1. Jim
    March 23rd, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    OK I am a right hander that plays left handed because of loosing the first digit ring finger left hand. So it would be the same for me (a right hander learning to play a left handed guitar) as vise versa.

    First you have a real advantage when it comes to chording with your dominate hand. Now the strumming will be a little spastic to begin but when you are just learning the guitar, keeping your fingers off of adjacent strings and deadening the notes is a greater problem than making simple strums.

    In fact having to learn left handed I now am clueless as to why right handed guitars are any better for right handers and worse for left handed players.

    The greatest advantage of playing a right handed guitar whether you are right handed or not is being able to go into a guitar store and try out whatever guitar you want. Something I have never been able to do and something that can be avoided for even left handed people by a little re-training of the brain which, I can assure you will come natural with practice.

    Plus, the benefit of being able to try out your buddies guitar, choose a guitar from the shelf, or not having to pay 15% more and waiting 6 months from your local guitar dealer to get your special order guitar in which you still won’t know how it plays until it arrives. Just seems like a lot of trouble for very little benefit. I know lots of left handed people that drive stick shift cars or ride motorcycles and do as well as any right hander without having to go out and buy a special car or motorcycle. Come on… it’s a right handed world that you have already done very well in. Don’t sweet the small stuff.

    I now play better than my right hand friends after making whatever adjustment it was for me to learn to play what most would consider opposite handed. So, lefties. I say don’t turn it upside down PLAY that thing right handed!

    Later you can thank me for my good advice : )

    • Sara Piesse
      December 7th, 2016 @ 10:14 am

      I bought a right handed guitar swearing I would learn but my brain keeps shouting at me to turn it upside down I’ve just just started looking at left handed ones but all I seem to find in my price range are electro acoustic!

  2. Jim
    March 23rd, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    Sorry to repost but, are their any advantages to playing left handed guitar? Yes. When you are facing a right handed player it is much easier to follow what chords they are playing because it is like watching yourself in a mirror. The fretboard of your guitar will be facing in the same direction as theirs and it is easy to duplicate their chords.

    You can much more easily duplicate their finger position. This is also a reason why it is not to the advantage of a left handed player to seek out a left handed guitarist to teach them. In fact it is much easier for left handed players to teach a right handed player or for a left handed player to learn from a right handed player. This is the only advantage I can think of that really matters.

    • David Hodge
      March 24th, 2012 @ 6:45 am

      Hi Jim and thanks for writing!

      There are definitely some good points here. And there are a number of role models when it comes to “switching,” at least for left handed folks who decide to go play right handed – Paul Simon, Mark Knopfler, Steve Morse and David Byrne are all left handed people who play right handed. It would be interesting to start up a list of right handed people who play left handed.


    • john
      August 2nd, 2014 @ 6:51 am

      I like the comment on the mirror vision when teaching or learning between a right handed person and a left handed person.
      I am left handed and I am beyond counting the amount of times people say “how can you show someone how to play when every thing will be backwards”. I never understand their thinking. like you, I say it makes it easier as both players can sit directly in front of each other and watch what each hand is doing very closely just as looking in a mirror.
      For me, there was never an option for playing right handed- everything I do is left handed and it would just not be me.
      Other advantages are that I believe it can create symmetry with a right handed bass player on stage and also being able to face each other while playing can be good when improvising.

  3. David Rivas
    April 7th, 2013 @ 11:00 am

    Alright so I learned right handed, and I am left handed. I hated it. I always felt like I was getting a literal work out every time I played. I could do sweep picks, pinch harmonics, chime. Anything really. Played for 3 years. I flipped over a guitar like Paul gray. And played it left handed, it worked cause it was a strat, like jimi Hendrix. I have been playing for two years, I hate playing guitar right handed HATE IT. I love playing left handed so much more comfy and natural and I can do everything that I used to be able to that took me 3 years too learn I’ve been playing lefty for 2 so it took me a whole less year to learn all the stuff I could already do but now more comfy and natural so if you’re debating which way to play play natural. Don’t bend cause some loser says you have a advantage. It’s a lie.

    • Tim E.
      April 8th, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

      Absolutely! My first teacher would not teach me left handed. So, I learned to play the first couple months right handed. I’m pushin 50 yrs. young and have been a lefty all my life. I strive to keep it that way. I also do pottery on the wheel, left handed. So, I found a new teacher and he has been very cool with me playing left handed. I think it’s going pretty good, considering I’m only in my first year. I sit across from him so it’s almost like I’m mirroring what he’s doing, if that makes sense. Anyway, I agree, don’t be persuaded to play right handed. If you’re a natural “lefty” then play that way. It’s not really as backwards as you may think.

