Left Handed players

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Tadw16
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Tadw16 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:06 pm

Great stuff. I have 22 yes 22 left handed guitars. Gibson, Fenders, Alvarez, Pavan, Line Six, Ovation and Sigma. (The Sigma is converted from right to left) it is also one my best. I play them all. I have no trouble teaching right handed students, they seem to "see" better since I am their mirror image. I write, right handed but most everything else left handed.(golf,throwing, hitting a ball ect.) I also shoot quite a bit, right handed since I am right eye dominate. I played the violin as a young person but could not get seated in the local orchestra! The bow was a danger to those around me ! Ha Ha !! Being a lefty has been a challenge and a badge of honor, so you southpaws hang in there! :lol:
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tormodg
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby tormodg » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:22 pm

You're a left but you write with right handed? O.o. Did they force you to as a kid?
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Contreras
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Contreras » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:47 am

I'm right-handed ... (stay with me here, OP) but I started playing LH on a LH guitar. ... why? My cousin who was teaching me was southpaw and I learnt on his ... didn't have my own.
When I got my own it was right-handed and I switched. No big deal, I was only about a year in, and I quickly adjusted. Feels strange to hold it the other way now, after all these years.
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Contreras
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Contreras » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:55 am

Cipher wrote:Has anybody ever seen a left handed violinist, violist or any other string player performing in a major professional orchestra?


Nope ... They'd have to be at the end of the row, though or they'd put someone's eye out ...

I've seen a left-handed fiddler though ... think she played guitar first so that figures
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guitarrista
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby guitarrista » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:13 am

Hah - wiki delivers - list of musicians who play left-handed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_m ... eft-handed

Cipher wrote:Has anybody ever seen a left handed violinist, violist or any other string player performing in a major professional orchestra?


Yes, many lefties play in major orchestras, but you can't tell because they all play right-handed for various reasons: the violin is not symmetrical inside and outside; practical and esthetic problems with seating in an orchestra - all that makes it virtually impossible to witness left-handed violin playing as part of a major orchestra.

However, here is a violinist playing left-handed in this video:

Youtube

(when camera pans to left) White-haired guy at the back and inside the violin section so he does not poke everyone's eyes out :lol: You can see the bow going the "wrong" way in this snapshot

Capture2.JPG
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Last edited by guitarrista on Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hoppy
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby hoppy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:24 pm

I'm left handed (not at all ambi) and play a left handed guitar. It is annoying not to be able to play the vast majority of guitars when I go in a music store but I have always had a good quality guitar whether playing electric (tele, SG), bass (fender jazz) or classical. I have always been able to get left handed versions rather than restringing a RH guitar.

The idea that playing left handed is incorrect, posited by someone here, is ignorant at best - "That's just the correct way to play period" - according to??

Of course it would have been a good idea to learn right handed in terms of guitar availability and to be 'normal', but it has probably saved me a lot of money(!).

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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Bill B » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:55 pm

i agree that if we were starting from scratch, if there were no guitar history or guitar culture, to start left or right handed would be arbitrary. the same would be true for pianos. but that is not the world we live in.
when i have a private student who really wants to play a left handed guitar i don't refuse them, but if they ask me before they purchase one i encourage them to go with a right handed model. my best example of the headache that left handed guitars make for people (beyond what has already been said) happened to me a couple of years ago. I teach a guitar class at a music camp every summer. one year a girl with her left handed guitar managed to waste a ridiculous amount of class time complaining about the fingering charts that we had (insensitivity) made right handed. she kept on about how unfair it was, and how i was a "handist". she succeeded in learning nothing, and also in limiting what the rest of the class could learn.
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Pat Dodson
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Pat Dodson » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:15 pm

Bill B wrote:i agree that if we were starting from scratch, if there were no guitar history or guitar culture, to start left or right handed would be arbitrary. the same would be true for pianos. but that is not the world we live in.
when i have a private student who really wants to play a left handed guitar i don't refuse them, but if they ask me before they purchase one i encourage them to go with a right handed model. my best example of the headache that left handed guitars make for people (beyond what has already been said) happened to me a couple of years ago. I teach a guitar class at a music camp every summer. one year a girl with her left handed guitar managed to waste a ridiculous amount of class time complaining about the fingering charts that we had (insensitivity) made right handed. she kept on about how unfair it was, and how i was a "handist". she succeeded in learning nothing, and also in limiting what the rest of the class could learn.


