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Old 05-22-2010, 04:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Anyone play guitar left handed on a right handed guitar any advice?

I recently received an acoustic guitar from my brother. It is stringed for some one right handed however and I am left handed. So I decided I will try learning to play acoustic guitar upside down. Now I want to make this clear this thread isn't about how this is a bad decision and it isn't worth doing and or how I can restring it to be lefty. I simply want to know if anyone on music banter knows of any people who play like this or do so themselves and offer me some of their experience.
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure it's fine to do. I think the only problem that could be run into is knobs on an electric guitar, but since this is acoustic I think you should be fine.
(this is a constructive way of saying "wait until mr. dave or guitarbizarre post before you do anything)
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Don't do it. Albet King did it, and he's a fine player, but you will hurt your enjoyment and progress on the guitar immensely if you attempt to learn it upside down.

Restring it, or better yet, since you're just starting out, learn to play it righty. I'm left handed myself and I play right handed guitar. I actually found it IMPROVED my progress, because the left hand was handling the trickiest stuff. THe only disadvantage I've found is that my right hand picking, if I'm not practicing it much, can sometimes be outpaced by what my left hand is doing, but lots of right handed players run into the same problem, so I hardly put that down to my reversed hand preference.

Its absolutely NOT worth playing a right handed strung guitar left handed. It can, technically, be done, but it is more trouble to find left handed guitars than right handed ones, your controls will be in the wrong places, and you will have to practice ten times as much as anyone else in order to work in a band context.

Heres why:

Right handed guitarist strung right handed: Hey, can you play me an A chord, or a riff in A for the bridge to this track?

You: No, I don't know what an A chord is.

Him - Ok here, let me show you. *plays an A chord*

You - *tries to copy the standard A chord you've just seen* - OH **** EVERYTHINGS UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS MY FIGNERS DONT BEND THAT WAY ****

Which then leads to you spending 15 minutes figuring out an entirely new chord shape, likely much more complex, in order to play a chord that a right handed guitarist, or a left handed guitarist strung correctly, could have played in 15 seconds.

It *WILL* hurt your development as a musician, and if you're just starting, it will likely put you off guitar forever. Its hard enough already to stick with playing guitar, its not an easy thing to learn. Don't make it even harder on yourself by trying to be a maverick with your stringing practices, otherwise you'll find everything ten times as difficult, and vastly screw yourself over in the long AND short terms.


Its also worth considering that guitars are set up from the factory to be strung correctly. It can and WILL screw up your guitars setup and so on if you do this. I can explain exactly how and why if you want me to aswell. I honestly think the best thing is to spend a couple of months playing the guitar right handed.

If at the end of that time you really, REALLY want to be a left handed guitarist, go for it, but buy a left handed guitar first, because intonation and tuning on a right handed guitar strung lefty will be WAY out, and will make everything you play go out of tune. Especially on an acoustic, since on those intonation can't be adjusted.
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Old 05-23-2010, 05:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Odyshape View Post
I recently received an acoustic guitar from my brother. It is stringed for some one right handed however and I am left handed. So I decided I will try learning to play acoustic guitar upside down. Now I want to make this clear this thread isn't about how this is a bad decision and it isn't worth doing and or how I can restring it to be lefty. I simply want to know if anyone on music banter knows of any people who play like this or do so themselves and offer me some of their experience.
Lefties can be divided into three classes:
Those who play left handed with thier guitars strung regular (with heavy gauge strings on top) those who play left-handed guitars but strung right handed or upsided down, and those who are left-handed but choose to play right-handed, the plus side to the last two is that you have more choices when it comes to looking for guitars. Electric guitars are much easier to convert to left handed the acoustics.

Whatever you choose to do, my suggest is doing finger exercises first to get used to it, it will everntually come natural to you after practicing a lot no matter what set-up you choose.

List of musicians who play left handed - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

My favorite "up-side" players are Albert King, D!ck Dale and Elizabeth Cotten.

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Old 05-24-2010, 05:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
Don't do it. Albet King did it, and he's a fine player, but you will hurt your enjoyment and progress on the guitar immensely if you attempt to learn it upside down.

Restring it, or better yet, since you're just starting out, learn to play it righty. I'm left handed myself and I play right handed guitar. I actually found it IMPROVED my progress, because the left hand was handling the trickiest stuff. THe only disadvantage I've found is that my right hand picking, if I'm not practicing it much, can sometimes be outpaced by what my left hand is doing, but lots of right handed players run into the same problem, so I hardly put that down to my reversed hand preference.