  4. Tom Stulc
    June 26th, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

    so I go over to begin to teach my young nephew and niece on beginning guitar. I discover that my nephew is left handed> he has an lot of music potential. more so than the niece. about 7 years old. I get on the net and find all kinds of advice! teach then to play right handed, no stay with the left etc.. I know having deliberately learned sign language left, though I am right handed, and rifle shooting left and right handed equally well as I am left eye dominate. and playing basket ball and learning to dribble and shoot layups left handed, it can be done. He is young. However, he is weak fingered and muscled compared to his younger sister who is a bull dozer. a real tank for a 6 year old. So my conclusion after observing his weakness of finger strength when trying to play right hand is. For the sake of finger strength and personal comfort, with the idea of him enjoying playing enough to stay with it, I’m going to restring his cheap little beginner guitar and a ukulele, I have, and teach him south paw. any thoughts offer them

    • Zagan
      August 14th, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

      While the life of a lefty guitarist is a tough one, (I have been doing it since 1978) I say if he is a lefty let him play left handed. I have always held to the belief of why make yourself work harder than you have to. Music is an expression of one’s feeling and you want to be as comfortable as possible so that you can get that natural flow. I prefer not to struggle because when you do it comes out in your music and you can really tell. If you are a good player then you know that when you are calm, relaxed, and confident – that is when you play the best.

      I would recommend extra light gauge strings also (.008). These are much easier on the fingers and are great for beginners because at first you want to learn the basics, chords and scales. If the beginner gets too frustrated it is more likely they will give up. I try to not over work beginners and watch for when they need a break. Remember to have him shake out his hand now and then to avoid cramps. They are working muscles in way they are not accustomed to so like any other exercise, you have to slowly build up the amount of time they use them. Most of all patience is the key.

      You will have to make it fun to keep their interest. Children have a short attention span so you will have to keep him entertained and interested. As a father myself I know that can be a big challenge but you will have to keep your expectations reasonably low enough to avoid getting frustrated yourself. Don’t push it, try to get it to where it’s his idea to practice. If you get him on those terms then you have found the sweet spot. Have his mother or friends ask to hear him play, kids love to show off. When people other than you are involved it helps encourage him even more. I know most of this probably will sound obvious, but I hope something here will help. Good luck.

    • Steven Stuart
      August 21st, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

      Hi Tom,
      I am 60 years old and have been playing guitar and bass left handed for at least 50 years.

      I have a collection of over 25 lefty instruments, from guitars to ukuleles and even violins.

      It all became clear to me after seeing Paul McCartney on the Ed Sullivan show and realizing you can play your instrument “backwards”. He has stated in interviews that he had the same revelation after seeing a photo of Slim Whitman.

      There was a time when lefty instruments had to be specially ordered, cost at least 10% more, and had almost no trade in value. Back in the day before the internet, we had a little network of lefty players who kept in touch with each other, and let each other know when we had an instrument to sell or trade.

      Those days are over now, just do a search on Ebay for lefty guitar, and you’ll get pages of instruments for sale. Sometimes a lefty instrument will even sell quicker and bring more money because the guys looking for them want them bad.

      As far as teaching a lefthander, I never had any problem learning from right handed players, it really is like looking in a mirror. I say let the boy be himself.

      The only downside to me is, you have to get in the habit of taking your instrument with you anywhere you go that there might be an opportunity to play.

    • carol
      February 17th, 2016 @ 4:53 pm

      Carol ,
      Just like to thank Tim E for his advice , I am a 65 year women just trying to learn how to play a acoustic guitar I am also left handed with small hands and I would never consider learning to play right handed .
      But I am having trouble finding a proper not to expensive small left handed guitar . using a right handed at the moment with the strings changed around I know that it is not ideal but I keep looking for a proper left handed one .

  5. Thomas
    September 22nd, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

    I think you have to play the natural way! If you are left handed then there are more chances that left handed guitar suit up for you! Notice when you write its like you were holding a pick and when you are clapping your hands the left one its in control!!

  6. Pride or Self-Pity? | LeftyBassgirl
    March 31st, 2014 @ 4:41 pm

    […] comes to our rescue too – and all that’s written for guitar on there also applies to bass, of course: […]

  7. John
    July 30th, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

    I’m left handed, who plays right hand guitar(upside down). I told myself that nothing is impossible, since I could find a left hand guitarist, and I only realized later that I purchased a right hand guitar. I just told myself that I’m gonna do it on my own. I reffered to the internet, but I learned to play using right handers guitar tab. But it helped me a lot. So guys don’t be dicouraged, you can do it.

