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mcarp555

Left-Handed Horror Stories

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Have you, or anyone you've known, been affected by issues raised in this section?

Do you have stories of ignorant guitar store clerks trying to push learners to play right-handed? Been told by a guitar teacher to learn "right"? Had a teacher in school literally tie your left hand behind your back?

Nothing makes the ole' blood boil faster than hearing about how left-handed people have been coerced by well-meaning parents, clueless authority figures, and stores trying to move what's in stock. Tell your story here, if you have one.

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Careful with the ole' blood, Mike! ;) :D
Left-handed, female, bass player. I tick all the wrong boxes.
I write with my right hand (not my mum and dad's fault, though - they've always been very supportive, but it was too late when they realised I had been taught the wrong way).
I have had leftism and sexism thrown at me on many occasions. "Shopping for the boyfriend", "You know, guitars are used this way [righty], not that way [lefty upside-down], let me show you" "You take that long cable with two tips and stick one of them here, see, in the bass, and the other here, see, INPUT", and famously, by an ex-bf's bandmate "Women should either sing or stay backstage ready for the afterparty".
I could go on. However, getting mightily p*ssed off is not the answer IMO. Ignoring the "-isms", charging on regardless towards whatever result you want to achieve, whilst showing no intention to be intimidated, and at the same time being extremely polite throughout, always ends up getting them to blush at their idiocy and finally become helpful.

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I don't have my own story, as I am right handed, but one of my brothers was left handed. It was never an issue until my dad decided that he wanted to manage a band and made that brother play guitar. The first problem was that there weren't any left handed guitars around at the time that my parents could afford. Then his guitar teacher told him he should learn right handed guitar because it actually made more sense to do the complicated stuff with your dominant hand. That sounds like bollocks to me, there is no way right handed people would have bothered to learn to play the more difficult way all these years, if that had been the case. Though the guitar teacher was also left handed but played right handed. My brother never did get the hang of it and quickly gave up.

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[quote name='KingBollock' timestamp='1397125569' post='2420860']My brother never did get the hang of it and quickly gave up.[/quote]

That's one of the aspects of situations like this that I find the most depressing. We'll never know how many people could have enjoyed making music if they weren't discouraged by being forced to use the 'wrong' hand.

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[quote name='KingBollock' timestamp='1397125569' post='2420860']...should learn right handed guitar because it actually made more sense to do the complicated stuff with your dominant hand...
[/quote]

this doesn't sound bollocks to me, because as a lefty this exactly is the reason why I did it after trying both ways when I started in 1982. I never looked back. :D Edited by krysh

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[quote name='krysh' timestamp='1397126365' post='2420878']
this doesn't sound bollocks to me, because as a lefty this exactly is the reason why I did it after trying both ways when I started in 1982. I never looked back. :D
[/quote]

And you're not the only one either. I think there are different degrees and/or types of left-handedness. I can hardly pick a righty guitar up, let alone attempt to play it...

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bluejay, yep you're right there are different degrees. my main hand is the left one. I use a spoon, draw, play Tennis/table tennis/darts, etc. with the left hand automatically. But I never had a problem learning to write with the right hand or play bass and guitar righthanded (all my decision).

edit: and I know quite a few musos that do it this way, too. Edited by krysh

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[quote name='krysh' timestamp='1397126365' post='2420878']
this doesn't sound bollocks to me, because as a lefty this exactly is the reason why I did it after trying both ways when I started in 1982. I never looked back. :D
[/quote]

Lol, and a mirror version. I am a rightie that plays left and likewise.

I have never received any 'jibes' about asking for lefties when I go into stores, actually they tend to cower when I start grumbling about the lack of any left handed guitars/basses. This might be however because I am an ex-rugby playing chap with a speciality in looks that make people run for the hills.
I am actually really nice honest. :D Edited by DorsetBlue

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I'm a bit on the ambidextrous side (though I would say more ambisinister ;) ) I did originally pick up a guitar the lefty way round, but my ever helpful Dad told me it was the wrong way up (and it was his guitar) so I diligently learned it the right handed way, I am mostly right-handed so it made sense.
Shame really, cos years later I saw the guitarist in welsh band Anfehrn (at least I think that was how they spelled it) playing upside down, without changing the strings round, and he sounded awesome. Plus everyone remembered him cos of his upside down guitar.

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[quote name='krysh' timestamp='1397126365' post='2420878']
this doesn't sound bollocks to me, because as a lefty this exactly is the reason why I did it after trying both ways when I started in 1982. I never looked back. :D
[/quote]
so why don't right handed people learn left handed ?

I was in a shop the other day just browsing when one of these wannabe skinny rock stars asked me for the 5th time if he could help me.
I told him that i would like to try this amp, can you bring me a left handed instrument cable. Browsing was so much more relaxed from then on.
Yes Australia is a little bit special.

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I've not had a lot of problems, my mum being left handed so there was no taint of satan worries, I had one guitar lesson at school which lasted as long as it took the teacher to proclaim "there is no such thing as a left handed guitarist " and my retort of "You're playing Norwegian Wood , think about it"

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The only problem I seen for south paws, when I was a kid, I noticed how they had to curve their writing hand to avoid smudging the wet ink, as writing is from left to right. A right hand glides across the paper ahead of the wet ink, but the left hand comes after the ink. That is why teachers were the worst villains. Their objection is very self-serving. Nobody else cares. Especially with keyboards.

Other than writing with an ink pen and blotter, there's no merit one way or the other. If I were left handed, I'd get a left handed guitar and string it left handed. But then, great guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, just flip them over and play it all in reverse to a right handed player.

