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Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?

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*daylia* 07 May 05 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 May 05 - 08:58 AM
GUEST,Stew 07 May 05 - 11:10 AM
Blackcatter 07 May 05 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 07 May 05 - 12:06 PM
jonm 07 May 05 - 12:36 PM
georgeward 07 May 05 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 07 May 05 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 08 May 05 - 06:03 AM
Tam the man 08 May 05 - 06:28 AM
Mooh 08 May 05 - 06:29 AM
GUEST 08 May 05 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,rhyzla 08 May 05 - 01:01 PM
GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie) 09 May 05 - 10:01 AM
Kim C 09 May 05 - 10:59 AM
PoppaGator 09 May 05 - 11:46 AM
Lowden Jameswright 09 May 05 - 12:28 PM
*daylia* 09 May 05 - 12:36 PM
*daylia* 09 May 05 - 02:09 PM
Blackcatter 09 May 05 - 03:47 PM
s&r 09 May 05 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 09 May 05 - 05:57 PM
s&r 09 May 05 - 06:26 PM
Blackcatter 09 May 05 - 11:44 PM
georgeward 10 May 05 - 12:25 AM
jonm 10 May 05 - 02:01 AM
GUEST 10 May 05 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Richard in Manchester 10 May 05 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 10 May 05 - 08:52 AM
Blackcatter 10 May 05 - 09:34 AM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 09:58 AM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 10 May 05 - 10:10 AM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie) 10 May 05 - 10:33 AM
s&r 10 May 05 - 12:21 PM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 12:23 PM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Richard in Manchester 10 May 05 - 02:34 PM
Blackcatter 10 May 05 - 02:59 PM
Blackcatter 10 May 05 - 03:26 PM
*daylia* 10 May 05 - 03:53 PM
Maxine 10 May 05 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Richard in Manchester 10 May 05 - 04:03 PM
Blackcatter 10 May 05 - 04:08 PM
PoppaGator 11 May 05 - 02:44 PM
Blackcatter 11 May 05 - 02:47 PM
*daylia* 11 May 05 - 04:15 PM
*daylia* 11 May 05 - 05:32 PM
jonm 11 May 05 - 06:07 PM
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Subject: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 07 May 05 - 08:49 AM

Hi all; I'm a piano teacher by profession and a self-taught guitar player. I've taken on a few guitar students only recently (after having my arm twisted by parents for years). I'm really enjoying it, but the call I got last week has left me a bit nervous. I've never taught a leftie before, and I know standard teaching methods, chord diagrams are written for right-handed players.

I'm wondering if any of you more experienced guitar teachers have any tips for teaching a left-handed child how to play the guitar?   He does have a proper left-handed guitar so that won't be a problem *whew*, but I'll need to draw up "mirror image" chord charts etc for him, right? Is there anything else you wouldn't mind sharing that you think I should know?

Thanks, daylia


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 May 05 - 08:58 AM

Don't assume that a "left-handed" child will play left-handed. I'm left-handed, and I play guitar the same way as anybody else. I picked up my instrument the first time, and it felt right that way.

We call people left-handed if they write with the left hand. However, very few people who write left-handed use their left hand to do everything.

According to books I have read, people usually don't know ahead of time what hand they will use to do a task (except for a few tasks, such as writing), and they may not do the same task with the same hand upon repeating it.

So keep an open mind about how the child should play.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Stew
Date: 07 May 05 - 11:10 AM

I wouldn't worry about chord diagrams or tabs. I play lefty and if you analyze the way tabs (and chords)are written, its more like they were laid out for lefties. Good luck.
Stew


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 07 May 05 - 11:34 AM

There is any number of websites that show chords for left handed guitar playing. Also various tips, etc. The problem might be you seeing if the student's hand is in the correct position, since it will look a bit odd to you.

But a lot of people who are southpaws play the guitar "right handed" because if you plan to mostly strum and not do a lot of finger picking, your most dexterous hand will be the one doing the chording.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 07 May 05 - 12:06 PM

If they are total beginners, persuade them to play " orthodox" style. There is no left or right-handed guitar style , as both hands are needed! Ever seen a "left-handed" piano?


