10 Best Left-Handed Guitarists

Best of the lefties.

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Ultimate Guitar
10 Best Left-Handed Guitarists
11

Being different is not easy, but these guys overcame the odds and became famous rockstars. 

Today, we want to celebrate 10 best left-handed guitarists in the history of rock music.

10. Al Mckay

Al Mckay is best known for being the guitarist in American funk band Earth, Wind and Fire, as well as for being a successful session musician in his own right.

9. Eric Gales

Eric Gales is an American blues-rock guitar player. Aside from releasing several of his own successful solo albums he is also a highly sought after session musician. He's a little special in respect that rather than reversing the strings, he plays guitar upside down!

8. Elliot Easton

Elliot Easton is the lead guitarist in American rock band The Cars. The Cars were active from 1977 to 1987, but Easton took a break after the best-selling Heartbeat City to record on his own in 1984.

7. Zacky Vengeance

Zacky Vengeance, is an American musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and founding member for the American heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold.

6. Kurt Cobain

Leadsinger, guitarist, songwriter of Nirvana, and one of rock's most tragic icons. Kurt Cobain founded the band that defined the grunge movement in the 90s. 

5. Dick Dale

Dick Dale wasn't nicknamed "King of the Surf Guitar" for nothing: he pretty much invented the style single-handedly, and no matter who copied or expanded upon his blueprint, he remained the fieriest, most technically gifted musician the genre ever produced.

4. Albert King

One of many other famous left handed guitarists to be inducted to the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Albert King is one of the most influential names in Blues. Interestingly, he used a minor tuning which was C# G# B E G# C# but he never used the sixth string on his guitars.

3. Paul McCartney

Everybody knows Sir Mccartney. As a member of the Beatles and also as a very successful solo artist, Paul McCartney has sold over 100 million albums worldwide. After his almost infinite contributions to the world of music he was awarded a Knighthood in 1997. 

2. Tony Iommi

Black Sabbath‘s Tony Iommi is widely regarded as being the pioneer of heavy metal and is undeniably one of the biggest names in rock guitar. Tony Iommi lost two of his fret-hand fingertips in a workplace accident but carried on playing left handed with prosthetic replacements.

1. Jimi Hendrix

Now, who would have any doubt when the greatest guitarist in history is also a leftie. 

 

