Have you reached the point where you think that learning to play the guitar as a lefty is limiting your performance? Today, we’ll discuss left-handed guitar players’ advantages and what scientists say.
People who play the guitar tend to be fascinating and different from other fields; many are left-handed. Recent research suggests that 10% of guitarists are left-handed, which is a large percentage considering that only 5% of the population is left-handed. This indicates the prevalence of left-handed guitarists is higher than that of the overall population by a factor of two.
Playing the guitar well demands excellent hand-eye coordination, and some have theorized that lefties have an inherent advantage in this area. In addition, left-handed guitarists have a distinct advantage in generating certain tonal qualities. For whatever reason, left-handed guitarists are a formidable musical force, so if you’re a lefty and have been thinking about learning guitar, know that you’re not alone.
So, in what follows, we’ll talk about the advantages left-handed guitarists have and whether it’s a preferable option.
Do Left-Handed Guitar Players Have An Advantage?
Yes, if you’re a left-handed guitarist, you have many advantages. The most significant advantage is the ability to mirror video lessons online or in real life. This visual comfort allows you to reproduce the lessons in a much more efficient way as opposed to being right-handed.
Life may open up for you in surprising ways once you master the left-handed guitar. It’s essential to keep your shoulders down, neck loose, arms at your sides, and fingers relaxed. Position your finger just behind the fret to get the finest sound. The more you play, the more at ease you’ll feel with the fretted arms and strumming skills.
If you play guitar but are left-handed, you can quickly advance your skills by switching to a left-handed guitar. You may learn guitar or bass from the convenience of your own home with the help of Fender Play’s portable video lessons. The new songbook from Fender includes some simple tunes that even a beginner can learn to play.
Certainly, during his peak, Jimmy Hendrix was the most famous left-handed guitarist in history. His signature flip-style playing on a Fender Stratocaster guitar has become an icon. Despite the guitar’s popularity, only 10% of guitarists are left-handed. Like in every other field, right-handed people are overwhelmingly overrepresented among guitarists.
It would help if you had more talent for playing the guitar with your left hand. It is possible to play just as well and enjoyably on a left-handed guitar as on a right-handed one. For obvious reasons, left-handed guitars sell less quickly than their right-handed counterparts. Left-handed guitars are less likely to be regularly updated or improved because large, established brands have multiple product lines and ranges.
The production of left-handed guitars is more labour-intensive and costly; hence they fetch a higher price. Nevertheless, there are still left-handed guitarists who have overcome the obstacles and learned to play proficiently with their left hand.
It’s feasible and widespread for left-handed people to play musical instruments. Furthermore, left-handed guitar players can be just as entertaining as right-handed ones, and the instruments are perfect for either style.
- Good Investment
The value of a southpaw guitar you’ve managed to acquire and preserve will rise steadily over time. Many of the most expensive guitars ever sold have been played by left-handed players. A right-hander is no different in this regard. However, your guitar is an excellent investment because left-handed guitars are uncommon.
Just compare the cost of a right-handed Fender Strat of the same vintage to that of a lefty. Left-handed guitars are becoming increasingly rare; even though they were both somewhat expensive when they were first produced, the left-handed guitar is now worth far more.
When your fingers become too arthritic to make sense of a fretboard in retirement, the money you’re putting down as a hobby now could be a welcome financial cushion.
- Less Second-Hand Competition
In contrast, there will be far less competition when bidding on a used item on an online auction site. You might be the only one placing a bid, making the price you pay a steal.
You can often buy a high-quality left-handed guitar for far less than its right-handed counterpart. However, as we’ve seen, scarcity can significantly boost lefty guitars’ value. However, this is only sometimes the case, especially if the guitar you have your eye on has a high demand.
- Learning From A Teacher Is Easier
Right-handed guitarists need to turn things horizontally when picking up techniques from lefties mentally. Except for those who are left-handed! If you’re learning guitar as a lefty, having private lessons in person or via video can help you because you’re essentially staring at a mirror copy of the guitar you’re playing.