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: jonm
Date: 07 May 05 - 12:36 PM

The determinant for left/right is the broom-handle test. Pick it up and give it your best Angus Young and that will be the way you feel most comfortable playing.

If you change your way of teaching for a lefty, it will affect their way of learning. Teach them from converted chord charts and it will slow them up reading normal charts in future. Sitting opposite and mirror-imaging is about all you should do. Most left handers are already more practised at adapting simple technology (scissors, rulers etc.).


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: georgeward
Date: 07 May 05 - 01:17 PM

I'm a lefty who plays right-handed. Didn't start out that way. I coverted my own guitar to a left-handed one, but every decent guitar I ever saw was right-handed. No one in my limited world knew that guitars were built left-handed. So I switched. I've played that way for fifty years.

I agree with everything above *except* tunesmith. After fifty years, playing under stress (as in performance) is still limiting. My body and brain want to revert to initiating behavior with my dominant hand.

No, I've never seen a left-handed piano. Wish I had. I've never seen a left-handed piano accordian either, and I fiddle right-handed. The same stress problems show up on them all. I can make them all work (good thing -it's my job), but it is a labor and a drawback. And unnecessary in a world that does, in fact, include left-handed guitars.

The only reason not to play left-handed is that you can't play everyone else's guitar. For some, that's reason enough. For others, it is a small sacrifice.

I'm most comfortable on english concertina and whistle...totally even-handed instruments.

Here's a variation on jonm's test. Hand the kid a jar with a screw cap. The hand that initiates the removal of the cap - grabs it and turns it, while the other hand holds - is the hand that will initiate (pluck) most comfortably. Probably...

But also keep in mind what leeneia says. Every lefty doesn't naturally pick up a guitar left-handed. So that's your next test. If the kid already has a LH guitar, that tells you everything you need to know (unless it was gotten for him by some anxious, well-meaning person who didn't let him make his own choice).

And learning to play is just that...learning. I've had students switch (both ways) after a few weeks or months. As a player, you are learning as much about yourself as you are about music and about your instrument. It is a process.

As a teacher, don't sweat it AT ALL. Play and teach your way. There is nothing you need do except purge "left hand" and "right hand" from your vocabulary. "Fingerboard hand" and "picking hand" work fine.

If you enjoy teaching him and if he enjoys you and the guitar, believe me, in a few weeks
you won't even think about it.

Have fun, - George


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 07 May 05 - 02:52 PM

The broom-handle test is nonsense!!! When somebody picks up a guitar for the first time, what do they do? What can they do? They can't slap down a chord or rip off a scale BUT they can run their "dominant" thumb - or whatever - over the strings!! Left-handed people will want to do that with their left-hand BUT - like-wise - a left-handed person when sat infront of keyboard/piano for the first time will also favour their left hand BUT nobody goes around asking for a left-handed piano i.e. one with the highest notes on the left. The world is set up for "orthodox" players - that is a fact! However, if a pupil has already made some progress playing "left-handed", I wouldn't - as a guitar teacher - try to make them play "orthodox".


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 08 May 05 - 06:03 AM

Reading "georgeward", I'll say again! The guitar is a 2-handed instrument! Infact, I would go as far as to say that - probably - learning the guitar "left" or "right" handed is equally valid - for anyone. But your feeling of "initiating" things with your dominant hand doesn't make sense with a 2-handed instrument e.g. when you strum a chord - playing "orthodox" style - it's your LEFT hand which initiates proceedings!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Tam the man
Date: 08 May 05 - 06:28 AM

I used to Play Gutiar Right handed, unitil I tried to finger pick, then I swaped over and now I find it easer to play Left handed, and I am Left handed anyway, so whatever makes them fell comfortable with it doesn't really matter, It is not a crime to play gutiars left handed.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Mooh
Date: 08 May 05 - 06:29 AM

From a teaching perspective, lefties are a minor pain. I certainly suggest that newcomers to the instrument at least attempt to play as a conventional righthander since that provides much more material and gear, fewer restrictions later. If for whatever reason the student (or their family) insist on lefthandedness, just do what you usually do but with the mirror image points others have mentioned.

