I'm new to the forums and new to guitar. I hope you'll help me decide how to proceed in light of a physical disability. In short, I can't move the fingers of my right hand independently. Looking to heavy slide players like Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks as proof of concept, I'll be trying to play exclusively with a slide.

I'm living in rural Japan, so my access to left handed instruments and guitar techs with whom I can speak smoothly are hard to come by. However, I've waited long enough on this dream and I mean to make it happen. I also decided to go with a right-handed guitar played upside down (also for overall access to instruments), looking to guitarists like Albert King and Doyle Bramhall as further proof of concept.

My concern lies in tunings, and since I don't know enough music theory our practical guitar experience to know what to choose to start. In particular, whether (considering the upside-down, slide-only experiment), standard tuning would make it impossible with muting and chords, or an open tuning like E or D would limit available keys in which to play.

So, my new friends, can you give me your thoughts on the tuning dilemma for my experiment? Thanks. Edit: my apologies if this isn't the proper place for this post.
Last edited by ADAP7IVE at Jan 24, 2015,
Consider switching the order of the strings so the highest string is closest to the ground, like on a normal left-handed guitar. Also buy some thick strings and raise the action. This will make slide playing easier.

Playing in open tunings doesn't limit the amount of keys you can play in, it just forces you to think about the guitar differently.

Instead of having the same interval of a fourth between every string(and a major third between the G and B strings), you have access to a perfect fifth, major third, minor third and perfect fourth across adjacent strings. Across non-adjacent strings you have opportunities for octaves, major and minor sixths and more.

This is great for slide playing because you can only really play intervals that are on the same fret on different strings.

You're always going to be limiting yourself when choosing things like tunings, but you're also opening up a lot of possibilities.
Could you hold a pick with your right hand? Perhaps use a thumb pick? if you can manage that then you can just play a normal right handed guitar since the left (fretting) hand is usually the one that really does all the work. Finger independence is really only important on the fretting hand unless you're fingerpicking.
Thanks for the quick replies, guys.

I could hold a pick, and for a while in junior high I tried with a teacher to go that route, even holding a larger pick I'd cut out of a Tupperware lid; unfortunately I could never control my right hand precisely enough (no fine motor function after a stroke) to keep the right distance or angle.

One benefit to playing with a standard guitar is that I can hammer-on and pull-off quite well with a high gain electric setup and play one-handed, which I've only played at before. But if this plan works, I'll be able to do both eventually. It might even be a fun party trick to flip and keep playing.
Last edited by ADAP7IVE at Jan 24, 2015,
Open tunings don'the limit the keys you can play in. Some might be more difficult, but you can still play in them. You can also always change the open tuning. You can go from open E to open F, Eb, D ect. and cover a lot of keys with same positions. E let's you easily play in E, A, B, C#m, F#m and G#m. A different tuning gives you access all those keys up or down some half steps or whole steps. Then their are the alternate open tunings to explore...

I think you can cover a lot of ground with this.
1) if you choose to play slide do not use a pick.

2) for slide playing you should be playing with open tunings. I would suggest you start by learning some songs - learn by ear.

3) There's nothing wrong with playing upside down like Albert King - see Eric Gales - it clearly doesn't limit you in any way. If you don't have access to a guitar tech and left handed guitars- this might be a good idea.

4) you may want to consider lap steel - see Robert Randolph etc.