If you sit across from your guitar teacher, you’ll be able to “mirror” each other, making it simple to pick up new techniques. If you are left thinking about becoming a guitar teacher, you will reap the same benefits. As far as the benefits of playing guitar with a left hand go, this is a major one. So, don’t worry; you’re in good hands, and picking up the guitar should be easier because you’re left-handed.
- Nobody Can Play Your Guitar
You just got a fantastic new guitar, and the drummer in your band is itching to try it out during rehearsal. Finally, you give in, and he turns up the volume to 11, dancing around like a cat high on catnip. Unfortunately, in his joy, he clumsily becomes tangled in a web of wires and cables and accidentally slams your headstock into the wall.
After a brief conversation, you depart the group with a broken axe and potentially a criminal record. That’s an extreme case, of course. On the plus side, being a lefty will prevent your less-than-respectful friends from ever getting their grubby mitts on your guitars.
- You Have A Killer Stage Presence
For a moment, let’s think about how things seem since symmetry is universally admired. Having a left-handed guitarist or bassist creates great balance on stage. Onstage banter between guitarists and bassists always looks great.
If two right-handers face off in a solo showdown, they will inevitably end up playing in each other’s areas since they cannot avoid standing on top of one another. However, if you have a right- and left-hander, you can take a rock god posture side by side is sweet. Having a left-handed guitarist in the band increases the chances of getting noticed.
- Better Condition Guitars
Twelve percent or thereabouts of the global population is reportedly left-handed. As for how many have a standard style of guitar playing. Paul Reed Smith estimates that we constitute little more than 0.5 percent of the world’s guitarists.
Remember that many lefties will buy their guitars online since they know that brick-and-mortar retailers will only have a limited selection of southpaw models. Therefore, any instrument you discover in stock should be pristine, having seen very little use.
- Dominant Hand
Both hands are required for playing the guitar, but left-handed guitarists have an advantage in technique. Mark Knopfler, a lefty who plays guitar right-handed, is a prime example of this with his distinctive vibrato. Truth be said, the most skill is required in the picking hand.
Guitar playing calls for using both hands, with the fretting hand taking on the more complex tasks. Therefore, some skills and methods work better when a lefty uses a right hand. The fretting hand of the two must possess the skill to fret notes cleanly and the power and flexibility to hold down complicated chord shapes, often for extended periods.
The fretting hand may have its advocates, but the picking hand must meet higher standards of time and accuracy if the guitarist is to make significant progress in playing the guitar. It’s the same with time, which is the quickest method to distinguish a beginner guitarist from a seasoned one. The selecting hand is nearly totally responsible for an excellent timing sense.
- Limited Guitars Options
This may have held in the past, but not anymore. Left-handed people may get their hands on a guitar more readily these days. Major brands such as Fender, Gibson, Taylor, PRS, and many more all make instruments for lefties.
Even though you may be limited in what you can try before you buy if you go to a brick-and-mortar music store (most of which only stock left-handed instruments at a rate of about 10%). It is easier to make a wise purchase after playing the guitar first, thanks to online resources like customer reviews and videos on sites like Youtube. However, if you have access to a guitar, you should start there.
- Guitars Cost Extra For Lefties
There will be a price increase. It will help if you put aside cash to buy a better guitar and learn to play it with your dominant hand. Left-handed guitars are more expensive than right-handed ones, though the price gap is closing.
It’s not that guitar companies are biased against us; rather, the number of left-handed guitars produced roughly tracks with the number of left-handed persons in the world, which, according to the most recent estimates, is around 10%.
When the production of a good is scaled back due to falling demand, it inevitably increases in price. Some guitar parts, such as the inline tuners, bridge, tailpiece, and pickguard, need to be produced in smaller quantities due to their specialized nature.
Companies that produce guitars must include these and the expense of retooling in their production budgets. Although the exact percentage varies, the average premium is around 10%.
- Quality Control
Less attention is paid to quality control, and the number of left-handed guitars available for sale is much lower than that of right-handed guitars. Jimi Hendrix was a lefty who notably played right-handed guitar. Because they were uncommon and had to be explicitly ordered, left-handed guitars were more expensive back then.