94 comments sorted by best / new / date

    HugoPan
    I am left handed, but play like a right handed. I don't think this is a big of a difference if you are starting to play. you will need to sincronize movements of both hands and, since you're in starting position with the guitar yet, you would still have zero skills with both hands. 
    ScratchMoore
    I'm a righty, but I always thought this. If I had chosen to emulate Jimi or Paul when I first started, I don't think it would have been any more difficult to learn how to play left handed from the very beginning.
    dennis.1960
    I'm a lefty who plays right handed too.  Back in '68 my mom signed me up for guitar lessons and there was never a question of playing left handed...probably because the music store only had right handed guitars.  I actually think it makes more sense for a lefty to play right handed...it puts your dominant hand on the fretboard where the most challenging action is.
    Hungry_Hameds
    Always thought that. Same with drummers, most just happen to learn right handed as it's more common. If your first teacher was a leftie you could have played that way without even considering it.
    NeilTheDruid
    Always wondered about this. Guitar playing isn't an inherently natural thing to do. It's not like something as basic as picking up an object with one hand or something - you have to use both hands to perform an action that is foreign to them. While the strumming action might be slightly easier with your dominant hand, the fingering part (lol) is always going to be more difficult with the non-dominant hand. In a way you might think the easier action (strumming, IMO) would be given to the non-dominant hand and the fingering would be given to the dominant hand which, theoretically, has more control. Man, I'm over thinking this, I'm going to drop my guitar next time I pick it up.
    tonello
    When I was a kid my mom would sometimes pick up my guitar and hold it left handed. She's right handed but said that holding it the other way felt more natural because of the things you mentioned. 
    felixknott
    I disagree, when you really think about it there is a lot more going on with your strumming hand. Your strumming hand drives all the rhythm, dynamics, generally requires faster movements whereas your fingering hand is basically all just making shapes on the fretboard and tensioning the strings, obviously it requires control but on a whole I think the strumming hand requires more control especially for finger picking. 
    Eifler121
    I can confirm this. Myself, my guitar player, and my drummer are all lefty, play right handed on everything. I don't even know where I would have found a lefty guitar.
    The_Crank3
    I disagree because everyone is different but you are probably right for a lot of people... just not everyone. I myself have been playing left handed at guitar for ten years but I find it almost impossible to play right handed no matter how much I try. But with this said I can do other activities right handed.
    Eifler121
    He's saying, had you started righty, you'd probably be fine now.
    The_Crank3
    No I wouldn't because i did try starting righty but was way too uncomfortable. Always go with what feels more natural is my opinion. For most people yes, but like I said I'm different. Most people have almost the same strength in both hands/arms no matter what side is their dominent, whereas I have one arm that is way stronger than the other which makes it almost impossible to do certain tasks a certain way.
    meme397
    Special snowflake alert
    The_Crank3
    Yeah I'm a special snowflake because I can't play guitar right handed. Are you going to call every lefty retarded next time?
    meme397
    No no no no no. You're misunderstanding me, my friend. I'm lefty too, hence why I clicked on this article. The special snowflake thing was in reference to "I said I'm different"
    The_Crank3
    Oh ok my bad, sorry for the misunderstanding. So if someone says they are different that makes them a special snowflake? Ok i see where this is going..
    ZWH
    Why are you being down-voted? I'm a lefty and I NEVER felt comfortable picking with my right-hand, even though I have played for many years. Fingering the fret board feels really natural but my picking hand just never got that good.  I don't agree that it does not matter, it's not like were taught to be left-handed. In the end though, everyone's different. 
    eddiehimself
    Totally agree. One of my friends in school was left-handed but amazing on both the Cello and Piano, both right handed. 
    entrail_soup
    Paul didn't used to be left handed.  Till he died and got replaced.
    fokkertism
    His replacement was left-handed, but (((they))) trained him to play right-handed so people didn't notice.
    TomislavZG
    Mark Knopfler?
    skyturnedred
    Presumably the list only includes people who play left-handed too.
    munkysquid
    Maybe they'll do a list of lefties who play right-handed next? Knopfler, Corban, Moore, Costello, Allman etc etc.
    Denwylde
    Mark knopfler's right handed 
    rui99c1
    Mark Knopfler is not right-handed...he is left handed but plays right handed
    The_Crank3
    You can say that about jimi too then. Jimi was right handed(look at pics of him signing autographs) but play left handed because it was more comfortable for him. However, he could play right handed too just not as good app
    KBI2113
    I honestly don't know how I feel about Cobain being on the list. He was a hell of a lyricist and his band basically stuck the final dagger into hair metal with one song, but I honestly feel his guitar playing was sub-par.
    Spinnerweb
