#1
My bro has expressed interest in learning to play guitar. I'm going to teach him, but the first thing I need to figure out is whether he should go down the path of playing as a lefty or just say to hell with it and play a right-handed guitar.

I've thought about the fact that playing a right-handed guitar was awkward as hell anyway to begin with even though I'm right-handed, so I likely wasn't born knowing how to play the right-handed guitar any better than the left-handed guitar regardless.

However, it does seem like the mechanics of your writing motion (with a pen/pencil) would transfer somewhat to picking with that same hand. So I don't want to make picking with a pick awkward for him or something.

I've thought about pricing, availability, variety, and the ability to play other people's guitars... and that seems to kind of suck as a player of left-handed guitars.

However, at the end of the day, I feel like the most important thing should be his comfort and overall potential technique as a guitarist. I don't want to impede his learning process and stunt his growth or anything by having him play right-handed guitars just because I'm thinking about all this other stuff.

Input?

Thanks. I made this thread in the past on the electric guitar forum, but I wanted to ask in this forum because I don't think he'll be doing a lot of electric playing, mostly acoustic stuff. I fear that fingerpicking with the right hand will be difficult for him, and as that is probably a large majority of what he'll be doing (based on his interests), I'm afraid to have him play righty. But I'm also afraid that it won't even make a big difference either way and I'll have him inconveniently playing lefty for nothing.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Oct 11, 2011,
#2
If he is left handed then you would want to stay within his comfort level. That's why they make left handed guitars man; it's not abnormal, I see it all the time.

Although there is a limited selection vs. right handed guitars, they still make them. I've even seen people buy right-handed acoustics and reverse the strings.
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Taylor 414CE
#3
Well this guy in my class is a lefty, but he plays as a right-handed person would. Says he didn't have any troubles out of the ordinary. Other guy in my class is a lefty who plays as a lefty, says the same, except he's rather annoyed about the pricing of guitars.
#4
I'm a lefty who plays lefty. I've tried to play the other way and it just doesn't work for me. My dominant is truely left as I also write, throw, eat with that hand as well. The right is good for catching, not throwing, fretting but not picking. I can eat with my right hand, but don't normally. I can type using both hands and not looking at the keyboard, and the correct way using the home keys I might add.
Some people are able to overcome being right/left handed when it comes to playing guitar and play the opposite of what you'd expect. Just keep in mind that not everyone is able to do this successfully. Your brother may be one such individual who needs to have a lefty guitar. Maybe he can do the righty. He needs to make that decision for himself. I'd suggest going to a guitar store where they offer identical make/model guitars in both right and left hand configurations, then have him pick away on each one for a bit. He'll quickly know which feels more natural to him. Forcing the one that feels unnatural will only lead to dissappointment in a short amount of time. Allowing him to go with the one that feels the most natural to play right away will help the learning process in the beginning far more than the other way around. It's also possible that he can do great things with both hands equally, such as Michael Angelo Batio. If you've not seen him play guitar, you're missing out. Yes, he's a freak of nature, but also highly amazing to watch play. All just some food for thought for you to consider.
#5
my husband is a lefty. he plays righty for several reasons - but before i mention those, let me point out that guitar uses both hands regardless of which orientation you play.

my hubby started learning right handed because he found it was easier to learn watching other players and videos that way. he also finds that it allows him a much greater number of guitars to choose from. we also found it faster, when trying new guys out for bands we've played in together, to show most newcomers the ropes since all the second guitarists we've tried were right handed.

btw, shouldn't your brother be the one who decides which way to play?
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Last edited by patticake at Oct 12, 2011,
#6
The trouble with playing guitar left handed is finding left handed guitars.

Luckily, that has changed so much in the 40+ years I've sucked at playing guitar. Most manufacturers now have lefties available off the rack. When I started you strung it backwards, or you didn't play. OK, from time to time I found exceptions, but very rarely. Basically, if you wanted left handed, you had it built for you.

