Leftys and Left-handed GuitarsDecember 17, 2019
I was asked a question a little while ago on a social media platform. The question was:
If you're left-handed, is it better to start on a left-handed or right-handed guitar?
Being left-handed myself, and someone who plays guitar "right-handed", as well as being a guitar instructor, I have developed fairly strong opinions on this. If you happen to be a left-hander who plays a left-handed guitar, please don't take offense at this because it really only applies to those who are just beginning their journey. If you already know how to play then please keep on rockin'!
But for the rest of you that may be asking this question, you may as well ask, "Why does everyone in North America operate a standard transmission with their right hand, while in the UK they use the left hand?" Here's a hint - it's not because everyone in North America is right handed or that everyone is left handed in the UK. It's because that's the way they are built. To build them the other way around would be ridiculous and would cause more problems than the imaginary one it would solve. Just because you are offered a choice doesn't mean that it's legitimate or beneficial. As a left-hander myself who plays "right" I'm convinced that the opportunity someone saw for a niche market in left handed guitars was a solution in search of a problem. Could you learn to play a left handed guitar? Sure, but why would you want to unless someone convinced you that you should? There have also been some great players of upside-down guitars, as well as guitars laying flat on your lap. That doesn't mean that's the easy way to do it, it just means that humans are capable of almost anything they put their minds to. I'm also convinced that left-handed guitars have caused more problems than they've solved. So, to answer your question, I don't think personal preference has anything to do with it. In order to play guitar well, both hands need to function well above what would be considered "normal function" for non-musicians. Learn to play the instrument the way it was designed. It will make your life easier. When I walked into my first guitar lesson over 35 years ago and started holding a guitar left handed, Chet Breau (son of the late, great Lenny Breau) told me something like, "Kid, if you don't already know how to play that thing, I'm gonna teach you the RIGHT way!" I'm so glad he did. This is exactly how I approach the subject with my own students.
Posted by Ken Hiebert. Posted In : Music