Left-Handed or Right-Handed? Kind Of A Poll

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Steverz, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Steverz

    Steverz New Member

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    I am left-handed and have been playing right-handed since I was 11, which was many decades ago. I played Lead Guitar in a number of bands using both a Gibson SG and Fender Strat and was even courted by Capricorn Records (think Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop, Seal Level to name a few).

    Less than two years ago I purchased my first ever left-handed guitar. The idea was/is "not" to give up playing right-handed but to see if I could supplement it in some way. Since this I have been wondering who is best at guitar. That leads to the following question:

    Do you think a guitarist that is right-handed and plays right-handed and a guitarist that is left-handed and plays left-handed are better players than thoughs of us who are left-handed but play right-handed? Keep in mind, I play a normally strung right-handed guitar just as many others do including Joe Perry and Steve Morse to name just a few.

    Your thoughts other than saying "it doesn't matter". Thanks
     
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  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I think you can train yourself to be a good player no matter what configuration you use. If you put in the time, you will get better.

    The term "better' is a tricky one as it's so subjective. What makes one player better than another?

    There are many guitar players who are considered great players, and from a certain perspective I can agree, but whose music I don't care for.

    I think that the best players are the ones with the most musicality or feeling in their playing, and whether it's done with their left hand , right hand or their toes, it doesn't matter much to me.
     
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  3. shreddy bender

    shreddy bender Well-Known Member

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    Howdy. I'm a lefty but I play righty.

    Who makes the better guitarist? To me it would be the guy who put a lot of time and effort into learning his craft and makes people enjoy listening to him.

    I am better than some players but there are a whole lot of others who blow me out of the water!
     
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  4. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    Hi I am a lefty who has always played left handed guitar but I think people can learn to play well any number of ways. I think of left handed players that learned to play a right handed guitar upside down like Albert King and Dick Dale and both were awesome doing it that way. Obviously you have lefties who played left handed guitars like Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Eliot Easton, and Paul McCartney, and I am sure there are many lefties who learn to play righthanded. If you can do the ambidextrous route, more power to you! IMG_20190502_204905_hdr.jpg IMG_20190502_204905_hdr.jpg IMG_20190502_204905_hdr.jpg
     
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  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    One of my favorite performers is Bill Staines. He is a singer-songwriter who
    has been touring solo for absolutely decades, he has written a whole catalog
    of great songs, and is quite well known in the folk circuit, his songs have been
    covered by other performers, mostly in the folk circuit but maybe also some
    country artists.

    When I first began listening to him, I could NOT understand how he was getting
    the sound that he was getting. Fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar... Sounding
    totally unique to my ear.

    I like lots of different kinds of music. So I listen a lot. But I could NOT
    figure out what the hell he was doing to get that great guitar sound...
    (you probably spotted it right away).

    Until I saw him play. I worked my way closer, until I could see.
    Then I did the classic head-slap thing... "Oh he's not playing left handed!
    He's playing upside down and backwards." I'm right handed, you can tell.

    I laughed to think of it, and I marvel at the creativity and talent he has
    to play that way, and make it look effortless. I wouldn't describe this sound
    as 'better' or 'worse' than other artists. I would describe it as fascinating...
    And a very cool accompaniment for his excellent songs. As a guitarist,
    I'm just gobsmacked to hear him, and I don't get tired of it very quickly.

    So I agree with some of my colleagues above, who won't say who's better
    or what. But for a performer, if you can be fascinating, you might be successful.
    Staines is a master of his craft, and he's got a great touring circuit that he's
    carved out for himself... made his own niche.

    He's got a lot of talent, and his songs would have been successful whether
    he played upside down or not. But just that sound of the treble strings
    under the thumb and the bass strings under the fingers seems unique
    in the hands of a great performer.

    As a pro, I would suggest you stick with what gets you the gig.
    It sounds like you've established yourself in ways that lots of our members
    would give a lot to achieve. If you get hired because someone with money
    and clout likes the way you get around the notes, don't turn your back own
    that.

    And as a songwriter, I suggest you keep pushing your own boundaries
    and don't re-write the same material too many times. So if you feel you're in
    a rut, or you're bored with playing right handed, then there's nothing wrong
    with exploring new directions. Try playing upside down and backwards.
     
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  6. pedecamp

    pedecamp Active Member

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    That's how I learned how to play, a right handed guitar upside down and backwards, played like this for near 10 years until I bought a lefty guitar and taught myself the "right" way, it opened up a whole new world learning to play properly, these guys that don't are really holding themselves back or limiting what they can do albeit some as you pointed out write plenty of good music that way. I can still pickup a righty guitar upside down 40 years later and still play it upside down LOL.
     
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  7. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't the "right" way have been to flip your guitar over and play right-handed? Do you have a left-handed keyboard for your computer? A left handed remote for your TV? Do you have to buy left-hand medicine cabinets? You don't happen to drive a right hand drive car, do you? :naughty:
     
  8. pedecamp

    pedecamp Active Member

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    I do!
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there is any 'right" way...
    There is only what is effective, and what is not.
    If a performer has talent and the drive to develop a vehicle for it,
    he or she will find a way. Listen to Weesay, from Liberia:

    Weesay's guitar is made of an oil can and a stick, his strings are
    scrounged electric wiring or telephone wiring, from the dump.
    But he's got a lot of soul and talent even if he lives in a
    world of nothing.

    Les Paul famously once said that the hardest thing to master on guitar
    is the tuning. That puzzled me, because I love alternate tunings and play
    in DADF#AD routinely, and DADGAD occasionally, as well as DADF#CD
    and a few others rarely. So I wondered why Les Paul, a famously brilliant
    musician, would feel limited to standard tuning, and complain about it.