Anyway, before you try to "break" somebody of being left handed, realize that you're not a Catholic School Nun, so don't try and act like one. And also, see this website for a comprehensive listing of available left handed guitars, and manufacturer's policies, towards building a lefty for you....: http://leftyfretz.com/left-handed-guitar-database/


Carvin builds guitars left handed for no extra charge, as do Martin, and I believe Taylor. At any rate, Taylor provides a wide variety of lefties off the rack.

In any case, I advise against Ovation for custom work. I don't know about today, but at one time I believe the hit was 40% and a six month lag for custom work. I recall it being very off putting. (If my recollection is in error, please feel free to correct me).
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 12, 2011,
#7
Im lefty playing righty. I dont see how or why its clear your picking hand should be your dominant. For starters your picking hand movements are much more repetitive while your fretting hand has more shapes to learn and movements to make. Hammer ons, pull offs, slides, all the chords... It just seems like my left hand has more to cover.

That doesnt cover the total pain it would be to be a left handed player... you cant try other people's right handed gear for starters.

I also learned a few chords on the Uke when I was a kid so picking it back up righty felt just fine.
he of tranquil mind
#8
I do most things left-handed, but there are a few thing I do right-handed, one of which is play guitar. I learned right-handed because that was the correct hand, for me. In fact, at a time, I attempted to learn left-handed and I could not do it. With either orientation, He'll need to practice the same and do the same drills. It's going to feel wierd, and going to take some getting used to with either hand. So let him pick which one he thinks feels more natural, and go with that. Persistance is key; none of it will feel "right" if he isn't persistance with practice.

Forget the lefty, righty crap. Let him put his hand on both a left and a righty guitar, and go from there. He should choose what is more comfortable for him.
#9
Quote by fishmike
Im lefty playing righty. I dont see how or why its clear your picking hand should be your dominant. For starters your picking hand movements are much more repetitive while your fretting hand has more shapes to learn and movements to make. Hammer ons, pull offs, slides, all the chords... It just seems like my left hand has more to cover.
I've heard this argument 45 years ago. And it seems, that a left hander should have an easier time with his strongest hand on the neck.

So, what you should do, is rephrase the question like this, "if that's indeed true, then all right handers should buy left handed guitars. Because after all, if a right handed person learned to to play a left handed guitar, then his or her favored hand would be on the neck.

So, if you're correct, every right handed guitar player in history has had an enormously cruel hoax played on them by tradition.

Other than that, this is the same BS handed to me when I was 16 by some guitar salesman.

With all of that out of the way, have you considered you might be more ambidextrous than you give yourself credit for?

This just in! Most parrots are left handed! No s***......! http://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&biw=985&bih=1731&q=Lutes+for+sale&btnG=Google+Search#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&source=hp&q=left+handed+parrots&pbx=1&oq=left+handed+parrots&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=934381l942266l0l942774l19l17l0l2l2l0l431l4113l0.7.4.5.1l19l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=9fb4160009134867&biw=985&bih=1731
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#10
I'm a lefty but use right guitars because when my cousin let me use is guitar first time holding one I felt conformable with it and when I turned my guitar to see how lefty feels then it didn't feel good.

as for your brother let him fnd is comfort zone while playing, go to a music store and tell him to check both lefty and righty guitars and lets see what is better for him
Current Guitar:
- Epiphone PR-150 Acoustic Guitar
- Fender Squire Strat Electric Guitar
#11
Quote by Khriz134
I'm a lefty but use right guitars because when my cousin let me use is guitar first time holding one I felt conformable with it and when I turned my guitar to see how lefty feels then it didn't feel good.
That's probably because any experience is more comfortable than no experience. I used to be able to play, at least simple things upside down on a right handed guitar. Now, I figure ,"meh, why bother".
#12
most dreads allow you to string em backwards. i have my samick asdm strung backwards so that my son can play it. i have to tune it more often but a small price to pay. if he sticks with it, i'll i'll get him a true lefty. half the time he grabs one of the righty ovations anyway... go figure..
#13
most dreads allow you to string em backwards.QUOTE]

