Right-handed - or left?

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HattigolHattigol Frets: 2845
Watching this video of the wonderful and much-missed Jeff Healey earlier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwgOUzodS6E

Watching him playing with the guitar flat on his lap got me thinking - surely the hardest part of what he is doing is his left hand fretting. If that's right, then surely you should have your dominant hand in that position, which you'd assume would make it easier.

So does that not mean that playing the way us right-handers play is actually more suited to left-handers (and vice versa)?
"Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • That does not mean that not playing the way us left-handers do not play is actually not more suited to the way that left-handers play and that right-handers do not play.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Anyone who attempts to silence you and prevent you from asking questions on complicated topics, is intent on deceiving you with simplistic answers.

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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10005
    I tend to think it's to do with the history of the guitar where the emphasis was more on playing something relatively simple with the fretting hand and finger picking with the dominant hand and, arguably, electric guitarists should have swapped over at some point. Some of the left handers who play like right handers such as Gary Moore or Al Anderson have very good control of fretting hand techniques like bending and vibrato which I suspect is helped by playing that way around but most instruments don't have a L-R option and your hands and brain just learn whatever it is they have to learn. Maybe unfairly for the benefit of the majority #leftylivesmatter.       
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 4067
    The idea behind this is that people have better fine motor control in their leading hand. That’s not the case for everyone. Individual abilities span the whole range from one handed to ambidextrous. 
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  • BlackdreamBlackdream Frets: 11
    I’m left handed, but play guitar right handed. I also hold a cricket bat right handed. My dad was right handed, but played golf left handed!
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 4067
    We had a thread on this years ago. About 10% of the population is left handed. It was interesting that many left handed people play a right handed guitar, but some just couldn’t.
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  • monquixotemonquixote Frets: 10670
    I tend to think it's to do with the history of the guitar where the emphasis was more on playing something relatively simple with the fretting hand and finger picking with the dominant hand and, arguably, electric guitarists should have swapped over at some point. Some of the left handers who play like right handers such as Gary Moore or Al Anderson have very good control of fretting hand techniques like bending and vibrato which I suspect is helped by playing that way around but most instruments don't have a L-R option and your hands and brain just learn whatever it is they have to learn. Maybe unfairly for the benefit of the majority #leftylivesmatter.       

    I'm a lefty who plays righty and that's what I've been told.

    I find big accurate bends easy, but I've never been able to master things like sweep picking so maybe that's why.

    Handsome_Chris said: Like white Nile Rodgers. 
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 2845
    It seems odder to me the more I think about it. Not sure I could ever play what Jeff's playing - even with three hands...

    @Blackdream my Dad was right-handed but played golf left-handed and cricket right-handed!
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 10005
    I tend to think it's to do with the history of the guitar where the emphasis was more on playing something relatively simple with the fretting hand and finger picking with the dominant hand and, arguably, electric guitarists should have swapped over at some point. Some of the left handers who play like right handers such as Gary Moore or Al Anderson have very good control of fretting hand techniques like bending and vibrato which I suspect is helped by playing that way around but most instruments don't have a L-R option and your hands and brain just learn whatever it is they have to learn. Maybe unfairly for the benefit of the majority #leftylivesmatter.       

    I'm a lefty who plays righty and that's what I've been told.

    I find big accurate bends easy, but I've never been able to master things like sweep picking so maybe that's why.

    I think that follows. I'm not sure I've ever tried sweep picking but fast alternate picking, hybrid picking, etc, don't seem particularly hard things to do for me and the block with actually using them to play anything is that my left hand can't keep up. 

    Roland said:
    The idea behind this is that people have better fine motor control in their leading hand. That’s not the case for everyone. Individual abilities span the whole range from one handed to ambidextrous. 
    When I was a student one of my lecturers was interested in this and we did a whole bunch of exercises plotting our individual L-R handedness. I can't remember them all now but I have extreme right handedness. 
    There's a possible genetic link between handedness and hair growth - IIRC  if the whorl on your head is counterclockwise you are more likely to be left handed. So, if you can see the top of someone's head you can have a reasonable guess if they are left or right handed. 
    When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die. 
    Jean-Paul Sartre 
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 534
    Do you find picking notes easier than fretting notes?

    That's the question I'd be asking.