  8. Zagan
    August 14th, 2014 @ 3:46 pm

    In 1978 I left home and joined the navy. I had always wanted to play guitar but my parents couldn’t afford one so as soon as i got my first paycheck I went to the exchange and bought a guitar and amp. Then I tired to get this guy to show me how to play. He told me I was holding it wrong. I am left handed, but I didn’t know it made a difference when it came to guitar. I tried to hold it the other way but it just felt too weird. He told me to give up because I could never play guitar that way. I was heartbroken because I really love music and wanted to play so bad.

    A couple of months went by and I saw another guitarist (who later became my best friend) tearing it up on a SG copy. Then I noticed he was playing left handed. I said “Wow! how are you doing that? I was told it was impossible.” He replied “I just strung it upside down”. I was overjoyed and bought another guitar and did the same.

    I learned never to let someone tell me something is impossible. Soon after I bought a real left handed guitar and have been playing ever since. Now I am respected by my peers and the fact that I am a left handed guitarist is valued to other guitarist because they find it easier for me to teach them because it is like looking in a mirror.

    While being told it was impossible for me to play a guitar when I first started did sting, I’m actually glad it happened. Because when I found out different nothing could have fueled my desire and dedication to prove otherwise more. So I hope if you are starting out playing guitar, or anything in life for that matter, that you find that sting like I did, and the fire that lights the passion inside of you to do great things.

  9. Jason
    September 24th, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

    The thought of playing a guitar right handed seems so unnatural that it makes me want to throw up… on the right handed guitar.
    I would also add that I agree sitting across from a right handed player just makes sense to me. Also if you want to learn from a left handed player I would have to sit behind and above them to look over their shoulder.

  10. mickey
    September 26th, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

    Lefty who plays righty

    I am A+ at fingerpicking but cannot hold a pick and reliably pick the correct string or strum quickly / using complicated rhythm

    For this reason I’d like to relearn lefty And see what having my dominant hand strumming feels like

    But holding a guitar left handed feels like holding a baby upside down, so that might pose a problem for me

  11. gary hull
    October 5th, 2014 @ 12:38 am

    At my age you were almost considered intellectually deficient if you did not use your right hand. So after 30 years of being a meritocratic player and pick bound, because of a physical illness i had to switch. My GOD it feelis right and finger pecking id so natural now….ya i still suck, but now i am having fun playing now!

  12. Guy Jones
    November 1st, 2014 @ 5:59 am

    Nice article!
    Can’t say that I agree with advice #2 at the end. I’m understand that I may be an exception, but I’ve had pretty good experience to the contrary.

    I played a right-handed guitar left-handed upside-down for 15 years (only ever being frustrated by difficulty reaching frets over 15) and I’ve never owned a left-handed guitar (played a few and it will be my next investment….but the strings will be flipped!).

    After around 9 years of playing upside-down, I decided to flip the strings and play LH ‘properly’ (albeit on a RH guitar) and, to be honest, it wasn’t that difficult. Within 3 months, I could play almost my entire repertoire at a similar level.
    If you play alot of drop tuned power chords, I have found playing upside-down to be more comfortable. Also, it opened up some new creative ideas, as different natural patterns presented themselves. Now, I switch back and forth with every string change and I get the same boost in inspiration every time.

    So….if you are willing to risk a bit of technical proficiency for creativity, give upside-down a go. (Also, the trick to tricky chords upside-down is utilising all 5 digits on the right hand….this makes G easier to play than Dm).

    It’s a musical instrument, not a precise tool….play it however you feel like!

  13. Joe
    March 25th, 2015 @ 1:11 am

    I’d disagree in relation to not “flipping” a right-handed acoustic.
    By all means, if you can find a left-handed instrument I’d purchase that over a right-handed one, but unless you are spending serious $$$$ on the acoustic (i.e. buying a Gibson J45) the bridge is not likely to be intonating perfectly anyway.
    I think as long as you tune at the start of each playing session any “out-of-tuneness” is likely to be unnoticeable.
    I have a right-handed Taylor BT-1 that I’ve “flipped” (that I use as my “travel” guitar) that keeps in tuneable on pitch far better than my left-handed acoustic.
    A lot of guitarists just assume the acoustic they have is intonating correctly as the bridge is not adjustable, so they forget about it (as opposed to electrics with adjustable bridges that a surprisingly large number of guitarists don’t adjust and setup properly anyway!).
    That being said I do think modifying right-handed guitars for left-handed playing should not be considered for your first 5 guitars or so, as there is a lot more to prepping them for left-handed playing than just re-stringing (i.e. at a bare minimum you will want to replace the nut…)

  14. DBF
    March 29th, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

    I am a right who learned to play right handed but have all kinds of problems with my picking and strumming. Since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and is responsible for rhythm I think maybe I should try a left handed guitar. I am also coming to think that a person should use their dominate hand for fretting/chording which for me would be the right hand.