How so? The nut slots are cut big to small like every other guitar so switching them means carving out the thin slots so the fatter strings will fit, then the thin gauge strings will ride too low in the already wide slots for the previous thin gauge strings. Then there's the saddle which is angled and more than likely cut for intonation. Meaning if it's not flipped the guitar won't play in tune farther up the neck. Some acoustics have internal bracing that isn't symmetrical side to side, but is heavier on the low E side to prevent soundboard twist over time. Many do have standard bracing.
The pickguard is also on the wrong side once restrung for lefty(or righty if that's the case). It's not just cosmetic either since it serves the purpose of preventing scratches in the soundboard.
I'm not saying it can't be done, just that they aren't ready made for the job, not universally made for right/left out of the box so-to-speak. Would I do it to a $200 guitar from MusiciansFriend? Certainly. A Martin HD-28(approx $3450)? Not on your life.
#14
Quote by LeftyDave
It's not just cosmetic either since it serves the purpose of preventing scratches in the soundboard.
I'm not saying it can't be done, just that they aren't ready made for the job, not universally made for right/left out of the box so-to-speak. Would I do it to a $200 guitar from MusiciansFriend? Certainly. A Martin HD-28(approx $3450)? Not on your life.
Well, Ibanez doesn't even supply pickguards, and other makers as well I suppose. I've seen Willie Nelson play a gut string that had a hole in the soundboard where the pickguard would be!

The most promising guitars for impromptu conversion to left handed operation are actually classical guitars. This because there is no intonation angle in the bridge saddle, nor is there a pickguard. The only adaptation might be to file the nut a bit to compensate for the heavier strings.

Meh, but who wants one of those damed things....

As to the 3500 dollar Martin, no problem! They'll build it LH at no extra charge...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 14, 2011,
#15
I agree with one of the posts above. I am lefty but learned righty mainly because the only guitar we had in the house at the time when I starting learning as a teen was righty and I didn't have money to buy one. I've wondered periodically if this impeded my learning -- but I don't think it has. I actually think I learned chords formations much more quickly by having my dominate hand on the fretboard. And I felt as if I was able to pick up holding barre chords fairly quickly because of this. But when I learned guitar, I basically learned chords initially and just used my weak hand to strum. By the time I started fingerpicking and flatpicking lead parts, I was used to holding the guitar this way and it all worked out.

Though I also agree with Captaincranky -- I think I am somewhat ambidextrous. Holding a guitar this way never felt unnatural and I do a number of things righty (golf, batting).
#16
Quote by 837millstreet
...[ ]... I am lefty but learned righty mainly because the only guitar we had in the house at the time when I starting learning as a teen was righty and I didn't have money to buy one. I've wondered periodically if this impeded my learning -- but I don't think it has. I actually think I learned chords formations much more quickly by having my dominate hand on the fretboard. And I felt as if I was able to pick up holding barre chords fairly quickly because of this.
The difference in strength between an individual's dominant and less used arm, can be quite striking. Oftentimes, the best example of this is in male tennis players. The considerable size difference between the two arms can be seen easily, clear back up in the bleachers. However, not all players respond to the same extreme.

This is mostly due to the hormonal construct of the individual. More androgens, more muscles, it's that simple. So, it's easy to conclude that barre chord formation would indeed come more easily with the dominant hand on the neck. It's more difficult to determine whether that matters in the overarching issue. A big testosterone burst will readily increase the muscularity in the weaker arm, provided that the person supplying said "T", is in an age bracket where said burst is still available.

I'm older, and recently revisited the acoustic guitar. For someone used to playing an electric strung .10 to .46, even the jump to an acoustic light set, .12 to .52, is quite a leap. So,after say age sixty, don't be expecting big muscles to pop up in a week or two, (if t all). That said, I expect me venturing to attempt learning to play a right handed guitar at this point, would most likely result in overt failure. The die has been cast, as it were.

I don't know truly whether learning to play left handed was a good decision. My objection lies in the conventional "wisdom" of left handers being more suited to playing a standard right handed guitar. Those precepts simply make no sense to me.

Opting to play, left handed has obviously closed many doors, with respect to choices of instruments. But, to the upside, it prevents me from dumping hundreds of dollars every time I walk into a music store. Every cloud, it would seem, has a silver lining...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 15, 2011,