Right or Left Handed

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Jim
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Right or Left Handed

Post by Jim » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:54 am

Hello all,

I've been asked by the parent of a 7 year old student looking to start lessons if they should get a right or left handed instrument. I've taught both over the years and know professional left handers who play right handed.

I find it a very difficult question to answer bearing in mind that the wrong answer could seriously hinder a students enjoyment and success in the future, at a time when they haven't even picked up a guitar yet.

Could I get some perspective from left handed players, all I can think of saying at the moment is 'it depends'. Weighing up the advantages of being able to easily buy or borrow in a pinch vs the possible greater comfort of plucking with the dominant hand.

Jim

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guitarrista
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by guitarrista » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:48 pm

Jim wrote:
Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:54 am

Could I get some perspective from left handed players, all I can think of saying at the moment is 'it depends'. Weighing up the advantages of being able to easily buy or borrow in a pinch vs the possible greater comfort of plucking with the dominant hand.

Jim
I am a lefty who had to learn playing right-handed. It worked; as far as I can assess I am not somehow worse for doing that instead of going for a left-handed playing (and then there's the convenience of it as you mention). One thing I would ask if I were you is about the degree of left-handed dominance - is the kid more or less ambidextrous (I am), or is he really handicapped, so to speak, with his right (non-dominant) hand. If the latter, I would be less certain about flipping him to a right-handed guitar - maybe not so much because of not being able to learn eventually, but the learning curve might be much steeper given the focus on the picking hand in the beginning, so s/he might get discouraged more easily and quit.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:07 pm

If without thinking about it they mine playing guitar, which way do they go? I normally it works to go with that.
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Luis_Br
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:42 pm

I am left handed who plays as a right handed. With a new student I would try right handed and if it is fine, keep with it. I know several great players and virtuosi who are left-handed and play right handed. I know only two high level professional classical guitarists who are left-handed and play left-handed. Both of them said me they regret that and if they had to begin it all over they would go for right handed. I know by far more left-handed who plays right handed than left-handed. There are no left-handed violins, cellos or pianos.
In the population, around 10% are left-handed. Most left-handed people are more or less ambidextrous, I mean most of them have right hand much more developed than the right-handed has his left-hand. You can search youtube, I don't think we find 1% of good level players playing left-handed.
If you search further this forum you will find several hot topics on this discussion with several different opinions.

ben etow
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by ben etow » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:29 pm

IMO, it depends on how much left handed the student is. Very Much? Then like a left-handed player. Can he do some things with his right hand (shut the door, grab a ball or a glass...), then I would definitely say like a right-handed.

As a large part of the interpretation is (also) made by the non plucking hand (left hand for right-handed players), he might well have an advantage on all the poor right-handed players like me! :D

I do use my left hand to do as many things as I can... :mrgreen:

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mike.janel
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by mike.janel » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:03 pm

I wonder why right handed fret notes with the left hand anyway? I would expect it to be the other way around.
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oc chuck
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by oc chuck » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:46 pm

You can give her the opportunity to play either way, but the decision
should be hers. IMHO.

Lefty playing righty makes some sense as I think fretting is more complicated than
plucking.

Even playing a right handed guitar upside down may be enough to let her decide.
Some guitars have a perfectly symmetrical sound board esp. in children's guitars.
You can reverse the order of the strings to try it both ways.

I am left handed.
I am left eye dominant , write and throw lefty and
bat and golf right and play guitar right handed.

When I played football I punted lefty and kicked righty.
Go figure!

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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by dtoh » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:15 am

The greatest guitarist of all time played lefty!!

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andreas777
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by andreas777 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:02 am

I'm a lefty and I play right-handed. When I started to play some years ago I took a guitar that was available (the guitar of my sister) and I tried to play right- and left-handed. At the end both options felt the same and I saw no advantage in playing left-handed, so I continued to learn it right-handed. About 2 years later I restarted to play a few easy pieces on a left-handed guitar, just for fun, so I could play both options, but I stopped this some months later. My recommendation for a beginner would be to buy a right-handed guitar that could be changed to left-handed without too many problems, and then start right-handed. And only in case of difficulties and problems I would change the strings to see if the problems are gone.
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by simonm » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:32 pm

The topic comes up regularly here in one form or another. Here is one "Help! My son is left handed" from a few months back with 4 pages of replies. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=102540

For what it is worth there is a left handed Daniel Friederich guitar for sale at the moment if the parents are particularly well-heeled. :-)

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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:19 pm

I'm a mild lefty who plays right. I agree with all of the advice above. In my case, I started on piano. Being lefty was a hindrance for me; I had a more confident left hand, which is a problem on the piano for most of the rep. But it turned out to be a strength to be lefty in guitar. I have better independence and speed in my left hand for the more complex fingerings and strength needed for guitar.
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by Rick Beauregard » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:20 pm

...plus we lefties are more adaptable in a right handed world.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
2015 Steve Ganz "Solidarity"
1980 Dauphin D30
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oc chuck
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by oc chuck » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:35 pm

dtoh wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:15 am
The greatest guitarist of all time played lefty!!
Jimi Hendrix.....

dtoh
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by dtoh » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:24 am

oc chuck wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:35 pm
dtoh wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:15 am
The greatest guitarist of all time played lefty!!
Jimi Hendrix.....
Of course.

Rick Hutt
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Re: Right or Left Handed

Post by Rick Hutt » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:23 pm

This is a subject that has always fascinated me. I had two absolute beginning students who were left handed and I didn't hesitate to teach them on a "right hand" guitar. My thought was that both hands are doing complex things, and perhaps the left a bit more complex in the initial stages. For example, I had them do simple chord changes while having them strum down and up with their thumb. As they progressed, I did not notice any difference between their progress and progress of right handed students, all things being equal.
Looking at orchestral string players and paintings and drawings of the earliest bowed instruments, they universally bow with their right hand. Possibly because the right hand dictates rhythm and that is a left brain, hence right hand function?
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