  15. B. Collins
    November 25th, 2015 @ 8:48 pm

    In response to Guy Jones from Nov. 2014, YES!!!!….”We are out there!!”….Growing up left-handed my parents would never invest into
    anything left-handed for me cause I didn’t stick with anything too long and they figured it would be a waste of money, so everything I learned to use was right-handed – examples were baseball gloves; golf clubs; scissors; and guitars. I learned to play right-hand strung guitars but I held them ‘upside-down’ as a normal lefty would. Everyone that I requested for guitar lessons tried to convince me to learn to play right-handed before “It was too late to reprogram my brain!!” Only one instructor told me that he found it EASIER to teach a lefty because sitting opposite to a lefty was a “mirror image” of himself and therefore made it was easier to teach a lefty. My dilemma was that I held the guitar left-handed but played right-hand strung so even he try to convince me to try a regular left-handed guitar. It was way too late, my brain was already programmed to several years of amateur playing with a right-hand strung guitar.
    After trying several left-handed guitars, including a custom made left-handed “Gibson”(from “Washington Music Center” in D.C.) that was strung RIGHT-HANDED for a friend of mine that played professionally (had his own local band that did a few local recordings also), I came to the conclusion that this was how I felt most comfortable playing. I eventually got my hands on an “Ibanez” RG-570 at a local dealer and WHOA!!…THAT was the feel I’d been looking for….Light, easy to handle, smooth fast neck, and very comfortable to me. I ordered the “Ibanez” left hand model which was the RG-470L, but being the factory only “tools-up” once a year to build left hand models, I had to pay 50% down, wait 5 months, and I had to agree that the factory warranty would be VOID because the factory would be stringing this guitar right-handed at my request. It was a total love affair when my guitar finally came in, hooked-up to a “Peavey”
    Bandit amp in the store and I was in heaven.
    After a few months of getting comfortable with my new RG-470L, I ordered an Ibanez EX-170L left-handed bass guitar just to play around with and found it very comfortable also. Now please bear-in-mind that I’m an amateur and DO NOT play professionally at all
    but I’ve had several people, including professionals, make comments like “How the hell do you do that??”….”Hold the damn thing left-
    handed but play with it right hand strung??”….I tell people I’m kinda like “trans-gender”, the “heterosexual” right-handed AND left-
    handed guitar players don’t understand me. People like me are the “out-casts” among “out-casts”.
    I’m a typical “closet-case” guitar player, playing with small local groups and at home for my own entertainment but 12 bar blues are no
    problem, blue grass rhythm I love and Chuck Berry ‘runs’ are my favorite. I’ve actually found that there are guitar ‘runs’ and chords that
    I can play a lot easier than regular right-handed OR left-handed guitarists simply because of the strings being backwards but keep in mind that equally there are some chords and lead runs that are simply impossible for me because of this very handicap I’m cursed with.
    I guess in conclusion I’m trying to appeal to anyone like myself and Jones, don’t try to stay inside a strictly ‘right-hand box’ or a ‘left-hand box’ if playing’ left-handed-right-hand-strung’ is most comfortable to you. I’ve found that I can play just about all major and minor
    chords and a few of the ‘far-out’ chords coupled with picking a lead and adding a bass string ‘pluck’ in-between and I’ve developed my
    own unique style that couples ‘lead-rhythm-bass’ all-in-one.
    Incidentally, I’ve NEVER met a person that’s TRULY opposite to me, a right-handed guitar player that plays LEFT hand strung. If you’re
    out there please share your experience and style. By the way, in high-school I played clarinet, alto-sax, alto-clarinet and piano and I can’t help but think that all those instruments helped me with my coordination at playing right-hand strung guitars held left-handed.
    Thanks to anyone who has taken time to read this and please share your comments,
    B. Collins, Nov. 25th, 2015′

  16. Lisa T
    December 26th, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

    The first song I learned to play at age 14 was Smoke On The Water – right handed guitar played left handed. The guy who taught me – never commented on how I held it. I am 50 now – have 3 other guitars, two right, one left handed. One of the sellers/teachers told me “you’re not Hendrix play right handed” …..I was miserable & quit…..for many years. This time I am going to buy the “left-handed” guitar I want – and use the internet as a teaching resource. Playing right hand alwaysssss felt like It does when my shoes are on the wrong feet! Just sayin. It is all a personal choice! And at this age ……I am going to do what I want to. Btw, I am learing to play hard rock & metal. Just my thing. Laters.

