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Thread: Left handed but plays right handed guitar?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Left handed but plays right handed guitar?

    So I have been playing guitar for around 4 years now and i'm left handed yet I play a right handed guitar. I know there is many people who play this way and learn this way but, here is the catch. I play a right handed guitar left handed. So instead of my high E string being on the bottom it's on the top and my low E string is on the bottom. As you can image this has made simple power cords and cords and solos much more difficult to learn. Some things I like to play are master of puppets, the troop, jump in the fire things like that. I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there who plays like this or has ever even heard of someone playing like this?

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    There have been a few well known lefty players who played on righty strung guitars, with the strings "upside down" (high strings on top) - Elizabeth Cotten, Albert King, and Dick Dale come to mind - you can find a more complete list here.

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    So do you think that I should continue to play this way or just give in and get a left handed guitar? Cause the issue I have is the scope for a right handed guitar that allows you to reach the lower frets with ease is on the reverse side when I play making it very hard to reach those high notes.
    Last edited by piro1881; 02-19-2013 at 08:13 PM.

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    Well, if upper fret access is important for your playing I think you will ultimately be better off with a guitar that makes that easier - note of the electric players I mentioned Albert King is associated with the Flying V, which has nothing in the way of the higher frets, and Dick Dale did his "righty" or "upside down" stringing on *lefty* Strats (if that makes sense!)
    Last edited by walternewton; 02-19-2013 at 11:03 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by piro1881 View Post
    So do you think that I should continue to play this way or just give in and get a left handed guitar? Cause the issue I have is the scope for a right handed guitar that allows you to reach the lower frets with ease is on the reverse side when I play making it very hard to reach those high notes.


    I'm right handed, so I've never encountered the problems of trying to play left handed. But why can't you just play the right handed guitar (the one you already have), right handed? That is - why can't you learn to use your left hand to fret the notes?

    It always seems to me odd that right handed people are supposed to use their less dextrous and less well-controlled left hand to do the tricky job of fretting the notes (whereas their right hand is doing the simpler job of plucking the strings).

    Why not just practice playing your guitar as a right handed person would?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
    It always seems to me odd that right handed people are supposed to use their less dextrous and less well-controlled left hand to do the tricky job of fretting the notes (whereas their right hand is doing the simpler job of plucking the strings).
    It only seems odd from a narrow or superficial perspective. After all, every string instrument is designed the same way, whether bowed or plucked, and in whatever musical culture: the dominant hand is always doing the bowing/picking/strumming. So there has to be a good, sound reason for it.
    That must be to do with rhythm, dynamics and articulation. We think the arrangement odd because we tend to regard those things as secondary, focussing our efforts on notes: melody, scales, chords, etc.

    In most popular guitar music, the fret hand may not be doing anythng much at all - maybe holding one chord for several bars. In fingerstyle playing, of course, the right hand often has a more complicated job than the left.

    One thing I've noticed among the few guitarists I've known who play the opposite way (good hand on the frets), is they sound amateurish for years and years. They can obviously get quite efficient on the frets, but that's all wasted because their other hand is clumsy.

    Of course, they could have practised their way out of that - as many pros who play the same way did.

    But that's the issue: both hands have important jobs; and the weaker hand needs more practice, whichever way round you play. Some people just assume the fretting is the harder job, and neglect the other end.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by piro1881 View Post
    So I have been playing guitar for around 4 years now and i'm left handed yet I play a right handed guitar. I know there is many people who play this way and learn this way but, here is the catch. I play a right handed guitar left handed. So instead of my high E string being on the bottom it's on the top and my low E string is on the bottom. As you can image this has made simple power cords and cords and solos much more difficult to learn. Some things I like to play are master of puppets, the troop, jump in the fire things like that. I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there who plays like this or has ever even heard of someone playing like this?
    Yes there are others that play this way, although not very many.
    (One not mentioned on the wiki list walter linked is Jimi Goodwin of Doves, who is a bassist.)

    The issue for you, however, is that those power chords you want (and need) to play need approaching from beneath, with upstrokes, to sound best. That's counter-intuitive.

    So the decision (which may be difficult after 4 years!) is: is changing around worth the effort? Maybe you should just adapt your playing style to suit the way you are, and go for different kinds of songs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    (One not mentioned on the wiki list walter linked is Jimi Goodwin of Doves, who is a bassist.)
    That's what the "edit" link is for - he is now!
    Last edited by walternewton; 02-21-2013 at 05:14 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    It only seems odd from a narrow or superficial perspective. After all, every string instrument is designed the same way, whether bowed or plucked, and in whatever musical culture: the dominant hand is always doing the bowing/picking/strumming. So there has to be a good, sound reason for it.
    That must be to do with rhythm, dynamics and articulation. We think the arrangement odd because we tend to regard those things as secondary, focussing our efforts on notes: melody, scales, chords, etc.
    In most popular guitar music, the fret hand may not be doing anythng much at all - maybe holding one chord for several bars. In fingerstyle playing, of course, the right hand often has a more complicated job than the left.
    One thing I've noticed among the few guitarists I've known who play the opposite way (good hand on the frets), is they sound amateurish for years and years. They can obviously get quite efficient on the frets, but that's all wasted because their other hand is clumsy.
    Of course, they could have practised their way out of that - as many pros who play the same way did.
    But that's the issue: both hands have important jobs; and the weaker hand needs more practice, whichever way round you play. Some people just assume the fretting is the harder job, and neglect the other end.

    These are all good points. And as you say, my superficial thoughts had not taken note of such things as the traditional practice of bowing a violin & other instruments with the right hand.

    Against that, I wonder if the practice is mainly just historic tradition, as opposed to having any real scientific basis.

    In any case, Id try it. He already has the guitar, and for beginners it should certainly be at least as easy to learn playing melody and forming chord shapes with your stronger hand. Plus of course, almost all learning material is printed with diagrams assuming that the guitar is being played right handed.

    If I were in his position, Id try it.

  10. #10
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    I am and play left handed, mostly restrung left handed, sometimes not.

    I have never had any problems with diagrams. The fact they show the opposite hand to what I use has never entered my mind until I saw a "left handed guitar chord book" after using regular material for 7 years and thinking nothing of it...


    I would not suggest starting from scratch and trying to relearn 'backwards' (right handed), simply restring your current guitar left handed, you don't need a left handed guitar.
    The process of relearning songs 'the right way up' will come quickly. all your progress so far won't be lost.

  11. #11
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    Lightbulb Innovative Guitar Lesson- "Upside Down Guitar" An introduction to the original left-h

    Marcio Rangel the extraordinary brazilian guitarist and composer has created his innovative method in how to play ("Up Side Down Guitar") i.e using alternative fingerings,chords lines, arpeggios... it's the first time that i read something about it that until now nobody has wrote about this amazing technique will help a lot of lefties that are learning to play but dont understand the right way to began... i hope this can help
    Bye
    Milina
    You can find it at: http://www.fingerpicking.net/chitarr...s/page0034.pdf
    page: 66,67 http://www.fingerpicking.net/chitarr...tml#/66/zoomed

  12. #12
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    Check out Albert King.. he does it amazingly..

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