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Playing leftie and righty?

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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Look at snowboarders, you either do it rightie or what they call I think goofy foot which is lefty. All you are doin is standing up yet everybody has their preferred way based on their dominant side.

I assume your rightie, if we put a left handed quitar in your hands could you play to the level you play now? Do you honestly beleive you could play equally well both ways given the time? I'd say no, you'd always play better one way or the other.

You forget that with guitar, violin or any such string instrument you are forced to use both hands, and both will be required to perform complex tasks. To get to a reasonable level both hands need to reach a certain level of proficiency so in the long run it doesn't matter at all. Had I started learning lefty I would most likely have had less trouble fretting and more trouble picking. As reality shows us the real strength of players does not depend on their dominant hand but on the ammount of practice devoetd to that hand: my fretting hand is better developped then my picking hand, and the same goes for most right-handed players. Our non-dominant hand is better developped because as a beginner we tend to over-estimate the importance of the fretting hand (which hand do you look at when watching a concert DVD?).

When it comes to activities where you have to chose between one or the other going for the dominant side is typical, atleast in the western culture. For example, in football (or soccer) most western players have a strong preference for one foot, which is developed a lot. The non-dominant foot is usually very, very weak. In Japan kids are trained with both feet, which means that their dominant side is less then their western counterpart but their non-dominant side is much better. It's more cultural then anything and nobody really knows for sure which approach is best.

When it comes to activities where both sides *have* to be used it makes no sense to seperate. Example: Niccolo Paganini is widely considered as one of the best violin virtuosos ever. He was lefthanded. The suggestion he would have been better had he put the violin on his other shoulded sounds somewhat iffy to me.


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(@corbind)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Ig, you opened my mind in that there is apparently not a lefty violin, etc. But I believe it's good to offer an instrument in left or right in that it let's a consumer choose. But we all have opinions so it's all cool.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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But I believe it's good to offer an instrument in left or right in that it let's a consumer choose.

Sure. The only thing that really pisses me off is that lefties are more expensive. Sure, there are less made but is a lefty strat really $150 more expensive to make? If they'd be honest and make them roughly the same price and tell people that you can learn both ways, no matter your dominant-side, then I wouldn't care this much. Now it feels like robbery to me.


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(@rahul)
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Now it feels like robbery to me.

I am a victim of this robbery...


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(@corbind)
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From a business viewpoint, the more of an item you produce the costs (per unit) go down. That's why it will always cost less to produce righty guitars.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@ness-k)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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im left handed but play rightie

"The Beauty of Music is my Sanity. Without it, I would simply lose my gravity, and blow away with the breeze." - Ness K(Aka Matt Harris)


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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From a business viewpoint, the more of an item you produce the costs (per unit) go down. That's why it will always cost less to produce righty guitars.

Yeah, a bit, but not nearly that much. When you take a $1000 Fender USA strat the bulk of that money goes to the store (space rental, staff salararies, actual store profit) the companies in between, transportation, advertisement, overhead etc etc. I'm fairly certain that the actual costs of a USA fender is below $200 (remember that all parts, bodies, necks etc are bulk!). I find it highly unlikely that a lefty is twice as expensive to make. I also doubt that a salesman selling lefties needs a double salary, or that a shop selling lefty guitars needs to spend twice as much on renting the stuff. Transporting a lefty isn't more expensive either.

So yeah, they tell you you need a lefty guitar and that it's more expensive to make. They charge $200 extra, spend a tenner on the actual guitar and slip the other $190 in their pockets.


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(@rahul)
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I didn't want to participate in the 'dominate hand' or starting right is better debate. But, I have made an earlier post about it in this thread and I think it will better fit here -

''I agree cent per cent with DemoEtc.

And though it is off topic, I will like to express my views over this ‘strong hand' belief.

Now, I never think that my left hand is more stronger than my right hand. Simply, because that is not the case at all. Left and right hands (or legs) are simply to perform different activites. What activites they do or can do, is decided by their motor ability, which is in turn controlled by the brain.

This motor ability is somewhat opposite in lefties compared to our right handed counterparts. So that is the reason I find ‘holding' and ‘bending' the strings way easier through my right hand rather then the left. But just because I strum through my left, that doesn't mean that my left hand is stronger.