For the record, I've never found the "test" mentioned above by others to indicate much since the uninformed, uneducated and inexperienced potential student of either hand will show inconsistent results.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 05 - 12:06 PM

Strangely there are left handed pianos like this one and left handed most things, In the USA they drive left handed cars.
I'm not sure that piano teaching makes you a good guitar teacher. Some skills are transferable, but some concepts don't - for instance a B scale on a piano is awkward, but on a guitar it's the same fingering as any other scale. Position with a guitar is critical and not always easy to achieve. Go and talk to a skilled guitar teacher (we all teach guitar on Mudcat)


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,rhyzla
Date: 08 May 05 - 01:01 PM

Just to throw my experience in to the pot!!

I play a right-handed guitar left handed, I.e the chord charts are the same but my hand comes from the opposite side of the neck.

I am currently teaching 2 11 year old boys, but try not to demonstrate too much, because it is too confusing, but obviously I understand righthand fingering so I can help them. I'm not sure how it would work if I teach a leftie, as he/she will be mirror image of what I play!!

If they are total beginners, it is worth checking to see if they 'have' to play leftie in the first place.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie)
Date: 09 May 05 - 10:01 AM

I know some wicked lefty players who play a right hand strung guitar upside down picking and strumming upward with their left hand. Patrick Gillis of Beolach comes to mind.
   http://www.beolach.com/photos/2005/ecma05/postparty3.jpg


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Kim C
Date: 09 May 05 - 10:59 AM

Didn't Hendrix play upside-down?

Anyhow, as someone has already suggested, you need both hands, and both hands have to do some fairly complicated things. It isn't as if either hand requires more coordination than the other on the guitar. I would say that I'm EXTREMELY right-handed, but playing the violin has given me better coordination and dexterity with my left hand. It has to do the hardest work anyway! (at least I think so)


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 09 May 05 - 11:46 AM

I used to think Henrix played "upside down and backwards," and have been guilty of perpetuating this mistaken belief by stating it more than once in Mudcat posts.

However, I recently watched the "Woodstock" movie closely enough to observe that Jimi played lefthanded with the guitar strung in the opposite manner from "normal," so his fingering was an exact mirror-image of a conventional right-handed player. (I was fortunate enough to see closeups of a passage where he was playing simple first-position C/F/G chords ~ so much of his playing was either more complex or made up of single-string runs that not many of his right-hand positions are so easily recognized.)

One thing that may have helped perpetuate the "upside-down" myth is that Jimi played "regular" guitars (Stratocasters, mostly) rather than custom-built lefty models, so the instument always looked upside-down, with the cutaway on the top side instead of the bottom.

Now, Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten, former housekeeper to the Seeger family and fingerpicker extraordinare, composer of "Freight Train" and "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie" ~ she was a true upside-down-and-backward lefthanded player, playing her alternating bass with index and/or middle fingers and the treble/melody part with her thumb. Amazing.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 09 May 05 - 12:28 PM

My son is left-handed, and wanted me to teach him guitar. A friend told me to suggest to him he played right-handed - saying he wouldn't regret it. I was very sceptical; I hate not going with natural instincts. One of the reasons my friend gave was that he'd find it a distinct disadvantage not being able to pick up and play his friends' guitars. I thought that reason pretty thin I must admit.

I passed on the advice to my son, but told him to make up his own mind. I said I'd buy him a left-handed guitar. He tried playing my guitar and found it extremely awkward, and I felt guilty at even suggesting it to him. He stuck with it though, and within 2 weeks he was starting to fly. He's an excellent guitarist now, with two great hands.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 May 05 - 12:36 PM

WOW thank you so much for all the input, folks! Lots to absorb here, and not too much time to do it. He has his first lesson in about 6 hours....

So keep an open mind about how the child should play.

Yes, this is so important. Apparently the child has tried both ways, and likes the left-handed stringing better. So that won't be an issue. I'll just have to get accustomed working with someone who's fingers look 'upside down', and to mirror-image tab.


