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Thread: The Leftorium

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    Default The Leftorium

    Denying The Inner Lefty


    Guys. Here's something I thought of while reading another thread talking about waiting for a lefty wolfgang.
    It got me thinking about my situation, and weather or not playing a lefty guitar is actuallly beneficial or not. I thought it might make for a fun discussion.

    Firstly...This is not a diss on lefty players. I mean, c'mon...Hendrix?

    Here's the deal.

    When I was real little, I was roughhousing with my older cousin, and while he tackled me relentlessly playing football, I tripped, and when I went down, he broke my right arm and wrist. This was right around the time I was learning to write. I ended up using my left hand more, to the point that by the time my cast was completely removed, I was by all counts a lefty. Nothing seemed comfortable using my right hand...I still can't write with my right hand if I tried...
    but, when I learned to play guitar, I didn't like the way the guitar felt playing left.

    So here's the thing that I find interesting and worthy of discussion.
    Many people have said to me that my fretboard hand (left like righty players) technique is by what they've said advanced as far as picking things up. In fact I've noticed that many of the notes I play I tend to generate come from my left hand and economizing my right hands picking. I actually have a bit of a hard time showing people some of my stuff because where they would normally pick, I tend to pull off, or hammer the notes while playing pedal notes with my right. it's weird to explain.

    So here's my question. Since a lefty's dexterity is natually in the left hand...and the fact that the real hand/mind co-ordination is required in the fretting hand of the guitar...Is it really an advantage to conform to the beleif that you should play a "lefty" guitar?

    For me at least, learning right was an advantage, even at least over righthanded players in my neighborhood. My friend John learned right, was righthanded, had all the passion I did, took lessons, but never got beyond basic chords, got frustrated, and eventually gave up.
    Me...I never took lessons (except for piano....He did too, and we were both top of our class)

    Are there any members on here that have gone down the same path I did, and learned the guitar right-handed, but being a natural lefty?
    I know there is a member on here (name escapes me), but he mentioned he can play in both configuations. I can't. I tried it after reading what he said....it's completely foreign to me.

    If so, do you feel it was advantage, a hinderance.
    I just thought it might make for a fun discussion.
    Looking forward to your replies.
    JJ
    Last edited by we die young; 02.21.13 at 06:38 AM.

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    Almost all of my left-handed students over the years have played guitar right-handed (with a handful of exceptions). I can only think of one example in 15 years of teaching where a left-handed student should have been playing left-handed--but wasn't. He took lessons for a full year--and had all kind of dexterity issues--before telling me he was naturally left-handed. It seemed then the obvious problem was he couldn't comfortably coordinate his hands to perform well on the guitar.

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    For me fretting with my right hand feels more comfortable and keeping a rhythm with my left feels natural. Being the rebel I am and never listening to my Dad who tried so hard to make me play righthanded. Christmas would come and on my list would be a certain lefty guitar and damn it I would open it up and it would be a righty! So I would string it up lefty. If I would have listened to my Pops I would have saved a lot of $ seeing lefties generaly pay a little more for their guitars if that company happened to even make them lefty. This is why I started making my own bodies for awhile but that took a lot of time. I guitar teched for a few bands and could play some riffs righty as well as you mentioned but to me it just does not feel natural. Just my two cents, cool thread!
    Come on Dave give me a break!

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    Every left handed person I know, that plays guitar, plays right handed guitar.
    ~ I like the way the line runs up the back of her stockings ~

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ax2grind5150 View Post
    For me fretting with my right hand feels more comfortable and keeping a rhythm with my left feels natural. Being the rebel I am and never listening to my Dad who tried so hard to make me play righthanded. Christmas would come and on my list would be a certain lefty guitar and damn it I would open it up and it would be a righty! So I would string it up lefty. If I would have listened to my Pops I would have saved a lot of $ seeing lefties generaly pay a little more for their guitars if that company happened to even make them lefty. This is why I started making my own bodies for awhile but that took a lot of time. I guitar teched for a few bands and could play some riffs righty as well as you mentioned but to me it just does not feel natural. Just my two cents, cool thread!
    Yeah. That's what I was thinking. I kind of had the realization that if you're picking up a guitar for the first time...It's gonna feel a bit foreign no matter what. I never really understood it. I thought it might just be a case for myself of actually forceably switching from right to left handed getting injured for quite a while, at least with writing but it was so long ago and so early on that I got hardwired that way. I still do most day to day activities with my right hand. I eat with my right, pick things up with my right, but for detailed precision working tasks, I tend to switch to the left I guess because my dexterity developed more there. I just think it's a cool thing to talk about, and frankly. I'm surprised that there are reports of so many lefty's playing right handed. I never really thought about it, but the topic of lefty guitar availability has been coming up in several forums around the interwebs.