    B I U ” Smiles @ User If I remember correctly, Jimi was naturally left-handed on thr guitar but his dad didn't let him play left-handed so he learned to play both left AND right handed. Well, I guess that's a small feat for a guy who could play guitar with his teeth and behind his back Lots of people say Kurt Cobain was a bad guitarist but I think he was great - wrote memorable riffs, did it while moving around a lot onstage, and used feedback really well live.
    The_Crank3
    And another thing about Jimi is he did some thing right and other left. Definately amidexerous (spelling?). If you see pics of jimi signing autographs he uses his right hand.
    Mad-Mike_J83
    I think a lot of the speculation about Cobain being a bad guitarist is from Kurt Cobain himself - kind of like how half the bands I've joined I've had to argue about using the vibrato on my Jag-Stang for metal leads because the guy claimed it did not work 20 years ago.  Cult of personality can be a powerful thing. Truth is, Kurt was not bad, he was good.  His sound served his music, and it did it's job.  Bad would be something like Kanye West.  I'm not by any stretch saying Cobain is a George Lynch, Kim Thayil, or Eddie Van-Halen, nor would he want to be.  But Kurt did have some abilities, he just chose to downplay them, I think a little too much TBH, but that's what his art needed to keep that raspiness honest, so it's a bit of a catch 22.
    sotp
    Thank you for the lefty love, UG <3 One thing I've always wanted is a Lefty Gibson Explorer, haha like that's gonna happen right? I'm gonna go cry now
    loumangroup
    I know how you feel. There are so many amazing right handed guitars that aren't available in left handed.
    wylde1994
    yeah i know your pain...always wanted a lefty explorer. Settled on a black harley benton cuz it was exactly the same shape as the original design. Cheap as chips as well, only down side is i wanted a white one like James Hetfields one he used on the "...And justice" tour 
    sotp
    That's the dream right there, brother. How does she play?
    wylde1994
    it's pretty nice for a £100 guitar, neck feels almost identical to my epi and the only thing i changed were the pickups and bridge 
    LysanderSpoon
    I would definitely have ranked Dick Dale higher than the man who's been impersonating Paul McCartney for years, if we're just talking guitar playing. Songwriting, or like a global assessment of someone's musicianship that takes playing, writing, influence, etc. into account? Absolutely, Sir Paul's body double is a top-three pick for that. But Dick Dale is a goddamned maniac when it comes to just straight-up playing, and he's still doing it at 80 years old.
    Napalm7
    Does Billy Corgan count? He's Left handed and a guitarist. But plays right handed.
    AlexToodooloo
    "Being different is not easy, but these guys overcame the odds and became real rockstars." Since when has being left handed been a disability or a social stigma? Nobody gives a shit.
    Metallion181
    Go lefties! Regarding some comments on being left and playing right, wasn't a question for me as it felt natural to go left. To this day I still don't have good rhythm with the right but fretting accuracy is learned. I can pick up a righty and play it lefty where most even look at my guitars and say "that's wrong". My biggest issue is availability and price mark up of leftys and strike rate of buying a fuckin lemon (most had some flaw, most fixed with mods / replacement parts).
    KewlBeans
    eric gales is not left handed. he is right handed, his brother is left handed and thought him how to play and his brother plays with the guitar like that so he just thought that´s how you played it and learnt that way
    Denwylde
    Luke Morley 
    dial-a-death
    Was just about to post that, he was the 3rd to come to mind after the obvious choices of Hendrix and Cobain. Great guitarist and songwriter. Thunder are way too underrated.
    Denwylde
    Glad someone else knows how he is!! Thought I was alone here!!  Great guitar player 🤘🏻
    loumangroup
    I fucking hate being born a lefty
    drummerboyjosh
    I love it, minority group motherfuckeeeeerrrs
    Way Cool JR.
    Being born a lefty is not a problem at all, choosing to play lefty is your own choice.  I'm so glad I chose to play right handed.  
    AC0RN
    Look up Chris "OJ" Ojeda of Byzantine. Needs to be on this list!
    entrail_soup
    truer words have never been said!!  The guy is a beast.  Byzantine are HIGHLY underrated.  
    Lamboflog
    Although both Gary Moore and Steve Morse are left handed and went on to play right handed. 
    Rayan_A
    John Frusciante?
    insgib
    Hendrix is not and never was "the greatest guitarist in history". He himself was asked in interview whether he was, and thought it laughable. Segovia? Emmanuel?
    The_Crank3
    That's because Jimi was a humble guy who idolized his heros more than himself. Just because he never thought of himself as the greatest doesn't mean it's true. And maybe he also didn't want to come across as cocky or arrogant by agreeing that he is the greatest. Geniuses don't go around telling people how much of a genius they are...at least the ones I know don't.
    conarmenti
    Are we counting left-handers that ply right hand guitars? Cause then we'd be counting Duane Allman, Robert Fripp, Gary Moore, Mark Knopfler, Paul Simon, 
    dennis.1960
    Glad to see Elliot Easton get mentioned...he's incredibly versatile and a real student of the instrument  
    spyrostsal
    Greg Sage from the Wipers is also an amazing left handed player. Also, Kurt Cobain was right handed, but learned to play a left handed guitar when starting out
    kramer242
    I know many will say Cobain don't belong on here.... Skill wise I'd agree.... But on absolute icon status, there are few people that will be thought of ahead of Cobain as recognizable left handed guitarists by your every day music fan
    King Bluesy
    I write, eat and drink left handed. But everything else is right handed. So I consider myself left handed and had to learn everything right handed