There's always one isn't there! :roll:

But thankfully we try not to judge a whole group by one individual. Otherwise all Pats would be idiots. :wink:

hoppy
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby hoppy » Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:38 pm

Bill B wrote:i agree that if we were starting from scratch, if there were no guitar history or guitar culture, to start left or right handed would be arbitrary. the same would be true for pianos. but that is not the world we live in.


With a piano your hands are performing the same task so that's an odd example. The point is that it isn't an arbitrary choice, there is a benefit in having your dominant hand have control over dynamics, tempo, timbre etc - that's why violins, guitars etc are set up that way for the 90% of the population who are right-handed. I tried playing right-handed before left-handed and it didn't work. If I had persisted I assume it would have been ok in the end, but the world I live in sells left and right handed guitars, and scissors, and golf clubs. And Fortunately I can invert chord diagrams in my head.

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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Write_Rich » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:30 pm

I was born left handed. My parents taught me to write right handed at a young age not knowing I was lefty until I grew older and started preferring that side for most activities. Of course this has resulted in my hand writing looking like chicken scratch. Oddly I can draw quite well with my right hand yet personal experiments trying to "draw" my hand writing results in a scratchy mess. I also eat left handed, I am stronger on my left side and I wear my watch on my right arm. However in sports (throwing, batting, martial arts) I usually favor my right side. Go figure..

I also play the guitar right handed. When I bought my first guitar the only available guitars at the time where righty thus I ended up playing right handed. I had no problems learning the guitar right handed - perhaps it has even helped me as my left fretting hand is stronger than my right and probably more fit for that activity. To be honest starting out with the guitar I probably could have gone either way (left or right handed guitar) with no problems as it was a new activity that I was learning from the ground up. Perhaps this is similar for most others as I have seen a few right handed people playing left handed guitars..
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2handband
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby 2handband » Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:50 pm

I know he's not a classical player, but Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath is left handed, learned to play that way, and cut the tips off two of his right hand fingers in a factory accident when he was 17. He went to a great deal of trouble to create his own homemade prosthetic fingertips (melted plastic with leather padding glued to it), modified his guitar with flatter frets and a super low action, invented the first ultra-light strings by combining guitar and banjo string sets, and modified his technique to make greater use of his little finger. A google image search will turn up lots of pictures of him playing with his fake fingertips,and a few of his bare mangled fingers.

He says in retrospect he'd have saved himself a lot of time and trouble by flipping the damn thing over and learning to play right handed.

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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Alan Carruth » Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:29 pm

It's always hard being in the minority, and that can lead to some militancy sometimes. Most left handed people can give examples of how they've been made miserable for something they really can't help: you tend to become defensive.

It's also true that the world is set up to make things easy for the dominant class; in this case, right handed people. Writing from left to right using an old fashioned pen and ink is natural for right handed people, and can be nearly impossible for lefties. Now that most 'writing' is done on keyboards, with calligraphy being mostly a craft, it's not so important. When I was a kid we lefties were all forced to write right handed, if only to avoid spraying everybody around with ink when the nib of the pen dug in (yes, we used real steel pens and ink in penmanship class, and there were no left handed pens). I was never able to do that, and the effort ruined my handwriting even with my left hand.

We're seeing in the posts from left handed people in this thread exactly what I talked about; there's a lot of variation in handedness among lefties. Since there is less variation in right handed people it's easy to see why they might not get it. Believe me; it's real.

I do get some small revenge once in a while: my shop is set up left handed, and it is sometimes a struggle for right handed students to use some of the equipment. ;)

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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Bill B » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:26 am

hoppy wrote:
Bill B wrote:i agree that if we were starting from scratch, if there were no guitar history or guitar culture, to start left or right handed would be arbitrary. the same would be true for pianos. but that is not the world we live in.


With a piano your hands are performing the same task so that's an odd example. The point is that it isn't an arbitrary choice, there is a benefit in having your dominant hand have control over dynamics, tempo, timbre etc - that's why violins, guitars etc are set up that way for the 90% of the population who are right-handed. I tried playing right-handed before left-handed and it didn't work. If I had persisted I assume it would have been ok in the end, but the world I live in sells left and right handed guitars, and scissors, and golf clubs. And Fortunately I can invert chord diagrams in my head.

