8 Comments

  1. Manalei
    March 10th, 2011 @ 2:21 am

    Dear David

    I’m left-handed!!! The guitar is upside down and I can’t even play right!!! =/ By the way, I don’t have your book…….Please help…… =] Tell me your website

  2. David
    March 10th, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    Hi and thanks for writing

    If you own a regular right handed guitar and you want to play left handed, then you have to make a choice: either reverse the strings of your guitar so you can learn to play “normal” left handed or relearn everything by leaving the strings as they are. I really truly recommend doing the former. There are enough things to cope with when learning and you don’t want to have to go crazy just learning simple chords.

    So first, restring your guitar, reversing all the strings so that the thickest string is closest to the ceiling and the thinnest string is closest to the floor. Depending on your guitar, though, this also may not be the easiest thing to do. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, then go to a music store and talk to someone. That will make your life a lot easier.

    Hope this helps. You can check out a lot more about playing the guitar at Guitar Noise, which is where I write on the Internet. Or write me directly at dhodgeguitar@aol.com.

    Peace

  3. roger
    March 14th, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    I started as a drummer and at breaks would flip the guitar over and fool with it and at 35 was shown some basic chords. OOps I am left handed and the big E is on top. Im not an expert and am continually seeking guitar knowledge. Ive determined that there are many styles and methods for playing. The work comes in when trying to mesh what you know with others, but it can be fun too. Ive been drawing chart boxes backwards for 6yrs now and when I watch videos I use pause rewind alot. The main thing is to keep after it and get the sound right with the video. But creating new sounds is also rewarding. Keep after it.

  4. David
    March 15th, 2011 @ 12:17 am

    Hi Roger

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like one couldn’t or shouldn’t learn how to play “upside down” guitar (as opposed to “straight” left handed). There have been guitar legends, like Albert King, who played that way. It certain can be done and still is today. And you definitely will get a lot of different sounds playing upside down! Even simple lead lines from basic pentatonic scale patterns take on a whole new lfe when you play them upside down.

    It sounds like you’ve got a great attitude about playing and making music!

    Peace

  5. auramac
    March 15th, 2011 @ 1:27 am

    I started teaching myself to play guitar when in college, using my roommate’s righty guitar whenever he’d leave the room. I just placed the guitar horizontally on my lap in the lefty position and played notes along with mostly beatles and kinks records. When I got an actual (cheap) lefty acoustic, I still played horizontally, sitting down, learning chords and writing songs. Years later, in a band, I played electric rhythm- horizontally, on an ironing board with a roll of tape under the neck. Eventually I had someone construct a guitar stand for my lefty Les Paul. I thought i was the only person on the planet who looked like I was playing slide or steel guitar- then felt reassured when I saw Jeff Healy play the same way! Good! This might not be so limiting, after all! Kind of tough finding lefty guitars to play with, though.. but I managed.

  6. Margie
    August 15th, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    Hello,
    I have a dilema. My 8 year son has said he want to play the electric guitar. He is right handed but has decided he likes to play the guitar left handed. I think this is because he plays guitar hero etc left handed.
    He is being “taught” by someone who is a beginner herself and on a right handed guitar.
    What should we do to help him with this?
    Thanks

  7. Margie
    August 15th, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    I forgot to ask. Should he have a left handed guitar? I am concerned that he is going to be turned off because of the right hand/left hand issue.

  8. David
    August 15th, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

    Hi Margie

    Thanks for writing. There’s no really simple answer to this. To start with, your son is going to first find out that playing Guitar Hero is not really very much like playing guitar. It makes sense that he would play the game left handed because that would mean his right hand would be doing all the interacting with the computer in order to get a good score. On Guitar Hero and other similar games, the scores are based on getting the fingers in the right place at also the right time. So he’s trusting his strong hand to handle the both the keeping in time and being in the right place on the neck as far as the buttons are concerned.

    But on the regular guitar each hand has its own job. If you think about it, why don’t right handed people play guitar left handed? Doing so would let the right hand handle the fretting of the notes, which seems a lot more complicated than strumming and picking.

    The real reason is that the guitar is first and foremost a rhythm instrument. And most people prefer to use their dominant to play rhythms.

    So the first thing your son will have to figure out is whether or not he can strum and keep rhythm accurately and with a good sense of ease with his left hand. If that proves to be the case, then he certainly can play left handed.

    If he does decide to play left handed, one thing he should know is that his future selection of guitars is going to be much more limited than if he were playing right handed. Manufacturers don’t make every guitar model available to left handed players. And. for some people (even left handed people!), that’s reason enough to go with a right handed guitar.

    If he’s really unsure, the best bet would be to go with a very inexpensive right handed guitar that he can just switch the strings around and play left handed to experiment. And he should definitely make a serious attempt with both ways if he’s not sure. That way if he decides to stick with playing left handed, he can then get a guitar more to his liking and you’ll probably be able to sell the right handed one (although he may decide he likes it – that has happened to many folks). And if he decides to go right handed, he will have a guitar he can use until he gets to the point where he’ll want to upgrade.

    Hope this helps. The best of luck to you and your son and please feel free to write anytime if you want more advice.

    I look forward to chatting with you again.

    Peace

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