Question: Is there such a thing as a left handed guitar?
Answer: Yes. Left handed or “Lefty” guitars are strung the opposite way from conventional guitars. The tailpiece, bridge saddle and top nut are all like a mirror image of the conventional designs.
One of the most famous guitar players of all time, Jimi Hendrix played left handed.
Question: Can I just flip the guitar over and learn to play it that way?
Answer: Yes but doing this will make it very challenging if you’re planning on taking lessons or following a published guitar course. This is because the 1st string will be on the top and the 6th string will be on the bottom – basically everything will be different. This method is very rare and I don’t recommend learning this way.
Question: I want to take guitar lessons. Since I am left handed, should I purchase a left handed guitar?
Answer: You will want to use a left handed guitar if you already have some experience playing a left-handed guitar. In this case it may be very difficult to switch to a traditional guitar.
If you are a brand new beginner on guitar, I recommend that you start out with a traditional (right handed) guitar. All new beginners feel awkward at first and you will too, but it’s not because you are left handed. It’s just because learning to play the guitar is new to you. After just a couple of lessons and a few hours of playing, you will begin to get very comfortable with your instrument no matter if you are a left-handed person or not.
Note: Not everyone agrees with me on this. Neal in Scotland is a left-handed player and has a great blog dedicated to left-handed guitar players and those who are contemplating learning guitar. I encourage you to check out his pages here> leftyfretz.com
My Own Experience:
I am left handed. That is, my left hand has always been naturally dominant with writing, holding a fork, etc. But when I started learning guitar at the age of seven, I used a traditional guitar and held it in the conventional (right handed) way. This never presented a problem for me.
Just for perspective and better understanding, realize that violinists all play the same way. The left hand controls the neck of the violin and the bow is held in the right hand. This is how all violinists learn. There may be exceptions to this, but I’m not aware of any.
Here’s More – from Wikipedia:
Notable left handed players
- Jimi Hendrix
- Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) (Stetin 2001:5) (played drums right-handed)
- Fred Abbott (Noah and the Whale)
- Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric)
- Tim Armstrong (Rancid)
- Perry Bamonte (ex-The Cure)
- Jill Barber
- Courtney Barnett
- Justin Bieber
- Beeb Birtles (Little River Band)
- Anton Cosmo (ex-Boston)
- Eric Bogle
- Adrian Borland (The Sound)
- Martin Bramah (The Fall/Blue Orchids)
- Jonathan Butler
- Jo Callis (The Rezillos/The Human League) – Plays guitar left-handed.
- Calogero – Plays guitar and bass left-handed
- Junior Campbell (The Marmalade) – Played right handed guitar upside down – not restrung, with “open E” tuning.
- Ali Campbell (ex-UB40)
- Robin Campbell (UB40)
- David Cook
- Billy Ray Cyrus
- Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots)
- Willie Duncan (Spider Murphy Gang)
- Taylor “Tae” Dye (Maddie & Tae)
- Elliot Easton (The Cars)
- Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe)
- Santiago Feliú
- John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
- Ian Fowles (The Aquabats, Death By Stereo)
- Michael “Mikeydemus” Fry (Skindred)
- Paulo Furtado (Wraygunn/The Legendary Tigerman)
- Paul Gray (Slipknot) (left-handed) Started out playing right-handed, then changed to left-handed because it was more comfortable.
- Ted Gärdestad
- Ollie Halsall
- Imai Hisashi (Buck-Tick)
- “Kuddel” Andreas von Holst (Die Toten Hosen)
- Ben Howard
- Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) (Stetin 2001:5)
- Paskal Jakobsen (BLØF)
- Lars Johansson (Candlemass)
- George Johnson (Brothers Johnson)
- Mark “Kazzer” Kasprzyk (Redlight King/Solo)
- Dave Kilminster (former lefty; originally played left-handed until injury, now exclusively plays right-handed)
- Dave King (Flogging Molly)
- Hayley Kiyoko
- Pasi Koskinen (St. Mucus, Ajattara, To Separate the Flesh from the Bones)
- Dickey Lee
- Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors)
- Barbara Lynn
- Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost)
- Paul McCartney (The Beatles) McCartney first tried playing right-handed, but was making no progress. He saw a picture of Slim Whitman playing left-handed and realized that it was necessary to reverse the guitar, pick with the left hand, and reverse the strings (Babiuk 2001:14).
- Al McKay (Earth, Wind & Fire (Stetin 2001:5)
- Mike “Gunface” McKenzie (The Red Chord)
- Luke Morley (Thunder / The Union)
- Paul Mullen (The Automatic/Young Legionnaire/Yourcodenameis:milo)
- Iggy Pop
- Mac Powell (Third Day)
- Omar Rodríguez-López (At the Drive-In/The Mars Volta)
- Verónica Romeo
- Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos)
- Lukas Rossi – Can play the guitar with either hand.
- Greg Sage – A natural right-handed guitarist, decided to play left-handed for the Wipers.
- Christian Savill – (Slowdive)
- Craig Scanlon (The Fall)
- Jeffrey Steele (formerly of Boy Howdy)
- Bill Svanoe of The Rooftop Singers
- Sylvia Tyson
- Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker)
- Josey Scott (Saliva)
- Dan Swanö (Bloodbath, Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Ribspreader)
- Simon Taylor-Davies (The Klaxons)
- Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß (Beatsteaks)
- Michael Fry (a.k.a. Mikey Demus) (Skindred)
- Ragnar Þórhallsson (Of Monsters and Men)
- Zacky Vengeance (Avenged Sevenfold)
- Douglas Verhoeven (In-Quest)
- Davey von Bohlen (The Promise Ring/Cap’n Jazz/Maritime)
- Kaizer Von Loopy (Hanzel Und Gretyl)
- Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste)
- Damian Webb
- Evan West (New Hollow) Both guitar and bass.
- Andrew White (Kaiser Chiefs)
- Felix White (The Maccabees)
- Slim Whitman
- Atahualpa Yupanqui
- Brad Turcotte (Brad Sucks)
- Buddy Miles
- Cameron Liddell (Asking Alexandria)
- Eef Barzelay (Clem Snide)
- Mike Vennart (ex-Oceansize, now tours with Biffy Clyro)
- Greg Barnett (The Menzingers)
- Baatin [Original P Parliament – Funkadelic]
- Ernie C (Body Count)
- Mdou Moctar
- Jimi Hendrix was naturally left-handed but his father tried to force him to play right-handed because he believed playing left handed was a sign of the devil. Hendrix took right-handed guitars and restrung them for playing left-handed. Hendrix did continue to write right-handed. Jimi did learn to play right-handed as mandated by his father, he had to play right-handed any time his father was around (and left-handed, upside down, when his father was not around) or risked losing the guitar forever. Once he started making modifications that allowed him to play left handed with the strings in the proper order, he still had to play right-handed with the old man nearby, so he also learned to play right-handed with the strings upside down. His brother Leon’s testimony confirms this in Sharon Lawrence’s biography “Jimi Hendrix: the man, the magic, the truth” and in quotations from guitar players such as Mike Bloomfield in “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child of the Aquarian Age” by Dave Henderson.
Full Wikipedia Post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musicians_who_play_left-handed
Enjoy playing music! Leave your comments below.