My left-handed son learned to play by flipping my right-handed guitar upside down and backwards. He does amazingly well that way, and he just gets better all the time! It was confusing for me when I tried to help him though, because I learned to play mostly by ear and by watching other people's fingers for position etc. Not much of a help with him!

And because the new 11yr old leftie student plays a guitar strung 'properly' for a left-handed player, I still can't quite picture how it's going to look ....

My son was encouraged to 'switch over' by a (good) guitar teacher a few years ago, because playing that way does limit one's technique in certain respects (as he's discovered). But the teacher was open-minded enough to understand that he'd already been playing 'his way' for a few years and really just wanted to play, not to end up like Andre Segovia.

I appreciate teachers - and teaching - like that!

He says he didn't want to switch over because not only would he have had to start again from scratch, but he finds strumming with the beat is much easier with his dominant hand. I've seen this online too, from other lefties: There's no rhythm in my right hand.

I find that so interesting! I know that on piano or drums both hands are 'equally' trained for rhythm. And whether the person is right or left handed, both 'learn' to produce it too!

ANd yes, I've heard that Jimi Hendrix - and also Paul McCartney and Kurt Cobain - are lefties who play "upside down and backwards" too. I see there's some debate about this though!

I've found a few sites with left-handed tab etc - thanks for the tip.

I'm not sure that piano teaching makes you a good guitar teacher

Well, that's why I started this thread! Musical theory, structure, rhythm, artistry etc are the same for any instrument, but the physical techniques, skills and requirements are much different. I just want to make sure this child starts out by developing habits that will serve him best and limit him least as a guitarist in the future - and loving it more and more every minute too!

So thanks again, everyone, for all the input! I have 6 hours to absorb it all before I see him tonight for his first lesson... and OH we're to do just great! Oh yes we are, yes we are, yes we are... cuz I can think upside and backwards ... oh yes I can yes I can yes I can ... cuz musicians can do ANYTHING!   

;~)


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 May 05 - 02:09 PM

PS It is easier to learn scales on guitar than piano. The finger patterns don't change as they are transposed up or down the fretboard, wheras on piano there are only a few scales that use the same fingering.

On piano it's easier to "see" the key signatures though (the sharps and flats). They're all laid out in black in white, right before your eyes!

But I disagree with GUEST about the B scale on the piano. It's one of the simplest for students to manage on the piano, because all 5 black keys are used. First, this leaves only two possible choices for placing the thumb comfortably. Happily, those are the 'correct' ones - on the two remaining white keys. (The thumb is used on the white keys wherever possible on the piano. It's so short the black keys are an awkward reach). And second, when you try the B scale hands together you find the thumbs play at the same time - much easier than the alternating required with the white-key scales.

Sorry if that makes sense only to piano players - on a guitar thread no less! - but hey, just had to say it!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 09 May 05 - 03:47 PM

I believe that most lefty guitar players who have used right hand guitars just flip the giutar over to the left and re-string it so that the strings are back to "right-side" up. This would make it exactly like a lefty guitar.

Hendrix said for electric guitars, he liked the knows and switches on the top side of the frame instead of the bottom. Of course that's what he was used to, as well.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: s&r
Date: 09 May 05 - 05:21 PM

You can only flip the guitar if you reslant the bridge - if you don't it plays progressively more out of tune as you move up the neck.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 May 05 - 05:57 PM

Some people still haven't got the idea. The lefthand/righthand thing only applies when you are using only one hand/arm e.g. writing, tennis( although you do need your other arm to throw the ball in the air). When both hands/arms are used, one can't talk about left or right hand. BTW, all violinists - in orchestras - play "right handed". Are there any "left-handed" violinists?


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: s&r
Date: 09 May 05 - 06:26 PM

There's an interesting situation with brass instruments: the keys are operated with the right hand, except for the French Horn, which is operated with the left hand, the right hand being stuffed down the horn.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 09 May 05 - 11:44 PM

Tunesmith - please realize that some people - both rightys & leftys have more dexterity in one hand than the other. Depending on who you play you might want to use that more dexterous hand to work the more complicated parts.

And I know some one who's left hand was lost in an accident and he learned to play left-handed guitar because he can use a hook thing on his left hand to strum and pick.

