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Thread: Need Suggestions: Play Left or Right Handed???

  1. #1
    Registered User krgarden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Need Suggestions: Play Left or Right Handed???

    Hello everyone... very nice forums you have here.

    After 31 years of life, I have finally decided to buy a guitar (acoustic first) and try and learn to play. However, I have a bit of a problem here. Through my whole life, anytime I was handed a guitar or was "jamming" to the radio in my car... I have done so in a left-handed manner (eg. left hand for strumming). I never thought about it, it just happened that way. Well, I am a right-handed person generally... as I write with my right hand. However, when I play basketball I dribble better with my left and can shoot just as well with the left as with the right.

    So Saturday afternoon I went to Guitarcenter and looked at those Acoustic "starter packs". I asked the guy there which way I should play (explained the info above), and he said I should use the hand I feel more dextrous/fast with for fretting. Since I feel my left hand is both faster and more accurate (which is admittedly odd for a righty) I bought a right-handed guitar pack (Epiphone). I immediately went to my buddies house so he could show me some chords and start teaching me tab.... I explained the left/right dilemma to him as well, and he had no real suggestions.

    I guess I am just looking for suggestions on whether I should stick with playing righty or if lefty is best. I think if they would have had a lefty "starter pack" in the house I would have bought it instead of the righty, as it just feels more natual. But I am afraid that is just because I have allows held a guitar that way (though I never actually played them).

    Like I said above, the left hand feels much faster than the right for strumming... and much more "casual/comforable".... Wheras with the right hand strumming is slower and takes more mental work to do. That would all make me believe I should just go lefty, but then again I am afraid that I am giving up on the right hand too early and that I should just work hard on it and bring it up to speed/comfort and use the faster left hand for fretting (which doesnt feel at all natural at this point with either hand, but again feels faster/better with the left at this point).

    Any suggestions guys?

    Thank you so much in advance for your help here!!!


  2. #2
    Registered User krgarden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Oh and in case it matters, I am most interested in learning to just play popular rock and roll songs for my own entertainment and fun.... and not much else. Example music: Stone Temple Pilots, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Metallica, and newer rock like Chevelle and Weezer. I guess most of it is pretty "fast paced" stuff, and will require a fast strumming/picking speed. Thought this info might help in your suggestions. Thanx!

  3. #3
    oh harro;D delicious's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Even if you do feel more "left handed" when you play guitar id suggest you play a right handed guitar simply for the fact that there are more guitars available for you to choose from once you move into more advanced playing. There are also many common examples of good left handed guitar players that play right handed, there is no disadvantage there as long as you start off and learn it this way.
    \m/ chunk chunk chunk \m/

  4. #4
    Registered User krgarden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Thanx for the input about this... Since they didnt even carry a left-handed guitar at the store, I figured that was what I should do. I just wanted to be sure that I wasnt making some huge mistake based on what I know about the speed/accuracy of my left over my right.

    Thanx again!


  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    I was in a similiar situation when i first started playing. Picking up a right handed guitar might feel akward in the begining but you really get used to it. Now if i pick up a left handed it just feels akward.

    You have a slight advantage with your fretting hand since it's your dominant hand. You just have to work a bit with your right hand so it stays caught up with your left(dominant hand). Hope this helps

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Ever seen a left-handed piano? Left-handed saxophone? Left-handed typewriter? Left-handed lawn mower? I'm sure such things exist, but they're far from ordinary. It's a right-hander's world, and by choosing to play right-handed you'll enjoy all the benefits: selection of instruments, price compared with identical left-hand models and the ability to sit-in with a band, to name a few. Any awkwardness should dissipate within the first few months of practice. In my opinion, you've made the smart choice.

  7. #7
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Funky Munky World
    OP is over 2 years old...

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Michigan, US
    Obviously this guy has made his decision by now with the thread being so old, but I'll add my thoughts since I've played both ways and people may find this helpful.

    I'm a lefty and started out playing right handed. I played this way for the last 7 years up until about 6 months ago and I struggled with my picking the whole time. I could slop my way through decently fast runs (about 180 16ths) and I had to with my band, but I never felt like I was playing tight even at medium tempos (around 120 16ths). I honestly couldn't get my inside picking up past 130 at 16th even on my best days. Being a perfectionist and never being happy with my playing, I picked up a lefty guitar about 3 years ago. I played on and off since then. I could pick faster (up near 200 bpm) almost right away, but being in a band and playing fast material, couldn't commit the time to try to really develop my skills as a lefty. Band got put on hold about 6 months ago so I decided to try and make the switch to playing lefty. I've been playing about 2-3 hours a day (used to play 4-5 right handed) and just played my first show as a lefty, solos and all, last month. It was a little sloppy for sure, but we play our songs up near 200 bpm. Point being, I'm already more comfortable playing lefty than I ever was righty, can pick cleaner and faster, can inside pick decently near 150 bpm 16ths, and am consistently improving every week. In my opinion, good picking technique is much more difficult to develop than good fretting technique, therefor, I think your dominant hand should be your picking hand. That being said, I can still do chordal stuff and finger picking stuff better playing righty...that'll change soon enough though.

    Sorry for the long post, but hopefully this will help someone as it has been a long struggle for me.

    My band (progressive metal)-Hidden Content

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