Because of fewer orders, Hendrix said left-handed guitars were of inferior quality than their right-handed counterparts. While such may have been the case in the ’60s, with the development of technology, there is currently minimal distinction between left- and right-handed guitars, especially at the lower and middle end of the market.
It’s best that Hendrix used the guitar with his right hand. Because of the extra weight of the bass strings, most guitars have a slanted bridge and pickups to compensate, but since he cycled through guitars so quickly (either by breaking them or pawning them), keeping a steady supply of left-handed guitars would have been problematic.
- Learning More Difficult
All the best guitar instruction materials are written for right-handed guitarists; therefore, you should switch hands and learn to play that way. However, even while right-handed guitarists have a leg up when it comes to using chord charts and scale diagrams, this is hardly cause to switch hands. But you may find left-handed versions of chords and scale diagrams online now.
Is Left-Handed Guitar Playing Preferred?
When it comes strictly to techniques, both are correct. Some musicians claim that left-handedness makes it simpler to execute specific chords and techniques, while others insist that right-handedness is the more natural choice. Ultimately, it’s up to the guitarist to select which hand works best for them.
The process of mastering the guitar is both rewarding and challenging. Whether you play guitar left- or right-handed, you could be hurting your chances of making it as a musician. Mark Knopfler and Duane Allman are just two of many well-known left-handed guitarists who switch to right-handed playing on the guitar.
Therefore, it is only sometimes necessary to do what everyone else does, as this can make the game more challenging. Since it is the initial hand used to play the guitar, a strumming hand is the most challenging instrument to learn.
It would help if you settled on whether you’re a right- or left-handed player. The proliferation of left-handed guitars is a direct result of the internet, which has shrunk the world and increased the variety of instruments available to everyone of any age. Southpaw guitars fetch a modest premium—around 15%—but their resale value increases.
There comes a time when you, a natural lefty guitarist, will have to switch hands. Left-handed people struggle to play right-handed because their plucking or strumming hand is typically less sensitive and controlled than their right. Only you can decide whether you are naturally more left- or right-handed.
If someone tries to convince you that their approach is correct, don’t listen to them. As individuals, we each have our preferred methods for completing specific jobs. Playing right-handed is no more challenging than switching to left-handed when learning bass. The guitar market is smaller since more individuals are interested in learning how to play it.
What Do Scientists Say About Being A Left-Handed?
Recent research has shown lefties have an advantage over righties when tackling complex problems. In addition, left-handed people are often thought to be more creative and talented than right-handed people because of their natural ability to write with their non-dominant hands.
There’s a common misconception that left-handed people can’t play guitar, but there’s no proof. In New York City, guitar instruction and teachers are equally available to both left- and right-handed people. You have everything you need to play, and you have to treat work and play the same way.
Being a lefty is a very unusual occurrence. Yet, it would help if you didn’t let the presence of a target prevent you from reaching it. Left-handers have superior eye-hand coordination than their right-handed counterparts. As a result of their unique neurological makeup, lefties are also prone to greater creativity.
We have presented a compelling case for why you should agree with us. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is unless you are highly ambidextrous. However, some will insist on telling novice guitarists to learn right-handed, even though many of the abovementioned barriers are no longer relevant or significant.
Refrain from letting the righties and the conformists convince you to abandon your southpaw street rock and roll. You should give left-handed baseball a shot if you feel comfortable doing so. Do not listen to the negative rumours about studying this fantastic instrument.
There are several left-handed guitars, and they can purchase them online with relative ease and for roughly the same price as their right-handed counterparts. However, there are cases where the price is higher. There are many reasons for left-handed guitarists to rejoice. Being a southpaw player in 2023 is not a problem, unlike in 1990.
Death metal enthusiast here. I am a Romanian musician and producer with over 13 years of experience in the music industry. I’ve experienced all types of Metal up until now, playing Melodic Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Black Metal with different bands. Learning by doing is my base principle, which is why I’ve been drawn to sound design from an early age. Read more…