But it would get on anyone's nerves after a while, because many. many things and customs are designed for the majority. But look at Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix. That pretty well says it all.




But there's interesting info on Wikipedia:
[url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musicians_who_play_left-handed"]https://en.wikipedia...lay_left-handed[/url] Edited by CrackerJackLee

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[quote name='Dave Vader' timestamp='1397141352' post='2421097']
I'm a bit on the ambidextrous side (though I would say more ambisinister ;) ) I did originally pick up a guitar the lefty way round, but my ever helpful Dad told me it was the wrong way up (and it was his guitar) so I diligently learned it the right handed way, I am mostly right-handed so it made sense.
Shame really, cos years later I saw the guitarist in welsh band Anfehrn (at least I think that was how they spelled it) playing upside down, without changing the strings round, and he sounded awesome. Plus everyone remembered him cos of his upside down guitar.
[/quote]

Anhrefn :)

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This might be of interest.. I lost the sight in my right eye as a child and had to learn to shoot left handed. Holding a gun right handed feels entirely wrong now. However l/h firearms are more expensive and rarer (stocks with cheek piece, bolts) let alone semiautos that spit brass into your face .. I feel for you guys..

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I see this all too much; more than once I've had people tell me that they encourage people to learn right handed, someone running a bass site online is openly discouraging people from playing left handed. When I get this I suggest they write an essay right handed. In this state (Connecticut) we have what I refer to as "Connecticut mentality", a concept in this state suggesting that obtaining a left handed instrument is impossible; even in the internet age this mentality is still predominant here. When it rears its ugly head I respond with a few photos from my Facebook page; watching jaws hitting the floor is priceless!

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I've once been the recipient of the notion that if I can't adapt to play right handed like supposed normal people should, that I simply don't have the talent to learn any stringed instrument and should not bother. (I've seen that mentality being used on one of my nieces too. She still can't play that 700 dollar guitar her father bought her on the ridiculous 'advice' of a guitar teacher that wouldn't accept left-handed students).

I told them where to stick that notion. They retorted with some nonsense about all other types of instruments are right-handed for a reason and that I should stop complaining. Some of them even bring religion into it, imagine that.

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[quote name='nerkoids' timestamp='1489080345' post='3254250']
I've once been the recipient of the notion that if I can't adapt to play right handed like supposed normal people should, that I simply don't have the talent to learn any stringed instrument and should not bother. (I've seen that mentality being used on one of my nieces too. She still can't play that 700 dollar guitar her father bought her on the ridiculous 'advice' of a guitar teacher that wouldn't accept left-handed students).

I told them where to stick that notion. They retorted with some nonsense about all other types of instruments are right-handed for a reason and that I should stop complaining. Some of them even bring religion into it, imagine that.
[/quote]

Violins are all right handed so that the bows all go the same way in an orchestra and you don't have someone's eye out. But different with guitars, me and my guitarist have learned to stop clashing headstocks... Can't believe a teacher wouldn't accept lefties, obviously can't get their head round saying plucking hand and fretting hand instead of left and right. What a tool.
How does religion come in to it? I know that the Latin word for left is sinister and the word got appropriated for shady goings on later down the line, vaguely implying that lefties are sinister but even two thousand years ago they weren't bringing religion in to it (as far as I know!) And they used to worship little clay models of farm animals.

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the only reason anyone gets upset when they're insulted about anything is because they feel inferior about it, I don't feel inferior about being left handed so it doesn't upset me, in fact I often use 'cack handed' and 'I hold the guitar the wrong way' on myself, why should any left handed bassists bother about it when we've got Macca as an example?

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Posted (edited)
[quote name='PaulWarning' timestamp='1489135291' post='3254554']
the only reason anyone gets upset when they're insulted about anything is because they feel inferior about it ...
[/quote]
Oh, I think there are several other reasons, and not all of them have to do with not being able to grow a thick skin... Edited by nerkoids

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Just want to let my good brother nerkoids know I've once again asked the Harley Benton players to email Thomann regarding the lack of left handed models.

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[quote name='nerkoids' timestamp='1489506739' post='3257520']
Oh, I think there are several other reasons, and not all of them have to do with not being able to grow a thick skin...
[/quote]yeah they probably are, I was once given some advice that I've tried to stick too, "If it's not costing you money it's not worth getting upset over"

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[quote name='kodiakblair' timestamp='1489508459' post='3257534']
Just want to let my good brother nerkoids know I've once again asked the Harley Benton players to email Thomann regarding the lack of left handed models.
[/quote]
That's mighty left of you :-)

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As I have posted on other threads on this site, I am left handed but play right handed. This goes back to when I tried to learn to play the classical guitar (in my mid-forties) and my teacher recommended I play right handed as re-stringing a classical guitar for a lefty was not as straight forward as may seem - the nut would need to be changed and the guitar's internal bracing would be wrong. It also meant that I could have a wider choice when buying an instrument. He did also comment that the few left handers he had taught (playing left handed) had not progressed very far - not sure why.

Having never played a guitar before I played right handed and know no different. I am very left handed. My first wife was left handed, our daughter is left handed and her son (my grandson) is left handed. One day we will rule the world!

I am just returning to the bass after about 10 years away from it and am taking my time finding my way around the fret board and getting my fingers used to going up and down the neck again. I'll stick with playing right handed as I think changing now would just confuse me - very easy to do!

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My sister's granddaughter (age 8), i.e. my great-niece, does everything left-handed and/or left-footed. On my advice they got her a left-handed guitar ...


... which she insists on playing right-handed.

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