the air guitaring on a random occasion and check your movements.

Check out my CDLC videos on my channel, playing mostly Rhythm though and as left handed.

 


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  • 1 year later...

So I see it's been over a year since the last post here but hey Rocksmith is "new to me" and I'm a lefty so I'd like to add my 2 cents.

 

Yet another lefty here.  Do all my handwriting with my left hand which is pretty of out practice these days just type everything hardly ever write anything.   Anyway, I played most sports (eg basketball) right handed but tennis left handed.   Played baseball left handed but never was any good.

 

I play guitar right handed.   I wonder how it would go left handed.   So far I'm fine going righty on the guitar.

'From first to last, the peak is never passed. Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes.'

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I heard a guy telling his story about this. He is lefty, but had been taught playing right-handed. After years of practice he becomes somewhat good, and says "it still seems to me a bit unnatural to play this way". Also he felt his right-handed playing had hit the ceiling.

He tried a lefty guitar and obviously couldn't play the same as right-handed, but he didn't give up, and after few months he reached a good level with his left-handed playing, too. He eventually improved his lefty playing and in short time he could play what as right-handed could not.

 

So, if you have the chance and you are uncertain, play right and left-handed for a while. You may prefer one hand at some point.

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I heard a guy telling his story about this. He is lefty, but had been taught playing right-handed. After years of practice he becomes somewhat good, and says "it still seems to me a bit unnatural to play this way". Also he felt his right-handed playing had hit the ceiling.

He tried a lefty guitar and obviously couldn't play the same as right-handed, but he didn't give up, and after few months he reached a good level with his left-handed playing, too. He eventually improved his lefty playing and in short time he could play what as right-handed could not.

 

So, if you have the chance and you are uncertain, play right and left-handed for a while. You may prefer one hand at some point.

To elaborate on this... OP could always just pull a Hendrix

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I'm mostly left-handed on everything but one of the few exceptions is guitar/bass. It just takes a lot of time and effort. 

Weirdly enough when I randomly air guitar I am a lefty for that 

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im a natural lefty..but I play guitar right handed.....was tought by a right hander..used his guitar..so...I play righty....but anyways...to answer any questions.....fret'ing with my left "domainant hand make it so much easier..i did however have to practice my off"right hand" in picking...I had no prob strumming...but picking a single string was tough at first..but with practice it came along.nicely...so it has both its pro's and con's like everything

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Wikipedia says it is estimated that between 70 and 95 percent of the world's population is right-handed.

 

It seems like there's a disproportionate amount of left handed people playing guitar.

 

I'd like to see a poll. :)

'From first to last, the peak is never passed. Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes.'

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wouldn't consider myself a great... or even decent player by any means for reference. I'm pretty much ambidextrous, I do have preferences for one and or the other depending on what I'm doing. Right handed, writing (just because you don't have to worry about your hand smearing ink), computer mouse, throwing a ball (terrible at both hands), guitar (even though I instinctively held it lefty at first). Bowling, I'll throw three strikes in a row with my left, nothing but gutter balls with the right, piano I find I have a much easier time with melodies in the left hand rather than the right (I'll take one of those left-handed pianos).

Honestly for convenience playing right handed has a lot of advantages in terms of cost and availability of instruments which is an advantage. I'd say mess around with both for a bit if you can. Go to a music store and ask to try out a lefty and a righty if you can, see if someone's willing to help you figure out which is a better fit for you. If you're decently competent with your right hand, it's worth considering learning righty.

Don't forget, there's a lot of people who believe ambidextrous people are just lefties who learned to use their right hand.

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  • 4 months later...

I would highly recommend choosing whichever way feels best to hold and execute the proper techniques. I'm right-handed and have always played left, although I play drums right-handed. Yes, it's harder to find guitars and such, but it never felt right for me to have my left hand doing the fretting.

Because nobody wanted to play bass, I was instantly in a band. Les Claypool

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