If that theory applies, it should apply to piano also. But I find forming chords and playing notes way easier with my left hand compared to the right. (the hand which I use on guitar, to hold chords) And I am sure, the right handed players find it difficult to form chords with their left hand on piano.

This is simply an example of motor ability. In holding strings down, you are using different muscles. In holding keys down you are using different ones. That's the reason of using hands differently on different ‘playing type' intruements. I am absolutely sure, that if I am given any stringed instrument, be it Mandolin, Banjo, Uke, Sitar, Dobro, Violin, Contra Bass, Cello etc, I will play it left handed only. And if I am to play an Organ or a Harpsichord, I am sure I will play it exactly like I play a piano. This is simply due to my developed muscle memory and motor ability which guides me to use my left hand in those aspects where a normal person will use his right one.

To refute the strong hand theory further, let me give a real life example. I used to learn martial arts few years back. Now I remember that I could hit the punching bag much harder with my right hand than the left. However, kicking was easier from the left leg. Another one - While playing cricket, I throw the ball from my left hand (I bowl fast) and I bat (just like hitting a ball from baseball bat) righty. Now, it takes a lot of power to hit the ball and I do hit some huge shots. (when I am in form...lol). So where is the consistency in the 'strong hand' theory ?

The point of all this is simple. Its completely wrong to tell a lefty beginner to start playing righty by telling that your ‘strong' hand can be used to fret and that is an advantage. He can try, but if he is a born lefty like me, chances are that he will eventually play the instrument left-handed only or give up. Hendrix and Paul McCartney were among those, who while starting felt very odd playing righty as everyone did. And thank God, that they got the wisdom early about their being southpaws.

I feel sad for you, UrbanCowgirl that you find it diffcult to fingerpick. If you play air guitar lefty, that is a clear cut sign that your 'natural' instinct is to play left-handed. By playing righty, imo, you have certainly made playing less enjoyable and hard. (or so I feel)

Coming to the thread, I stronly believe that Gibson will continue to make lefty versions of atleast their ‘Standard' LPs. Anyways right now, I am not in a position to buy one, so doesn't matter much to me.

However, I feel that more manufactures should atleast offer decent budget lefty guitars on custom, if not as ready inventory. Martin provides left-handed version of every model it makes – from a backpacker to D-100. (on order, if not available in stock)

I wonder, if us lefties could take the guitar manufacturers to court for discrimination on the basis of ‘handedness'.

In any case, you have my hearty support, Jim. I am here to write any letter of support or representation if you want. UNITED WE STAND. Wink

Rahul''


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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I wonder, if us lefties could take the guitar manufacturers to court for discrimination on the basis of ‘handedness'.

No ofcourse you can't. If I want to make only righthanded guitars that's my choice, you can't sue companies because you rather have different products. If your need is that big, start your own company.

Apart from that, all argument's heared from lefties so far are, no offense, guesses. Nobody tried both ways, nobody gave biological reasons why it is so. I can give countless examples of lefthanded musicians who reached great skill playing right-handed. I can explain that using basic neurology. Anyone who took some basic classes know that the human brain is not a static, fixed mass but develops based on what is being used. This is espescially true for the motor cortex. Experienced violin players, for example, all show a vastly increased size of the brainpart responsible for finger control and sensitivity, partly due to the extended use of the muscles and partly to counter the numbing of the nerves after the forming of callouses. The flexibility of the motor cortex does not depend on initial handedness, which is why it's perfectly possible to teach a lefthanded person right, or vica versa if you so desire.
Hendrix and Paul McCartney were among those, who while starting felt very odd playing righty as everyone did.
You forgot Kurt Cobain. Neither of these three musicians can be considered virtuoso players, which is what we're talking about. The fact they could cover that up (and I dig the music of all three of these people, except Paul's modern stuff :P ) with being inventive and creative songwriters doesn't make them great examples of why people should learn left-handed. That simply has *nothing* do with being left-handed or developing your motor cortex in any way at all.
And I am sure, the right handed players find it difficult to form chords with their left hand on piano.
Definitely not. Anyone who has had the benefits of private piano lessons will probably tell you that the left hand is initially used for accompaniment, with the right hand playing the melody. As such I was initially MUCH better playing chords with the left hand. After a while, as your skill increases, you'll get into contact with such techniques as two-handed arpeggios which, espescially when no pedal is allowed, require a very fluent and delicate technique from both hands, plus perfect coordination and equal dynamics so the audience doesnt hear those annoying differences each time the hands swap. It doesn't matter if you're right or lefthanded, both hands will need to reach the same of skill. If that isn't a perfect example of how it works then I dont know what is.