As for the lack of other lefty instruments - how do you know there aren't lefty violins, etc. out there? Just because nearly everyone who is left handed seems to bow to the wishes of the majority of humans doesn't mean that ALL lefties do.

I place washtub bass and I pick the string with my left hand and control the tone (tension) with my right. I believe that is opposite what most "legitimate" bass players do.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: georgeward
Date: 10 May 05 - 12:25 AM

Tunesmith, I wasn't going to reply. But, honestly, I believe you reflect the right-handed bias that runs deep in many cultures. I hope you can accept that I say that without malice. I really don't trust e-mail where tone matters.

There are left-handed violinists. Mostly, they are fiddlers or others who don't have to adapt to orchestral playing. I worked with such a fellow for years. Fortunately for him, he was also an instrument builder and repairman, so reworking the violin was not a big worry for him. He also played a custom LH martin D-28. Fortunately for the rest of the band, he was the kind of player you can absolutely always count on.

Come to that, look at some of the old photos of groups of irish uillean pipers from the turn of the last century. You'll find the occasional left-handed pipe set. Pretty weird-lookin', even to me. I play winds right-handed BTW. Never seen a LH clarinet or sax.
But there are whistle players and fifers who reverse hands.

If one wants to play violin in an orchestra one has no choice, given the way orchestras operate. And, yes, some naturally left-handed people adapt very well to right-handed playing. It is just that others do not, and that in many situations there is no reason to pressure them to do so.

But turn it around. If it really makes no difference which way you play an instrument on which both hands are necessary, borrow a left-handed version of your favorite instrument and play it for a while. Shouldn't be that hard, should it ?

And please (!!!), if you ever find a left-handed ice cream scoop (the kind with a thumb lever on the side that opearates a scraper inside the bowl) let me know.

Yours in diversity,   - George


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: jonm
Date: 10 May 05 - 02:01 AM

Hendrix, McCartney and Cobain all played right-handed instruments restrung. Ditto Albert Collins. The only true upside-down left-hander I know of was Elizabeth Cotten.

When I first played a mandolin, I turned a right-hander over and disovered that standard mando tuning (GDAE) becomes the lowest four strings on a guitar (EADG) so I suddenly knew all the chords.

It is possible to play a right-handed fiddle left handed if you hold it nearer to vertical than normal, or play it on your knee.

Very very few right handers appreciate how many of today's everyday objects are biased. Left handers struggle to write neatly without the hand smudging their script. Fountain pens require special nibs to allow them to "push" across the paper. Left handed operation of scissors pushes the blades apart. And the numbers on a ruler go left to right, so your hand obscures the measurement.

In my case, the rhythm is very strongly in my left hand, therefore I pick with it. It's also the hand I use for melody on an upside-down piano accordion (the bass tends to follow). At least the English concertina is even-handed!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 05 - 03:41 AM

I've already said that it, probably, doesn't make any difference which "way round" a person plays the guitar! Put the time in and you will get somewhere! However, the world is set up for "orthodox" players. Btw, Django played orthodox but when his left hand was damaged, why didn't he simply(!) re-learn " left-handed "? On record, Django only ever used a plectrum, and the damage to his hand would not have hindered his abilty to use a plec.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Richard in Manchester
Date: 10 May 05 - 05:22 AM

Tunesmith, with respect, it's you that doesn't get it. It is complete nonsense to suggest that left- and right-handedness only applies when carrying out an activity using one hand. To name but three sporting examples: golf, baseball and cricket all require the players to hold the club or bat with two hands, and in all three sports you will find left-handed players who address the ball the opposite way round from their right-handed counterparts.

The mistake that you and others make on this subject is to forget that 'handedness' is the consequence of brain characteristics; it is not simply a question of one hand being stronger or more dextrous than the other. For complex brain/hand co-ordination, as when playing an instrument, the brain's ability to work in its own natural way is far more important than mere strength and dexterity in the hands. The dominant side of the brain is the 'controlling' side (remembering that the right brain controls left hand and vice versa), so a person with right-brain dominance will tend naturally to use their left hand for 'controlling' motor movements - like strumming the strings on a guitar.