  17. Kev
    March 4th, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

    Hi my experience with being a left handed player in the beginning was a set back because back in the seventies to find a left handed guitar was near on impossible anyway I just ended up doing the usual thing and just restrung a right hand guitar. Now after many years and a lot of perseverance I can play left or right but am definitely more comfortable playing naturally on a left handed guitar. I can play most basic open chords upside-down the do sound a little different and some d for example actually sounds better imo played upside-down.
    I also sometimes like to play a right handed guitar upside down a have found that I can get some really nice sounds playing this way. I’ve seen Tracy Chapman play both left and right handed although to be fair she is a rare talent. Another talent is an Irish musician Mick Flannery he plays a right handed guitar left handed bass strings at the bottom and has a unique sound .
    It’s all about expession and what sounds good. Be comfortable with whatever works for you and enjoy playing left right or upside-down .

  18. Isaiah
    May 27th, 2016 @ 4:01 am

    I am right handed and early on I would pick up a guitar and try to teach myself. Come to find out it was in fact upside down so out of discouragement, I gave up trying. Fast forward 25+ years and I’m thinking of picking the guitar back up but this time ensuring its a left handed guitar. Why does it feel so un natural to play right handed?

  19. Jenn
    June 7th, 2016 @ 9:13 am

    I’ve been a lefty since birth, but when I was in my early 20’s, I injured my left hand which resulted in mononeuropathy of the ulnar nerve which effects my pinky and ring fingers on my left hand … they are mostly useless before my injury though I played clarinet and alto sax … neither of which I am able to play now because I can’t feel the keys well enough to effectively cover holes or press the key reflexes are also a huge problem in those fingers there is a delay between me thinking about moving my pinky or ring finger and the finger actually moving so for music application, my left hand is useless for fingering notes. I spent years wallowing in self pity over my loss of ability to play a musical instrument, but then I’m not real sure how I got the idea, but I began to realize that a lefty guiitar might be the answer to my problem … I am able to hold a pick with my left hand, but there is no way I could finger the strings with that hand, so about a year and a half ago, I spent $300 on a lefty guitar, and a hard shell case for it, and began my journey to learn to play guitar …. I feel like its safe to say my skill level is still that of a first year student, but I am starting to have fun with it and despite everyone who didn’t understand the nature of my injury telling me I should get a right handed guitar, I am playing a lefty guitar and once again am able to produce music from an instrument even though my skill is lacking right now, I still get that feeling of peace (like the whole world melted away and it is just me and my instrument) and a huge sense of accomplishment as I play guitar much like what I use to experience when I played sax and clarinet….. if it weren’t for my injury I would likely still be playing clarinet and sax, but the good that came from my injury is that I have started to broaden the types of instruments I play and reclaimed the joy I thought I lost forever. I am constantly tod to go back and get a righthanded instrum,ent, but my injury would make it useless, and besides I’m a natural lefty since birth so In a sense I’m staying true to myself by playing as a lefty however I didn’t have the ability to choose to play righthanded my only option due to injury was to play as a lefty …. So my advice to other lefties is this …. go with what feels natural to you when it comes to playing guitar … the huge benefit is that learning from a righty guitarist you get to have a mirror effect to your learning that a righty learning from a righty wouldn’t have. play upside down and be true to yourself if you are a lefty from birth I say!

  20. Pete J
    October 27th, 2016 @ 11:41 am

    Just came across this Page out of fascination. I’m actually a Bassist, been playing since 1989. I’m a lefty too and I knew when I was starting that playing lefthanded was totally right for me. My first bass was a short-scale righty and my first teacher had no problem restringing it for me. It angers me sometimes when reading about People who think they can comment that lefties “should try to play righthanded regardless” and that it’d be “more beneficial cos your dominant hand is doing the fretting”… well if that’s the case then why don’t they play with their right hands doing the fretting? I think they’ve no idea what they’re talking about.. I’d be interested in asking Tim E and Lisa T about the so-called Teachers who wouldn’t teach them just cos they were lefthanded. Did either of you come across those losers again?

John Tucker

John Tucker is a guitarist from South Wales in the UK. Although he is young, he has a lot of experience - music has been an active part of his life for about a decade, and he has vast concert experience from the various bands he's been in throughout the years.