I expect the student I was talking about could invert the diagrams also. for that matter, I didn't pass out completed diagrams, I pass out blank diagrams, talk about the scale or chords we will be dealing with, and the students make their own diagrams. I think it works better that way and if she wanted to, she could have probably made the diagrams properly. but she insisted i demonstrate left handed at the board instead of right, which I actually did once or twice. that was probably my mistake. I gave in early trying to accommodate, and so she wanted every example to be presented twice, once for the rest of the class and once specially for her. that obviously was not helpful for the rest of the class. I have had quite a few left handed students over the years and she is the only one that really stood out as it being a problem. but it was a real headache. I would venture to say it was 99 percent personality, 1 percent hand dominance that really was the issue. But I still think there are valid reasons for doing it the way we traditionally do. I am all for people going against the norm. thats were creativity comes from. but also, i think its just easier to go with the tradition in the beginning at least. The learning materials, the readily available instruments, the majority of the teachers, etc, are generally set up that way. If someone wants to fight against all this, hey, more power to them. its just that Im not interested in it, and I think their energy might be spent better in other ways as well.
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Left Handed players

Postby Lovemyguitar » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:20 am

hoppy wrote:... The point is that it isn't an arbitrary choice, there is a benefit in having your dominant hand have control over dynamics, tempo, timbre etc - that's why violins, guitars etc are set up that way for the 90% of the population who are right-handed...

I totally agree with this: the plucking hand (on the guitar) is where the vast majority of the "music" comes from through all the various ways that one can pluck the string -- the fretting hand is mostly just a strong machine that has to do one thing. It makes complete sense to me that a classical guitarist uses their dominant hand for plucking, since that is the hand over which they will have the most highly developed fine motor control, which is essential for the task of producing all of those shades of sound. I am always baffled when I read posts elsewhere on this forum with people wondering why right-handed players don't fret with the right hand because that hand is stronger, as if brute strength is the only thing that matters -- it isn't. If people can play either way, regardless of handedness, good for them, but it seems to me that it would be best to let the dominant hand do the most important job.

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Re: Left Handed players

Postby robert e » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:54 pm

Lovemyguitar wrote:
hoppy wrote:... The point is that it isn't an arbitrary choice, there is a benefit in having your dominant hand have control over dynamics, tempo, timbre etc - that's why violins, guitars etc are set up that way for the 90% of the population who are right-handed...

I totally agree with this: the plucking hand (on the guitar) is where the vast majority of the "music" comes from through all the various ways that one can pluck the string -- the fretting hand is mostly just a strong machine that has to do one thing. It makes complete sense to me that a classical guitarist uses their dominant hand for plucking, since that is the hand over which they will have the most highly developed fine motor control, which is essential for the task of producing all of those shades of sound. I am always baffled when I read posts elsewhere on this forum with people wondering why right-handed players don't fret with the right hand because that hand is stronger, as if brute strength is the only thing that matters -- it isn't. If people can play either way, regardless of handedness, good for them, but it seems to me that it would be best to let the dominant hand do the most important job.

These assertions are debatable, at best. And, anyway, dominance itself varies, and is likely a different thing in lefties vs righties. So even if true, it's hard to know how to apply this theory to lefites. It's clear that in general dominance manifests on a spectrum, and in many ways is learned rather than "baked-in" (let alone the fact that some people are naturally cross-dominant, possibly including a couple of the posters in this thread). As others have mentioned, left-handedness and right-handedness aren't simply mirror images of each other, but are different, both as phenomena and experience. At least some geneticists theorize that dominance in lefties is less baked-in than in righties. And as we all know, lefties and righties grow up in a right-handed world, which, to varying degrees, reinforces any natural dominance in one group while encouraging ambidexterity in the other.

Which is all to say that, even if I did accept this "dominant hand should pluck" argument, both evidence and credible theories (at least the ones I'm aware of) suggest that it would apply to only a minority of lefties.

Finally, at least one study found a higher percentage of lefties among talented orchestral musicians than in the general population, consistent even among those who play right-handed instruments like violins, which I think poses a problem for this theory altogether.


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