This is, again, perfectly in line with what history, science and personal experience predicted.
I am absolutely sure, that if I am given any stringed instrument, be it Mandolin, Banjo, Uke, Sitar, Dobro, Violin, Contra Bass, Cello etc, I will play it left handed only.
And what does that prove? Nothing but the lack of willingness to try in any other way. That's fine, and you have that choice, but it;s not an argument in favor or against anything whatsoever.
Its completely wrong to tell a lefty beginner to start playing righty by telling that your ‘strong' hand can be used to fret and that is an advantage. He can try, but if he is a born lefty like me, chances are that he will eventually play the instrument left-handed only or give up.
The idea he'd give up is based on what exactly? And completely wrong? I'm not saying either way is an advantage, I'm saying the brains are flexible enough to learn both ways. That's not a guess but a fact.

I can go on with countless examples but I don't think I really need to. Brains are far more flexible then people might believe, the reasoning behind that is fairly strong. If that isn't enough of an argument I tried it for myself, on various instruments, and it appears to be true. And if that doesn't work as well all throughout history musicians have learned right-handed regarless of their initial preference, with great succes. Now everyone is entitled to their own opinion but please do be aware that that would be nothing but a guess, based on not much then a hunch.


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Behold the power of the Double Post!


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(@rahul)
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They only problem is that you are 'not' left handed and hence you are saying all these things. Go try learning your guitar left handed, since you say that it is a 'fact' that brains are capable of doing it. If you can get as good as you are right now, then and only then your point is proven. And start writing left handed also. Lets see how soon you can reach there.


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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What I am or not am doesn't matter for the reasons given above. I don't really get the near religious dogmatic attitude people have about this. All I'm saying is that it matters absolutely nothing whether you are left or right handed, yet apparantly that is really insulting to some. Why? Btw, I already demonstrated it with the piano, and you can listen to 'a Dream' on my soundclick page to verify it. I'm not going to do it on every instrument just to please anyone because it's not in my advantage. You don't have to believe me, it's all up to you. As for writing, a friend of mine did that just for fun. Took him some months but now he can write mirrored, both left and right handed. If you are desperate for the truth try your local university library or consult your local neurology professor. I'm sure New Delhi has an excellent university so you really don't need to take my word for it. Ofcourse, we both know you won't do that because you *want* to believe in the difference between left and right handed people. And you have the right to do that, if you wish. We both have given our side of the story and I think people can now see for themselves what they want to believe.

Oh, in case things are coming of wrong (A dutch dude talking to an Indian guy in English on a Chinese-based website :P), nothing I said is ment personally, either to you or anyone else. Feel more then welcome to form your own opinions and do as you please. My personal opinion is that it eventually doesn't matter at all if you play left or right handed, so just have some fun, no matter what you do. :D


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Something my grandad (a lefty) told me when I was little; if you watch a left handed or left footed sportsman, they always seem to have that little bit more flair than a right handed or right footed player. It does appear that way - watch Jimmy White playing snooker, for instance, or Ryan Giggs play football - but I wonder if that's just the perception that right handed/footed people have? Because to a right handed person, a left handed person looks wrong/weird/unusual?

No-one can say Hendrix didn't have flair.....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Football is different. I played it and it's true that left-footed players appear to have more flair. In truth it's that defenders are way more accustomed to right-footed players which means that left-footed players have a higher chance of succesfully making a move compared with right-footed players of the same skill. There are a lot more right-footed wingers availlable, so backs have much more skill defending against them. In the earlier years of training having to defend against a proper left-footed winger happens very rarely, if at all.

Apart from that, with a few billion people on this world and 15% of them being left-handed/footed/whatever I'm sure you can find outstanding lefties in every kind of occupation you can think of. I'm sure you can think of some people with flair that are black, read-haired, blue-eyed, short, fat, old or lazy, too!


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(@anonymous)
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i've had my right hand in a cast or immobilized a couple times and had to learn to do everything left handed. it kinda stuck, and now my left hand, in addition to probably being a little stronger due to the fretting, now has about the same dexterity as my right hand did when i was a kid.
i can also play a left handed guitar right handed or left handed, badly.


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