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    I've been saying for years that all you righties are playing it wrong. If you are right-handed, you would want to fret with your right hand and have the guitar on the right side of your body, the whole groove and everything happening on the right side, not on the left.

    If you swing a bat rightie you swing through your right side...right handed hockey shot, from the right, boxing with power punch from the right etc etc etc...yet when you play guitar right-handed you are hanging if from the left side of your body and fretting with the left hand...it's completely backwards, you guys have it all wrong.

    I'm mostly right-handed...some things I do with my left hand. I have a hard time using a steak knife with my right hand, but I cannot use a spoon with my left hand to save my life. I catch and throw righty, shoot righty. I write with my right hand. But the very first time I picked up a guitar I immediately put it on the right side of my body...where it belongs for a right-handed player. Nobody corrected me and it has always felt totally natural. Playing the other way has always felt all wrong.

    You righties are actually all playing left-handed

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    I am Lefty and I never once thought it would be a good idea to play right handed. For me it's all about keeping rhythm, not about the fretting. I started out on drums and that may have influenced me, but I can't even imagine doing strumming patterns with my right hand. I wince when I am at music stores and I hear people tell left handed people they should play right handed. I have never once heard those same people tell right handed people to play left handed. Do what feels right. BTW, I am way more comfortable with a computer mouse with right hand versus my left. Weird.
    Last edited by stephenjay21; 02.21.13 at 03:56 PM. Reason: zz

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    That's funny about the mouse and now that I think of it I'm the same way. The other I thing think is cool being a lefty on stage makes it so we set up on stage so both our head stocks are facing out so our dumbass singer does not run into them
    Come on Dave give me a break!

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    When I was a kid and I picked up a guitar for the first time, I would try and play it left handed. Obviously being right handed and it being the more dexterous and dominant hand, it felt natural that the fretting hand should be the right one. Nowadays, after playing the guitar right handed for so long, I can't imagine playing it left handed.

    There are some lefties out there who flip a normal right handed guitar like Hendrix, but don't flip the strings. So they are playing with the high strings at the top and the low strings at the bottom.

    Two handed tapping requires both hands to be nearly equal in their dexterity. Think of Ed's 1984 tour spotlight solo and the tray table section. Then there's guys like Stanley Jordan who take two handed playing to the next level. If you've never seen it before, be prepared to be amazed,

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    When I taught guitar at a music store, the owner would insist on telling parents of left-handed kids to buy them right-handed guitars. In some cases they would get on fine when they came to me for lessons, but in many cases they would flounder. But the store owner wouldn't budge from his position of left handers learning to play right handed (whether this had anything to do with left hand guitars being less profitable, I don't know).

    The lesson I took away from all this was not to generalise, that everyone is different. When I was selling guitars to left handers, I would just hand one to them and see how they naturally wanted to hold it.

    Years later I had a psychologist girlfriend who was left handed, and she'd done her doctorate on left-handedness. It turns out very few people are completely left- or right-handed. Most are at some point in between, with one hand being more or less dominant than the other. It's partly tied to which eye is dominant as well (most people use one eye primarily for seeing, the other for depth perception).

    To this day it annoys me when people say Steve Morse/Gary Moore/Eric Clapton/My brother-in-law is a leftie who plays rightie, so everyone who's left-handed should do the same. Everybody's different, everyone has their own left-right balance, the issue of dexterity is much more complex than which hand is dominant. For example, my right hand is stronger, but I have more fine control of the fingers of my left.