Its absolutely NOT worth playing a right handed strung guitar left handed. It can, technically, be done, but it is more trouble to find left handed guitars than right handed ones, your controls will be in the wrong places, and you will have to practice ten times as much as anyone else in order to work in a band context.

Heres why:

Right handed guitarist strung right handed: Hey, can you play me an A chord, or a riff in A for the bridge to this track?

You: No, I don't know what an A chord is.

Him - Ok here, let me show you. *plays an A chord*

You - *tries to copy the standard A chord you've just seen* - OH **** EVERYTHINGS UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS MY FIGNERS DONT BEND THAT WAY ****

Which then leads to you spending 15 minutes figuring out an entirely new chord shape, likely much more complex, in order to play a chord that a right handed guitarist, or a left handed guitarist strung correctly, could have played in 15 seconds.

It *WILL* hurt your development as a musician, and if you're just starting, it will likely put you off guitar forever. Its hard enough already to stick with playing guitar, its not an easy thing to learn. Don't make it even harder on yourself by trying to be a maverick with your stringing practices, otherwise you'll find everything ten times as difficult, and vastly screw yourself over in the long AND short terms.


Its also worth considering that guitars are set up from the factory to be strung correctly. It can and WILL screw up your guitars setup and so on if you do this. I can explain exactly how and why if you want me to aswell. I honestly think the best thing is to spend a couple of months playing the guitar right handed.

If at the end of that time you really, REALLY want to be a left handed guitarist, go for it, but buy a left handed guitar first, because intonation and tuning on a right handed guitar strung lefty will be WAY out, and will make everything you play go out of tune. Especially on an acoustic, since on those intonation can't be adjusted.
It really hasn't been that bad. I genuinely enjoy playing and don't seem to get frustrated as much as I thought I would. I have been looking up positions for chords and have learned 5 or so scales so far and just enjoy playing this way. Strangely enough I have noticed that I have become better are typing since starting, maybe because my fingers are a little more nimble. Btw Neapolitan thanks a lot for listing some artists and everyone else who posted.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odyshape View Post
I recently received an acoustic guitar from my brother. It is stringed for some one right handed however and I am left handed. So I decided I will try learning to play acoustic guitar upside down. Now I want to make this clear this thread isn't about how this is a bad decision and it isn't worth doing and or how I can restring it to be lefty. I simply want to know if anyone on music banter knows of any people who play like this or do so themselves and offer me some of their experience.
i've only ever seen one guy do it. was a friend of my best friend's older brother's friends back in the mid 90s haha. this is actually one of the first times i've thoroughly disagreed with everything GB said also (nothing personal )

it's great if you're ambidextrous and can flip back and forth but it's not really any harder to learn your chords upside down that it is to learn them the traditional way. it might result in odd finger stretches for certain passages though. i remember the guy in question saying it wasn't really any more difficult once you'd practiced to a point of being able to switch chords smoothly, then again he stuck to more singer songwriter styles, nothing too complicated.

the biggest hassle i can think of would be trying to learn more technical covers. learning to strum basic chords shouldn't be an issue but something with more demanding melodic passages might be harder since you would have to reach further around the neck for most accents.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi there,

Seems to me the main problem would be when strumming. The usual way is to start on a down stroke and in most cases, this means the bass notes are sounded first. With the strings being in reverse, each down stroke would now be starting off with the high end first followed by the lower end.

Problem is, quite often when strumming, the route note is sounded first, not always but usually. For example when playing in G, the G note would be heard first, then if we move to a C chord, I ignore the bottom string and the emphasis is on the C note. With the strings upside down, all the right notes would be there but the accent would be on different notes. Interesting and sounds like it might give a good effect, especially for some African and Reggae style music... where a lot of the stuff is almost backwards anyway, the bass lines for sure..

Gordon.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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yeh I do it quite often and i have gotten decent at it, I first had to learn how to play on a left handed guitar before I could do that though
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Some guitars have a reversed headstock where the tuning keys are on the underside instead of on top. I used to have an old Charvette guitar like that and that's exctly how they did it. They put a lefty neck on a right handed body.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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jimi hendrix one of the greatest guitarists in the world started off with his guitar the wrong way round so I think you will be ok but I would reccomend trying to get a guitar the right way round but you will get the same sound out of it.
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