    The majority of guitarists play in standard tuning, or standard tuning lowered
    a few steps. But many exceptional performers use alternate tunings, as I do
    and it seems like a left handed guitarist might do so as well.
     
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  10. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Pics or it didn't happen...:rofl:
     
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  11. DangerousD

    DangerousD Member

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    I've always wondered if a lefty who learned to play righty would have an advantage fretting chords or playing scales with their dominant hand. Not in my case.
     
  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Jimi Hendrix was allegedly as skilled either way. Until quite recently almost all classical guitar teachers made lefties learn right-handed. I'd give anything to be able to bat lefty.
     
  13. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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  14. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    There is no such thing as left-handed violins, violas, pianos, bladi dadi dadi. On the guitar both hands require dexterity.

    I never thought about it, but I'm screwed up. I write and do precision stuff righty, bowl, throw, bat lefty.

    I imagine at some point in my early life somebody discouraged lefty tendencies and I just went with it.

    I'm thankful I don't have to choose among the limited supply of "left-handed" instruments.
     
  15. John Vasco

    John Vasco Active Member

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    Limited supply? Don't make me laugh! You've just got to look!

    1970 SG Standard (photo taken Feb. '71)
    [​IMG]

    1969 LP Custom (photo taken mid-'73)
    [​IMG]

    Present herd:
    2009 '08 LP Standard
    [​IMG]

    1991 LP Custom
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    [​IMG]

    2009 Custom Shop '57 VOS LP Junior
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    2014 Custom Shop '61 Reissue SG/LP Standard
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    1976 all-original LP Deluxe
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    [​IMG]

    2002 Taylor 314
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    1971 Eko Rio Bravo 12-string with mid-'70s DeArmong acoustic pickup
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  16. bgh

    bgh Member

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    Lefty playing lefty.

    While we all have something in common (love of guitar, love of music, ...) each of us is wired a bit differently. Some things which are obvious to me are completely hidden from others. And, on the flip side, others see some things as obvious - yet they have to show me because I totally missed it.

    To me, playing style is one of those types of things.

    When I started learning to play (in the 60s) the local music stores did not stock any left-handed guitars. My first take at learning was with a cheap acoustic and a Mel Bay book. I quickly determined playing as a right-handed player was not going to work for me. So I took the same guitar (strung right-handed) and tried to play it as a lefty would. That worked for a bit. The action was so bad on the guitar I that I could not play the high-E (which would be the top string when playing upside-down) with any level of success at all.

    Somehow (don't really remember if it was my idea or someone suggested it) I decided to re-string the guitar backwards. I did so - and everything immediately fell into place. Playing as a lefty became the obvious choice for me.

    I know other left-handed people for whom playing as a right-handed person was the obvious choice. Cool.

    I know very few who can swap back and forth, and even fewer who can take a right-handed guitar and play it either left-handed or right-handed (without restringing it). My hat is tipped to them. I cannot do that.

    The concept of being a good guitarist starts with your playing position. Until you find the one best suited for you, you will probably not tap into your true potential. However, once you find your "obvious" playing position, the playing position does not really matter. Being a good or better guitarist now rests on your innate talent and work ethics. If you put in the time, you will make better use of whatever level of natural talent you have.

    If your playing style is such you are not locked into any one playing position, the versatility it brings you is excellent. A lefty playing right-handed can easily try other guitars and avail themselves of whatever is there. When I go to a music store, I am relegated to whatever the token left-handed guitars they have. It makes me appreciate even more the few guitars I have. If all a store stocked was left-handed guitars, I would waste too much money on whims.

    My conclusion: Finding the right playing position for each of us kind of puts us at the starting gate for our guitar adventures. Where we go from there rests on how much we want to invest in the adventure.

    PS: Thanks for reading.
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    A most worthy read.
    Nick Manoloff.jpg [​IMG] Paully Mac.jpg [​IMG]
    I am torn on this assertion, because like the assertion that everyone has a different learning style, objective analysis shows the opposite to be the case. There are of course exceptions, but they are rare.
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. iblive

    iblive Well-Known Member

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    I’m so predominately a righty that frankly I was/am surprised I was able to teach my left hand to play chords and notes. I did and as the say, the rest is history. It does truly come down to practice practice practice and let muscle memory take over.

    That said.

    Some people just have a natural talent. That would be my youngest. Both boys are lefties. They do sports primarily as a righty. Baseball..... golf..... my youngest does tennis as a lefty. My oldest uses both. He doesn’t have a backhand. He switch hands on the return from the other player and always hits with a forehand.

    When my eldest played guitar he chose to learn left handed. Youngest learned right handed. One day we were all together and youngest picked up his brothers guitar. After maybe 3-4 minutes of figuring out fingering.... he proceeded to play like he’d been playing guitar as a lefty all his playing life.

    My point. Lefty/righty. Doesn’t really matter. Pick what’s comfortable and work at it and practice.
     
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  19. bgh

    bgh Member

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    What I meant was this: If, for example, we are left-handed and fight with using a right-handed playing position, we will spend more time fighting with the guitar than we will in learning. Once we get the correct one for us, whether it be right-handed, left-handed, or some combination, we will no longer be fighting with the guitar - and on our way to advancing. Apologies if I did not express myself very will.
     
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  20. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    I've been working with a friend on her harp build. This one runs about $48k before options. I asked the Lyon and Healy sales rep about left-handed harps and he assumed I was joking.
     

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