Hi I purchased a brand new Les Paul studio. I’m a brand never player with no experience at all. Initially I went with purchasing a right handed guitar. I’m left hand dominant(writing, eating) but I also do so many things with my right hand like all sports. Today I decided to flip the guitar over and picking and strumming with my left hand feels more natural, I have more rhythm. I’ve been practicing for about a week right handed transitioning between A and D chords to get up my speed to about 40 chord changes a minute before moving on to module 2 When I switched to left hand I did this effortlessly. Did I make a mistake? Should I be playing left handed?
I dont think there is a correct answer. Im left playing right. Air guitar left handed always felt more natural but it doesnt now, 2.5 years in. The advice i liked is that there is so much for both hands to learn it doesnt matter. I dont regret learning righthanded, especialy when buying guitars! And I dont feel at a disadvantage.
I’ve got a left hand dominant friend who plays right handed guitar because that’s all that was around for her when she learned. I’m dominant right handed and play a right handed guitar but sometimes wonder if a left might have been better. One advantage in playing right handed is it’s a lot easier to find right handed guitars.
I’m a lefty even though i can do things right handed as well. I too started out with a right handed guitar, but that felt uncomfortable really fast. So i switched to left handed guitars. That worked out fine for me.
It’s true that left handed players get a lot less choice when it comes to buying guitars. But i don’t mind all that much. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll find what you want.
If you search the forum, there are a lot of thoughtful threads about this issue.
I am (very) lefty playing righty and it is working out well enough for me. I made my choice based on the idea I have that there is no reason we can’t train our off hand and that doing so is a crossed brain task that is good for our brain. I am a neurologist, but this still could all be just my efforts to convince myself.
I would say that the rhythm part seems more awkward at first, but I do think it has been improving reasonably. Hard has been finger picking, and since I am playing largely classical guitar now, I definite have some remedial training of finger precision and speed that I may not have needed.
On the other hand (see what I did there?), I only know what I doing and don’t know what my experience would have been like playing lefty. Maybe I would have similar struggles and maybe my right hand would have had issues with fretting. Who knows?
I do know that it helps that my picking fingernails (back to nails after waffling) are on my non-dominant hand!
You will have to push yourself, regardless. Maybe see if they will trade your righty for a lefty?
Thanks for all the input everyone I definitely appreciate it. Looks like I have a decision to make and I could be overthinking this a little too much as I do think everyone could learn either way but I’m 33 years old first time ever picking up a guitar and I just don’t want to make things harder on myself if I don’t have to lol. I also know I’ve probably lost value in the guitar even tho it’s pretty much brand new if I do decide to sell and get a left handed version
I am also a lefty, but I have chosen to play right handed. For me, playing right handed actually felt more natural to me. I also didn’t want to be limited in my guitar choice. I am happy with my decision.
As others have mentioned, you will be teaching both hands to do things that they are not used to. There will be struggles either way. That being said, if you truly feel more comfortable playing left handed, it may be worth seeing if you can try a left handed guitar in a store to see how you feel.
As a side note, I have a Les Paul Studio too and I love mine
I am a lefty, I started right handed after borrowing a friends guitar and never got on with it and gave up. Years later i started again left handed and it feels much better. You will find left handers who play left and those that play right, it is really what fits you best.
@tony since you’re right hand dominant, I’m curious why you’re wondering whether left handed might have been better for you (or did you mean for your lefty friend?)
@ardemenz I was speaking only from my right handed perspective. Have previously wondered if the handedness convention is more from historical / unfounded reasons. It’s not about to change any time soon so it’s a mostly pointless wondering on my part.
I think it’s interesting to think about! I’ve had such wonderings myself.
Based on your description, I think you should try left-handed.
I’m a lefty with right-leaning tendencies (lol!) and for me, playing right-handed felt more natural, so that’s what I do.
Find an inexpensive left-handed guitar (all lefty guitars are usually more expensive than righties), get it set up well, and go for it. If you had a Statocaster-style guitar, I’d suggest you string it backwards and play like Jimi Hendrix
If you can actually play right-handed, I would advise sticking with that.
If there is a huge difference when switching to left-handed, then you can make the choice, BUT…
Be aware that left-handed guitars are usually stored alongside hens teeth, and the parts are hidden in piles of unicorn droppings.
I’m playing lefty, and finding things like pre-slotted nuts that are decent quality is a pain. Even finding left-handed guitars in stock somewhere to try out is a pain.
Most of the stuff of course is for both left and right, as righties outsell lefties by more than 99 to 1 (I think the figure is about 0.5 to 0.2% left handed guitars being sold/played)
Yeah, I wonder if it came from how handedness was treated in other stringed instruments, like the violin.
About 15% of the world is left-handed, so it is a natural progression when manufacturing anything, whether a musical instrument, a hand-tool or a castle to make it for right-handed people.
On top of that it is very likely that the older attitudes to being left-handed played a part. ‘Sinister’ just means left-handed, but is, and has been used to mean something evil. As such lefties were forced to use their right hand.
For manufacturers it is far simpler to produce right-handed stuff. Guitars are made in batches, so the set-up required to switch to left-handed stuff isn’t as simple as we’d like.
I think that this has driven most left-handed players to play right handed, which in turn forces down the requirements to make left-handed guitars.
I think it was an interview in one of the guitar magazines which gave me the numbers. Although in theory 15% of guitars should be lefties, the shortage of such instruments mean that only a small fraction of that 15% actually play left-handed.
IIRC, there was someone from PRS, and someone from Gibson talking about it, and the amount sold was at maximum 2%, and in reality even lower - less than 1%.
So we’ve just got to put up with not being so well catered for.
Bit late–Well at least I tried. As a complete beginner (left handed everything) I purchased a right hander on the basis that my hands wouldn`t know what to do anyway and that it would be better to be in a majority however within 5 days I realised it was very wrong for me . The guitar shop was brilliant and swapped it for a left handed which arrives tomorrow. (see NGD)
Another lefty playing righty here. Six months in and if I imagine myself playing guitar I STILL instinctively strum with my left. No regrets and happy to accept everything is going to take a little longer.
As mentioned above, it’s a very personal preference. Our bodies and our abilities differ and so will our choices.
As a lefty playing right handed, though, I’ve noticed some benefits:
- easily available equipment
- you can play with another person’s guitar (let’s say a party or wherever)
- you don’t get confused with lessons and videos (especially if you turn the guitar upside down which changes the order of the strings, the fingering etc)
After all, you’ll have to synchronise your hands and train them to do sth they’ve never done before so either way there will be challenges.
I’ve had the same dilemma when I first started but I made a decision to go for the right handed approach for all the aforementioned reasons.
I think that if you think too much about it or you spend a lot of time trying both you’ll get more confused.
Simply decide what are your goals and aspirations + how you want your guitar journey to be and then go for it.
Challenges will be everywhere but with Justin’s help you’re gonna be just fine:)
Videos actually are pretty easy to follow as a lefty because it’s like looking in mirror. Chord diagrams require more mental gymnastics (though Justin gives the option to flip those lefty on this website in your settings).
I am left-dominant for writing and a number of other things, right-dominant for most sports - but I can’t even play air guitar right handed, it just feels unnatural, so I’ve got a left-handed guitar. Personally, I’d rather play the way it feels natural, even at the expense of equipment availability.
I think the main point is that we do what feels best and so for anyone wondering, that’s probably the first thing to look for!