The fact that left-handed violinists are almost never seen is simply the result of centuries of repressive and conservative (small 'c') attitudes in music schooling. Remember that left-handedness was considered diabolical until not so long ago, and left-handed schoolchildren were still being forced to write right-handed well into the 2nd half of the 20th century. (I know, it happened to a class-mate of mine in 1972!). The guitar, being much more an instrument of the common people, was less afflicted by such attitudes.

The piano comparison doesn't work; you aren't comparing like with like. Both hands carry out the same action, pressing down on the keys; there is no 'controlling' action, where one hand produces the sound (as with bowing, plucking or strumming strings) which the other hand then modifies (fretting strings). The dominance of one brain/hand side or the other is therefore less significant, and whether you are right- or left-handed makes less difference to your ability to play. You can even play the piano with the hands crossed -over each other. Try that on a guitar or fiddle!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 10 May 05 - 08:52 AM

O dear!! How the brain can deceive!! Who would like to say, when playing the guitar, in the orthodox position, which hand has the more complex job? And in answer to our friend with his cricket and golf input, surely,in those sports one hand/arm is clearly dominant!! But which is the dominant hand/arm in guitar playing? I would say that the "dominance" keeps switching from one hand to and next, depending on the particular demands of the music being played. To refer back to one of my earlier postings, this left-hand/right-hand "thing" stems from ones initial contact with instrument. It may seem more natural for left-handed people to hold the guitar in a "left-handed" position, but, then again, it feels alot more natural for a child to "doggy -paddle" the first time in the swimming-pool, rather than attempt the more complex " crawl"!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 May 05 - 09:34 AM

You are right, of course that it depends on how you play the guitar as to which hand (fingers actually) is doing the more complicated work.

Unfortunately your comparison with swimming doesn't exactly hold up. Apparently, using your logic of getting lefties to use a righty guitar from the get go, you also might advocate not letting kids doggie-paddle, since they're wasting time when they should be moving directly to the crawl. I would think it's better to let new swimmers and new guitarists feel as comfortable when they're getting their "feet wet." I wonder how many lefties have been discouraged from playing an instrument merely because they never had the option to play one the way they feel is natural.

The only real argument I see for righty guitar playing is that there are more of them out there, so if you don't bring your own to an event you can always borrow someone elses. Oddly enough, I don't share my tin whistles with anyone and I always bring them along if I think there's a chance that I'll get to play. If I can do that, why can guitarists? If fact there's one peorson who used to come to song circles and seemed to generally forget his guitar. He wasn't exactly liked since he was often imposing on other players.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 09:58 AM

The discussion re 'handedness' is intriguing!

The dominant side of the brain is the 'controlling' side (remembering that the right brain controls left hand and vice versa), so a person with right-brain dominance will tend naturally to use their left hand for 'controlling' motor movements - like strumming the strings on a guitar.

Yes, and the left brain (in a left-handed person) is said to be more 'intuitive', as opposed to the right brain's penchant for 'logical reasoning'. Is rhythm more of an intuitive than a logical thing? I think so!

Maybe that's why so many lefties say that 'feeling the beat' and strumming along with it is easier for the right hand, while figuring out (and memorizing) frets and fingering would be easier for the left. And vice versa in a right-handed person.

But which is the dominant hand/arm in guitar playing? I would say that the "dominance" keeps switching from one hand to and next, depending on the particular demands of the music being played. To refer back to one of my earlier postings, this left-hand/right-hand "thing" stems from ones initial contact with instrument.

I agree. Even if it's easier for the dominant hand to 'get the beat' at first, with patience and practice both hands DO 'get it' - and eventually, very complicated rhythms too -on the piano. ANd even on guitar, the fretting hand is trained to make it's moves while 'keeping the beat' too.

I tried flipping the guitar over and strumming with my left hand last night ... oooo, so slow and clumsy! If I really needed to, I could re-train it pretty quickly, I think. But fretting with my other hand? That would NOT be something I'd care to undertake! (For me, the left hand on guitar has the more difficult job)

Lesson last night went very well! Didn't have time to do much more than show him how to tune it and proper position for holding the instrument, picking and working the frets - but I think it's gonna work out just fine. It's ME that has trouble seeing "mirror-image", not him! So I may not bother with the left-handed charts and tabs. It's better to be able to read regular guitar music anyway. There's so little 'left-handed' music available.

