Left-handed guitarists of the world unite! When it comes to guitar setup and style, you’re kind of in your own world…
1. Some people try to change you…
…but you do your own, awesome, left-handed thing! There is a school of thought that lefties should conform to right-handed ways and learn to play a regular righty guitar. This works for some lefties, like Paul Simon and David Byrne. For other left-handed players, a right-handed guitar can be discouraging and difficult, and switching to a left-handed guitar unlocks their full potential. Choose the ax that suits you and plays to your strengths!
2. The perfect guitar is even harder to find when you’re left-handed.
That 64 Fender Stratocaster in classic white with single triple coil pickups and a whammy bar you’re lusting after is probably not in stock in a left-handed model at your local guitar shop. Since about only 10% of the population is left-handed, most shops don’t have lefty guitars in stock, and manufacturers often require a special order to make one. If you want to try out a guitar before you buy, you’ll probably only get to play it upside down.
3. Unless it’s this guitar:
Oh, you’re left-handed? Check out our black Stratocaster copy.
4. And forget about finding a vintage guitar in a left-handed model!
True lefty guitars are a fairly recent product. In the past, players had to either set up and restring right-handed guitars upside down or learn to play them upside down.
5. Left-handed guitars tend to be more expensive.
Money can’t buy you love, but you’ll need a good chunk of change to pick up a left-handed guitar. You’ll likely need to put in a special order or shop online to find the perfect left-handed ax.
6. You’ve learned all about doing your own guitar setup.
…Because at some point you’ve probably converted a right-handed guitar over to a lefty. Flip the nut, adjust the bridge, and if it’s electric, watch out for the hardware when you’re playing! The biggest bummer about reversing a guitar is that the pick guard now sits uselessly on top of your strings.
7. You always bring your own guitar.
The odds of being able to pick up a random guitar at a jam session or party are pretty slim. Although some left-handed people have mastered guitar fingering upside down to play right-handed guitars, it’s usually preferable to play your own guitar.
8. That awkward moment when you pick up a right-handed guitar…
Why are the strings on the wrong way? How do you hold this? What is this????
9. Playing with other guitarists is like looking in a mirror.
Once your brain is used to it, it’s pretty easy. However, many right-handed guitarists find it frustrating and confusing at first.
10. Speaking of being confused…
Most of the chord charts and guitar fingering instructions you’ll find in books and online are written for right-handed people. Check out LeftyFretz for interactive guitar chord charts and other info just for left-handed guitarists.
11. Dealing with this guy:
It seems like there’s always some joker who thinks it’s funny to point out that your guitar is upside down. The best way to handle him? Politely explain that you are left-handed, then start shredding on some amazing riffs before he can respond.
12. Hitting rightys with the neck of your guitar.
Just like at the dinner table, you need to be careful not to hit the right-handers around you. Here’s a helpful hint: always stand on stage right so the neck of your guitar points away from the rest of your band.
13. Dealing with the myth that learning guitar left-handed is harder.
It might be harder to find a guitar, or a left-handed guitar guide. But once you have the right materials, learning guitar is no more challenging for a lefty than it is for a righty.
14. Want to switch to another instrument?
Lots of guitarists like to pick up a bass guitar, ukulele, or other stringed instrument to play around with after mastering guitar. If you’re left-handed, get ready to go through all the same struggles again on a new instrument.
15. But it’s totally worth it because you have amazing lefty guitar heroes to look up to!
Like Kurt Cobain…
Sir Paul McCartney…
and Jimi Hendrix!
At the end of the day, having fun and enjoying your instrument is way more important than which hand you play it with. Keep on practicing and sharpening up your guitar technique. Don’t let righty get you down!
Lefties, how do you deal with guitar setup issues? Got a left-handed guitar struggle we missed? Tell us all about it in the comments below!