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  • ArchtopDaveArchtopDave Frets: 680
    I'm one of those left handed people, who play guitar right handed. I never once considered trying to play guitar left handed. The guitarists, who mesmerise me, are the ones who have simply turned a correctly strung right handed guitar round to play left handed, so that the strings are in reverse order.
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  • Another lefty here that plays right handed.  You just get used to it.  

    Anyone got a left handed piano btw?  
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  • AdiAdi Frets: 148
    I was actually thinking about it the other day while practicing my legato, I'm right handed and play guitar the conventional, right handed way and sometimes I actually think it should be the other way around as my control is much better in my right hand than my left, my legato is completely crap due to the lack of control
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 6516
    Best guess, Healey arrived at his lap technique by trial and error. 

    My brother is left-handed but plays bass and guitar right-handed.

    I am more right-handed than left-handed. With regular practice, I can get about on a guitar that is strung for left-handed but held right-handed. Some of this is to do with breaking muscle memory habits. Some of it may be to do with having to cope with the reversed strung bass register half of a Chapman Stick. 

    Regarding legato playing, much of my technique is based on an idea shamelessly stolen from an Allan Holdsworth interview reprinted from Guitar Player magazine. Holdsworth's recommendation was to practice pull-offs and hammer-ons until they were consistently at the same volume level as picked notes. If you are going to attempt the Edward Van Halen two-handed tapping stuff, it is also necessary to develop similar control over the right hand touch.
    Be seeing you.
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  • fretmeisterfretmeister Frets: 13048
    The best bit of that vid is Marcus Miller.
    And I do like Jeff. 



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  • breezytelebreezytele Frets: 74
    And the usual suspects..
    Bowie, Knopfler and Ringo for that matter. All lefties playing right handed 
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 3594
    I'm left-handed but play right-handed and can confirm that I am dogshit. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 1384
    If i use a short handled bat  with one hand i use my left . Now if i hold a Bat with 2 hands i become right Handed. eg I pick up a cricket bat with both hands and it feels comfortable held down to the outside of my right leg.
    Now if i raise the bat shoulder height it still feel comfortable.. If the bat was longer and i slid my lower hand (left) down towards my left leg, i would still feel comfortable. I am now in a left handed position to play guitar. This is the feeling that makes me want to play left handed rather than right. I didn't consider my hands, just how it felt holding the instrument. Right handed players flip the bat over to the other side from their outside right leg which is a completely different feel to me.
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  • HattigolHattigol Frets: 2845
    The more people comment upon this, the less I'm convinced that there actually is a right or left-handed way to play guitar. There are just two different options and most people tend to favour what's known as the right-handed method.

    I personally think the fretting hand does the harder work of the two - which makes the conventional 'right-handed' approach very odd.
    "Anybody can play. The note is only 20%. The attitude of the motherf*cker who plays it is  80%" - Miles Davis
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 14516
    My take has always been that fretting is obviously harder as a beginner, but the bit you need more fine control over is the picking hand, as that needs finer control to hit specific strings and control dynamics.

    That, I assume, is why violins started off that way, and obviously it's quite important to have them all the same way around in an orchestra.
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  • GavRichListGavRichList Frets: 5074
    another leftie who plays right. I figured that both hands have to be taught to play, so I may as well go for the route that makes buying guitars easier! Would be interesting to know how much better or worse a player I would have been by now had I have gone southpaw. 
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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 2493
    Another lefty that plays right handed.    I don’t get left handed playing - put the hours in and either will feel natural I’d have thought. 
    I agree that at the beginning it’s probably quite handy to have the fretting hand as the more coordinated but once you’ve played for a while control from the right hand is key.    
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  • yorkioyorkio Frets: 50
    And just to confuse matters... I’m a righty who plays lefty. So far as I can remember, it’s because the first guitar I ever picked up was my uncle’s and it was a lefty, so that’s just guitars looked like so far as I was concerned. 
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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 3400
    I'm a lefty who plays right handed. When I first started it didn't cross my mind to play lefty.

    I mostly play fingerstyle acoustic. My left fretting hand is the weaker of the two.

    I'm fine with single notes, bends, hammer on, pull off, etc, but I've never been great at lightning fast chord changes. I can mask my limitations with good right handed picking technique. 
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