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Brand New Can't decide learn Left or Righthanded-Frustrated

New Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

I really want to learn how to play my favorite songs on the guitar but I am at a standstill because of one stupid thing:

I am left-handed. I am flip flopping between how I should learn: Left or Right handed or upside down left handed.

It's very frustrating because I have done the tests: air guitar (left) clapping (left dominant) golf (left) hit and throw ball (left) write (left) so it seems like it would be best to learn left handed but some days it feels okay to hold the guitar right handed and some days left and then visa versa.

It's really p^&*ing me off because I can't make up my mind. So consequently I have not even started learning. I get about a 50/50 answer on which way to learn.

I have a lefty guitar and a righty guitar. I am so conflicted I just feel like giving up before I even start.
My fear is that sure, I could learn right handed but what if it would be easier in the long run if I went my natural way (there is only a slight favor towards the lefty way-so I think I could learn either way). I don't care about the argument about "Well you won't be able to play anyone elses guitar" or "there are so many more right handed guitars to choose from". I am proud to be left handed and almost want to learn that way because of that but at the same time I probably could learn just as easy right handed. As a beginner, both ways feel difficult at this point.

I am ready to pack it in and learn the keyboard!LOL.
Anyone else have this same problem when they were starting?

Member Moderator
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 4485

If you feel you're capable of learning both ways, then it's really up to you to make a choice and don't waste time second guessing the choice.

Based on what you've written about your left hand being dominant in those areas, it would make more sense to play left handed - you want your strong hand to be your rhythm hand. But, again, if you feel that you can handle the rhythm with the right hand, then you've really got a fifty-fifty choice (and some people would correspondingly tell you to learn it both ways!).
Upside down left handed really doesn't make much sense unless you want to put a lot of effort into learning how to work chords and note reading and scales backside down. Or if you want to have a readily recognizable personal guitar style.

Worrying about this at this point is simply keeping you from learning. In some ways it's like someone wanting to learn to play but who spends more time wishing he or she had started earlier in life. Everyone who is left-handed will occasionally wish that he or she learned right handed. There are also right handed people who wish they had learned left handed. And left handed people who play right handed but wish they had learned left handed. What they've all got over you right now it that when the moment of wishing is over with, they can just get playing. Right now you're not playing and that's truly counterproductive if you want to be playing and learning.

So pick a hand and go with it. As long as you're learning it's not wasted time. Not playing because you're continually trying to make this decision is frustrating. How could it not be? Make a decision, go with it and don't look back. If worst comes to worst, you can always switch at some point. But you're never even going to get to that point unless you just choose one way now.

My apologies if this isn't as helpful as you'd like it to be.

And, by the bye, welcome to Guitar Noise. I hope we'll be seeing more of you on the Forums.


Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 65

It's an important question.

If you do decide to go left handed, your guitar options severely narrow, as far as whats going to be available to you. Also many companies upcharge a left versus right hand model.

You DO have somewhat of an advantage playing left handed because it will feel more "natural" to you.

On the other hand, under the watchful guidance of a private instructor, a lefty CAN be taught to play right handed. In fact for all intents and purposes, a Right hander that has never played and a left hander that's never played, essentially start at the same place, and its going to feel awkward. Ive taught many left handers to go righty right from the start, but its a decision they had to make, I don't push one over the other I just like to present their options, so they have a taste of the big picture. If you are willing to work through the limitations attending either role, then feel free to move forward.

Also there are shops which cater specifically to left handed players. Southpaw Guitars comes to mind.



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Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659

I'll just reiterate what others have said- either choice is a good choice, if you stick to it and learn to do it.

A guitarist I enjoy listening to, Billy McLaughlin, originally learned right handed (he's a rightee), but when he suffered crippling injuries to his left hand, he swapped. Stubborn dude, imo. Really inspiring.

What does it prove? Anybody could learn either way. When I first picked up a guitar (right handed, my only real option), it felt as awkward as heck. Now, having held it that way for a few years, it feels pretty comfortable. True for any new guitarist, handedness not withstanding.

Welcome to the forum, and especially to the guitar. Make a choice, and get playing- it can bring you great joy.


Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3711

For what it's worth, my son is a lefty but he learned to do several things right handed for the reason that left handed things aren't always easy to come by. Guitars are one of these things. Even in a big music store the percentage of instruments that will be right handed is usually over 90. He shoots a gun right handed, plays golf right handed and plays bass right handed. The choice is yours and my advice is to go with what feels best, but if it is truely 50 50 ...... go righty. You will have more options. My son has never regretted the decision he made.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 180

My boy also plays guitar right-handed. He writes with his left, can hit a baseball from either side of the plate, shoots a rifle right-handed but a pistol as a lefty, and prefers a left-handed hockey stick but will play with whatever's available. The moral here: the kid is ten times more coordinated than I will ever be. Like TRGuitar's son, though, he made a conscious decision to learn righty guitar due to the far greater choice of instruments available to him, and he's never looked back and wished otherwise.

New Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 3
Topic starter  

Thank you everyone for such very helpful replys-I'm not joking. It has been a real frustration for me. However, just a while ago I was playing around with my righty Yamaha F-700s and I thought of something. Maybe the size of the guitar is wrong for me.I think the dreadnaught might be too big for me and maybe that is why it feels uncomfortable. The lefty electric (Vintage v-100) feels great with strumming but awkward with fretting and the righty feels okay a bit awkward with fretting but my right hand feels uncomfortable over the dreadnaught hump. So I am going to go try out a folk sized (or OM I think is also smaller than a dreadnaught right?) righty guitar and maybe that is the problem and I can go righty. That is my most recent thought. Thanks very much for all the thoughtful answers even though this topic has probably been discussed to death.

Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497

Guitar is a two handed instrument.

And it's weird. You don't see a left-handed violin, cello, viola, double bass, piano, synthesizer, saxophone, clarinet, flute, etc., etc.

So why learn the guitar that way? If some of the world greatest violin players are left handed and they play a normal violin, it is obviously not a great handicap.

Jimi Hendrix wrote and ate with his right hand (although i have read he was rather ambidextrous). Personally, I think on the normal guitar, the left hand works harder anyway.

If you decide to learn left handed guitar, you will forever be wishing you could get this guitar or that guitar or another guitar in a lefty model.

So my advice is this; If you can. learn the normal guitar.

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Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 39

As a left handed beginner I felt I should chime in... there is very little to say that hasn't already been said, but I am learning to play right handed. I feel that when I get good enough having the extra dexterity in my left (fretting hand) will be a great advantage. In my mind it is much easier to teach your (our) non-dominant hand rhythm and somewhat "basic" (for lack of a better word) movements and leave our naturally more dexterous left hand to fret complicated chord changes and scales. Anyone with more experience, which is just about anyone , feel free to add to this

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