I think my son has one advantage over this kid though. He could walk into a music store and buy any instrument he wanted. Lefties who learn on lefty guitars are usually stuck with 1 or 2 choices (if any) - from the "bottom end" too. Maybe that makes up for not being able to manage some those 12th-fret chords...

Thanks again for the tips and for the interesting discussion!

daylia


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 10:07 AM

Yes, and the left brain (in a left-handed person) is said to be more 'intuitive', as opposed to the right brain's penchant for 'logical reasoning'. Is rhythm more of an intuitive than a logical thing? I think so!

Maybe that's why so many lefties say that 'feeling the beat' and strumming along with it is easier for the right hand, while figuring out (and memorizing) frets and fingering would be easier for the left. And vice versa in a right-handed person.


I messed that up, didn't I!?!   AARRRGGHHHH geez you'd think I'd have left and right figured out after almost half a century on the planet    AAARRRGGGHHHH   shoulda been born a southpaw! THEY usually get it mastered, at least!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 10 May 05 - 10:10 AM

Here's a novel ( I think it is! ) proposal! If, when starting to learn the guitar, a person could decide what style they are going to commit themselves to; then a deliberate choice could be made as to which way round they hold their instrument. For example, it is often said, that, when playing flamenco guitar, the strummimg/picking hand/arm has more demands placed upon it that the fretting hand; therefore, it would seem logical for a beginning flamenco guitarist to use his dominant hand for strumming. Does this make sense? And can this "test" be applied to other styles?


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 10:16 AM

PS It must be the piano's fault! Both hands were trained exactly the same way from a very tender age. Maybe that's why I never 'saw' much difference between left and right! Honestly, I was almost an adult before I figured out there really was a difference between my right and left gloves.

It's the piano's fault, I say!! So do yourselves a favour - forget piano and learn guitar, everyone!!!!

;~)


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Sandy Mc Lean (lost cookie)
Date: 10 May 05 - 10:33 AM

Golfers, baseball players , and hockey players hit or shoot from a right or left stance , but it seems to have little to do with the dominant hand. Some all time greats like Mickey Mantle and Gordie Howe could play either way. I wonder why this dosen't follow with a guitar. A right handed person who prefers to swing a left handed golf club should prefer to hold a guitar left handed as well but this dosen't seem to be the case.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: s&r
Date: 10 May 05 - 12:21 PM

I seem to remember that hockey sticks are right handed and 'backsticks' are forbidden (real hockey not ice hockey)

stu


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 12:23 PM

Looks like Jimi Hendrix DID play right-handed guitar "upside down and backwards".

But look look Ma, there IS a difference!   

Paul McCartney and Kurt Cobain .

Guess it's not over till the fat string sings....


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 12:54 PM

...And learning to play is just that...learning. I've had students switch (both ways) after a few weeks or months. As a player, you are learning as much about yourself as you are about music and about your instrument. It is a process.

So true!

As a teacher, don't sweat it AT ALL. Play and teach your way. There is nothing you need do except purge "left hand" and "right hand" from your vocabulary. "Fingerboard hand" and "picking hand" work fine.   If you enjoy teaching him and if he enjoys you and the guitar, believe me, in a few weeks you won't even think about it.

Have fun, - George


George I didn't see this till now... thank you so much!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Richard in Manchester
Date: 10 May 05 - 02:34 PM

"For example, it is often said, that, when playing flamenco guitar, the strummimg/picking hand/arm has more demands placed upon it that the fretting hand; therefore, it would seem logical for a beginning flamenco guitarist to use his dominant hand for strumming. Does this make sense?"

Yes and no. Of course it's logical for a flamenco guitarist to use his dominant hand for strumming. Why would he do otherwise? But the strumming/picking hand does not have "more demands placed on it", just different demands. They're doing two different jobs. (I'm conscious of an earlier post that said strumming is intuitive. So by this reasoning, our hypothetical flamenco player is behaving both logically and intuitively, which is self-contradictory and therefore illogical. Thank you Mr Spock.)

