I've been playing guitar for a bit more than 3 years, and have become relatively comfortable with the instrument. I can pick out simpler songs by ear, and anything that is not heavy on lead is easy for me. But the latter is where my problem lies.

To make a really long (and embarrassing) short, right around when I started learning (sophomore year of high school; I'm a college freshman now), I made a really dumb mistake with vodka. I ended up in the emergency room and a ****load of trouble. But aside from the profound "oh ****" moment I had the next morning when I woke up sober in my bed, I felt a really strange tingling feeling in my left hand, specifically between my pinky and ring fingers. I thought little of it at the time, on account of having ****ed up to epically and having bigger things to worry about.

Turns out, because I was so out of control and belligerent, I had to be tied down to get my stomach pumped or whatnot. The nurse did so incorrectly, and the result was having a tourniquet on my fretting hand for an unhealthy amount of time.

Luckily, my friend's mom, who worked at the same hospital as a nurse herself, realized this and more than likely saved my entire hand. However, we are both pretty sure I did permanent damage to my left hand. I've noticed that this hand is significantly weaker in average day to day things, despite being my fretting hand. It also aches occasionally for no reason after playing. Most significantly, my ring and pinky fingers are largely unresponsive, so even moderately fast scales are impossible.

So my question to UG is...
do you guys think it is worth relearning as a lefty at this point? I'm just starting to consider this now because only recently I've started to feel like I've reached my limit in dexterity, and I'm not satisfied with where I am quite yet. Going back to n00b status sounds painful and annoying at first, but I know the basics so it's not like I'm gonna have to relearn any theory or understanding of the guitar, just the technical aspect of it. On top of that, I've had 10 years of piano experience, so I already have pretty good control over my right hand.

Long post summarized: I likely have permanent nerve damage in my fretting hand and am considering "Jimi-fying" my strat and learning anew as a righty after 3 years of playing. Is this annoyance worth it in the long run, UG?

On the subject of restringing my strat... I did a search and some claim restringing is all you have to do, but others recommended flipping the nut (or something to that extent) and having it re- set up. Any insights on this? Sorry for the long post, I just thought my story was compelling and potentially lol worthy maybe?

EDIT: I just realized I wrote "to make a long story short" and still wrote a freakin' essay. Heh sorry guys.
Last edited by Monolisk at Oct 3, 2009,
Don't worry about the lengh of the post, you probably don't want advice from lazy losers who can't even read one page...

Anyway, I don't have any inspiring and motivating stories to tell you about people who fought situations like this and became masters (not necessarily with gtrs), but trust me, there are some.
Try to invent stuff to play over and over in order to fix the problem and re-program your fingers' muscles and muscle memory. Insist of healing.

About flipping the nut (ohh, that sounds f-ing painful!!! lol) it's because it has cracks on it so the strings go through them. From the thickest to the thinnest. When you flip thr gtr you still need the thick string up. (Unless you're one of those guys who think it's cool to play up side down...)

Good luck with that, man...
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I think you should. If you continue fretting with your left, it could stop you playing all together.
Oh No Ono Mono
ouch... that's a sad story man... sorry to hear about the situation...
well being oriented to lefty instruments is not easy, but not impossible. Hell... if a lefty Herman Li learnt to shred right-handed... you can too :P

It's worth the run if you still got the fire in you, buddy... I can't imagine myself not doing the thing I love the most for anything... I would do the same too.

Good luck on your venture!

BTW... What the hell did you do to get into this mess?
Thanks for the advice guys... I would keep going being right handed, but for the past few months or so, I just have not been getting better in the mechanical aspect. I think I'll try it out if all it costs me is having the guitar center people flip the nut and a set of new super slinkys.

Haha it was the most dumbass thing ever. My friends were auditioning for the spring musical, and while my other friend and I were waiting, we stole a jug of really cheap vodka in a plastic bottle from the local Food Source. We go behind said Food Source and start to drink. At a point where I was already drunk, I decided to down like a 4th of this giant, disgusting bottle, and the next thing I remember is waking up at home the next day in my bed and realizing how majorly I ****ed up. The next day at school, I notice my friends laughing at me, and they informing me that the friend I was with that day ended up giving me hickeys while I was passed out. His explanation was "I thought he was my girlfriend... but I don't remember anything".

Needless to say, Vodka is close to my arch-nemesis. Sure I've had it casually a few times since then, but I generally do not like it at all. Hard liquor in general more or less disgusts me, although rum I can tolerate. Idk it was a really dumb move on my part, but I've paid the price and have moved on. In fact, we had all moved on after a while, including our parents. But two months after this incident, my Catholic school gets a whiff of the story somehow, and decides to reprimand us. Two months later. After our parents knew all the information already and dealt with it accordingly. We all got suspended after a really irritating investigation and series of lectures on being responsible. It angered me to no end, because it was obvious the disciplinary staff was just interested in flexing its authority and sitting on their high horse. All the parents were literally like "wtf are you doing. They made a mistake months ago". The great part was we were suspended two days before spring break, so our break was a lot longer.