Left Handed?

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Are you left handed?

While it is sometimes difficult for us lefties to function in this right-handed world, musicians face a special set of problems.
For example, I learned to play ukulele on a left-handed instrument, only to later experience frustration that I couldn't play just any random ukulele but instead could only use a "backwards" one which are always difficult to find.

So when I decided to teach myself mandolin I consciously chose to play a right-handed instrument flipped upside down, which comes with its own special set of challenges. But at least I can play other peoples' mandolins now.

What challenges have you faced being a left-handed musician?

"The Clash of the Headstocks" while playing with others on stage?

Teachers telling you that "It won't make any difference if you learn to play right-handed" (when of course it makes a huge difference)?

Tell us about it....

I'm lefthanded but play all my instruments righthanded. So.... yeah. When I started guitar, I bought a small-scale guitar and it was set up righthanded, so I just always have done that way. What I find that means is I can make interesting chord formations but my strumming and picking patterns are limited because my less dominant hand gets confused easily!

Yes, I am left handed too. If I had known the snags of left-handed guitar and ukulele playing I would have learned to play them right handedly -that's what I did when I learned some basic drumming skills. Where to begin with the difficulties? The extra-cost and limited range of left handed guitars is a problem. Converting right handed models to take the strings the other way round has it's own set of challenges. Often the volume and tone controls end up in awkward places. I have a bit of tape on one uke because the volume dial is always being turned down when my hand moves over it. I find guitar tabs and chord diagrams difficult to understand as they seem to be the wrong way round to me. And of course there's the frustration of not being able to play someone's gorgeous guitars because they are the other way round. On the plus side very few people want to borrow or steal a left handed guitar Smile Also although I'm used to watching right-handed players, they mostly find my playing confusing and this makes it hard to teach other people - I've got round this using a mirror! Sometimes on a small stage its an advantage because you can fit in on the right-hand edge and not bump into other players. I have learned to play a number of songs on right-handed guitars by playing them 'upside down', this apparently impresses non lefties much more than it should and it makes a nice party trick on an open mic session. There my moaning list is over, it's not too bad really and of course none of the above made the slightest difference to Jimi Hendrix, perhaps I could try playing right-handed guitars with my teeth before setting them on fire! (That's the guitars of course and not my teeth which wouldn't be very combustible.) I've read a few books and articles on left-handedness and alas, there is no evidence that lefties are more creative than right-handed people. It seems that Paul McCartney is super talented because he is super talented and not because he is left-handed. PS I also sometimes have difficulties when I meet someone in the street or in a corridor I nearly always move out of the way in the opposite direction to the way they move to avoid me - the result is we both lurch to the same spot and have to go through a protracted dance before we can safely pass each other by. PPS, my handwriting is awful. There all done now am off to play my left-handed harmonica for a while.

Another leftie who plays guitar righty here! its not like i thought it was too hard to find a left handed guitar (tho it is not easy) but from the moment i picked up a guitar, it just felt 'right' to play it the usual righty way. I write lefty, (and have really really horrible handwriting too- is that more true of lefties?) but do some other things righty, i guess i'm not 100 percent left-handed?

I'm a lefty, but was fortunate enough to learn cello when I was very young. My teachers said, "everybody plays cello the same way", and thus began a lifetime of learning to play stringed instruments with my left hand as the "fretting/fingerboard" hand, and my right being the "strum/bow/pluck" hand.

Whatever works for you, do it. Steve Morse - who is one of the best guitarists I've ever heard - is a lefty who plays right-handed guitars. Doyle Bramhall, who used to play guitar for Roger Waters, plays right-handed guitars flipped over (so the lowest string is at the bottom, not the top.) Seeing him play the solo from "Comfortably Numb" *upside down* is something else, I can tell you. Former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip does the same thing with bass guitar.

I'm left handed as fuck! My music partner Emma always has to make sure she's sitting on my left hand side at gigs otherwise I'd bash her with my guitar!

@SimonWaldram; "Left handed as fuck" lol me too!

Lefties, FTW!

I am about to begin teaching young aspiring lefties to play violin, viola, cello, and upright bass, and like @rorowe was told, I will tell them everyone plays cello the same way. (sorry Smile ) Musicians really tend toward ambidexterity anyway. The human brain is amazingly flexible! When I moved to Australia it only took a couple weeks before I could drive on the left side of the road, and stopped bumping into oncoming pedestrians the way @Roddy describes.

@izaak You are doing the very best thing with your strategy, a lefty string player would find it impossible to get work in an orchestra and would miss out on so much else. Good luck!

These are fun stories! When I was a little kid, I broke my right arm twice - both times pretending I was a super hero. When it came time for me to learn to play baseball, my dad bought me a right handed glove for my left hand. I took it and put in on my right hand, and my dad soon realized he had to get me a new glove. I played baseball all the way through high school and threw and batted left handed.
I write right handed, and when I took up golf in my teens I played right handed because those were the clubs my dad had in the garage. I tried to play left handed a couple of times, but then I learned that courses are designed more with right handed players in mind.
I play all my stringed instruments right handed. But my first instrument was piano, and even though right hand is generally for melody, I still pay attention to what my left hand is doing even though my playing now is limited to when I write songs. It's good for my brain. In fact, I think one 50/90 I did a song on piano with just my left hand.

Same, Mike! I write lefty (penmanship varies) but play righty. I identify as 'left-handed' because I think my left hand is dominant, but I'm definitely not 100%. Multi-handed, I think they call that.