    In short, everybody should choose the path that feels best to them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charvel2 View Post
    When I taught guitar at a music store, the owner would insist on telling parents of left-handed kids to buy them right-handed guitars. In some cases they would get on fine when they came to me for lessons, but in many cases they would flounder. But the store owner wouldn't budge from his position of left handers learning to play right handed (whether this had anything to do with left hand guitars being less profitable, I don't know).

    The lesson I took away from all this was not to generalise, that everyone is different. When I was selling guitars to left handers, I would just hand one to them and see how they naturally wanted to hold it.

    Years later I had a psychologist girlfriend who was left handed, and she'd done her doctorate on left-handedness. It turns out very few people are completely left- or right-handed. Most are at some point in between, with one hand being more or less dominant than the other. It's partly tied to which eye is dominant as well (most people use one eye primarily for seeing, the other for depth perception).

    To this day it annoys me when people say Steve Morse/Gary Moore/Eric Clapton/My brother-in-law is a leftie who plays rightie, so everyone who's left-handed should do the same. Everybody's different, everyone has their own left-right balance, the issue of dexterity is much more complex than which hand is dominant. For example, my right hand is stronger, but I have more fine control of the fingers of my left.

    In short, everybody should choose the path that feels best to them.
    Very interesting read.
    Yeah....I mean, I guess like you say, I could be somewhere in the middle in that when my arm was broken, it was during those formative years where you're establishing a more dominant or comfortable side. I also came from the era where being a lefty was kind of shunned in a way. My parents, and grandmother were adamant that I should write right handed. I never understood it really, but then I guess it came from the era of most communication forms being more strict. On a side note, I still remember to this day, my old man making the observation that I tied my shoes lefty. Huh? Haha. I guess he meant that my loops went the opposite direction from how you would if you were right handed.

    Strangely enough though despite being a freak that tied his shoes backwards, I honestly felt more comfortable and natural holding the guitar right handed.
    People say "Oh...You're ambidextrous" but I've tried playing guitar lefty, and I can't even place my fingers properly on the fretboard. It's like a first day student picking it up for the first time. The brain is a strange thing.

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    I'll never forget once when I was about 18, I bought a Boss SD-1 to boost my Marshall JMP. Well, I get the thing home, and find out it's a goddamn LEFT HANDED model??!!

    I was pissed. Went back to the store and exchanged it for a right-handed version.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jape Man View Post
    I'll never forget once when I was about 18, I bought a Boss SD-1 to boost my Marshall JMP. Well, I get the thing home, and find out it's a goddamn LEFT HANDED model??!!

    I was pissed. Went back to the store and exchanged it for a right-handed version.

    Hope when you took it back, you tore those Lefty Fascists new assholes!

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    Jape when you took the pedal back did you go in your right hand drive car?
    Come on Dave give me a break!

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    I grew up with a Dad who was a left-handed guitar player, so the only guitars in the house were lefties. When I first picked up the guitar, I tried to play my Dads left handed, and had a hell of a time. Dad strung one of his upside down and told me to try it, and it just felt "right". I'm sure I could have trained myself to play left handed, but it was much easier right handed.

    Incidentally, my Dad was one of the best Chet Atkins style players you could ever come across. I never really appreciated how good he was until later in life. I had heard from other guitar players all my life how good he was, but I was into Van Halen and Rock music, so I never really gave it much thought. In my 30s, I tried to learn that style of playing, and could never even come close to playing a song. It's the whole coordination of thumb-picking the bass line, while simultaneously finger-picking the melody that I couldn't get straight. He could thumb-pick the bass line, and simultaineously finger pick the melody and lead.

    The really odd thing that he could do, which I've never seen anyone else do, is take my right handed guitar, and play it just as well strung upside-down as one strung left handed. I don't know if I said that right. His left handed guitar was strung standard, with the fat E on top, and skinny E on the bottom. He could play my guitar, holding it left handed with the skinny E on top, and the fat E on the bottom, and play it just as well. He could even flip it over and hold it right handed, and play, but not well.

    My biggest regret in life is that I never appreciated my Dad's playing at a young enough age to learn it.

    My Dad passed away last year, and both of his lefty guitars are now prominently displayed in display cases in my music room
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