There are plenty of lefty guitars around. True, if you look no further than a regular high street music store - in the UK at least - you're unlikely to find anything very interesting, or even playable. But if you're prepared to spend a bit of time searching out what you really want, it's out there somewhere. And the thrill of the chase...


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 May 05 - 02:59 PM

Left Handed Guitars


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 May 05 - 03:26 PM

By the way - the company above lists 63 acoustic lefty guitars and 46 electric lefty guitars. I daresay that's enough for most people.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 May 05 - 03:53 PM

Wow! Here's hoping a few more will find their way to my "cottage country" locale then!


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Maxine
Date: 10 May 05 - 04:00 PM

I am left handed, throw a ball left handed, eat left handed, need left handed golf clubs (only Crazy Golf you understand) and had terrible problems when my mum taught me to knit! Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that, once I picked up the guitar initially and was shown how to play a C, that was it, it never occurred to me to play a C any other way. Sometimes I think it would have been easier for me if I could pick with my left hand but I don't know for sure cos I've never tried and I don't intend to. I think people, especially children, just absorb what is shown to them and accept it for what it is.
I don't know if that helps but I hope so.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: GUEST,Richard in Manchester
Date: 10 May 05 - 04:03 PM

By the way, I've got a couple of lefty guitars for sale. A small body John Hullah (00028-type) from 1992, and a Telecaster, Japanese '62 reissue. Anyone want them? (Um - is this thread creep?)


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 May 05 - 04:08 PM

is this thread creep?)

1) Probably not

2) Desn't matter - tread creep is generally fine around here except with the anal/ridged thing types (mostly rightys...)





































hee hee hee


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 May 05 - 02:44 PM

RE: *daylia*'s post yesterday at 10 May 05 - 12:23 PM:

Just because some journalist wrote the words "upside down and backwards" in regard to Jimi Hendrix does not make it true. It just shows how this myth continues to be perpetuated ~ I bought into it for years until I got a close-up look with my own eyes. Jimi played standard (i.e., "right-handed") Stratocasters, so from a distance his guitar always looked upside-down, but he strung it as a "left-handed" guitar so that he could play more-or-less normally ("right-side-up"), his hands making an exact mirror-image of how a righty would play.

(I assume that he got the necessary adjustments made to the saddles of his instruments. Anyone who could afford to set his guitar on fire could certainly pay for some basic luthiery!)

I wasn't able to access the Paul McCartney link, but as I recall he usually played a Vox bass guitar with a completely symmerical "violin" body, which wouldn't look upside-down regardless of how he held it or strung it ~ in marked contract to the asymmetrically slanted body and headstock of Jimi's Fenders. I'm pretty sure that Paul strings his guitars and basses left-handed.

The picture of Kurt Cobain, of course, shows a made-for-lefties acoustic guitar with a cutaway.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 11 May 05 - 02:47 PM

You're right PoppaGator. Daylia, feel free to read and serious biographical book on Hendrix for the real answer.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 May 05 - 04:15 PM

Ok! Any recommendations for such a book out there? (not that it's really worth losing sleep over or anything    ;~)

The white Strat pictured at the link DOES have the "skinny strings up" though! I couldn't find a clear enough picture of Jimi actually playing his guitar to be sure.

The guitar Paul's playing looks a lot like Kurt's, including the cutaway style and "fat strings up"!   Makes an eyecatching contrast to the righty playing exactly the same style of guitar beside him. Hey, maybe THAT'S one reason why the Beatles were so successful. Lefty Paul made them look "different" (as well as cute).


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: *daylia*
Date: 11 May 05 - 05:32 PM

Clear enough. He's even changing a string (or something?)

So's this one.

Y'know, I'm just shocked at CNN! Maybe they could write a story about how Jimi played left-handed drums, too.


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Subject: RE: Tips for teaching a lefty guitar?
From: jonm
Date: 11 May 05 - 06:07 PM

The ex-Hendrix guitar in the earlier picture was, if I recall an article in a magazine, given to a fellow musician. Hence it would have been restrung right-handed for him to play.


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