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Thoughts About The World Left Handed Peoples Day


capmaster

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Since my daughter is left-handed, I thought about the left-handed musicians' situation after having heard on the radio that August, 13th is the World Left Handed Peoples Day. It is not sure if she will ever play an instrument, but I think there are many left-handed people out there who do so, and are victims of business strategies that simply neglect these share of the market.

 

Any overview will show that offers of left-handed guitars and basses are fairly limited with respect to the instrument models available, regardless if looking at manufacturers or retailers. This applies to very common instruments with a restricted number of finish options, and even more to special runs, limited or artist and/or signature models that typically are completely unavailable in left-hand version.

 

I met some left-handed musicians in the past, and also know a few who are left-handed basically but play right-handed. So I thought I'd start this topic poll here today.

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I think that it's great for lefties to have a day to celebrate their left-handedness.Many of the world's most incredible musicians,writers and artists were lefties and I think that they should be honored by having their own special day.

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I also am left handed living in a right handers world. I started playing guitar righty basically on the fact there were 2 guitars when I was 10 at the store. . A right handed black strat copy and a sonic blue color left handed strat copy. My father had me sit down with both to see which one was more comfy and of course I chose the righty only because it was black instead of the powder blue one that I thought was kinda girly. Remember I was 10. So righty it was. Since then I feel I've gained some pretty cool ambidextrous qualities from holding the guitar opposite. I was able to play hockey righty and even swing a bat righty. Don't know if it was the righty guitar but I wonder about it all the time. I'm still a lefty at heart and use my left hand dominantly. An never learned to play the guitar lefty. The selection of instruments is more abundant for righty peeps. I prolly would have learned guitar backwards like a few I know who are lefty and can play a righty guitar off the shelf and flip it lefty with the small strings up top.

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Hmmmm...

 

This got me thinking. My Dad was leftie until he was maybe 3 and had a pan of boiling water do its thing on his left arm. You could still see it when he was past 80. So he learned everything right-handed for his really formative years. Never could get the hang of his baritone uke, but then I don't think he tried overmuch either. Horrid handwriting - worse than mine - so he became a decent typist in an era well before most boys would consider using a typewriter. Good with firearms and shot entirely righty both with long and short firearms.

 

My "little" brother is southpaw. Yup to all the difficulties, but he adjusted pretty well as far as I can tell. Could cycle a bolt action rifle as well southpaw doggone nearly as well as I can righty. Sidearms (he just retired from some 40+ years in law enforcement) were a bit more interesting, and he ended up really liking the Glock - perhaps better than his converted 1911. Revolvers in the old days could be a challenge, although I informed him that a SAA Colt was supposedly easier for a leftie, but they were pretty much stuck on DA swing-out Smiths or Colts.

 

As for guitars...

 

My figuring is that the number of lefties is significantly less than righties that to do especially a proper leftie conversion of an acoustic could be interesting and more expensive overall to sell. Not just to produce, but to sell. Kinda ditto on stuff like the LP, SG, whatevers. The advantage to a solidbody - if controls aren't too much in the way - should be that messing with the nut and adjusting the bridge should make stuff work. I don't see much reason ditto for at least a semi hollow given a lotta folks don't like pickguards anyway. Or even a full hollow, given some variables there too. But a full hollow acoustic, switched around, with a floating pup? Should work for a jazzer.

 

m

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There are definitely fewer options for a lefty. I'm righty, but I have a lefty friend who's quite accomplished (Nashville studio and stage pro, plays the Opry often, etc) and even he complains about the left-handed guitars available - though I think Suhr custom makes his electrics for him, which makes his life a little easier. [rolleyes]

 

Given the left hand - right brain connection the industry should certainly realize there is a need for more left-handed instruments.

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We are only 10% of the world population.

 

It is estimated that about 7% of the population actively plays the guitar for longer than <mumble> not sure what that criteria is.

 

So not very much reason to make lefty guitars at all.

 

rct

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well it is tough to find great quality leftys and to buy most stuff without the option to play/see/feel but after years of doing it you eventually give up ... I remember the first time I went into a store thinking they would have a lefty taylor or gibson or something like that ... I came out with a not so pristine yamaha !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JC

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... But a full hollow acoustic, switched around, with a floating pup? Should work for a jazzer.

 

m

Most hollowbody tops I know of have different bracings on the bass and the treble side, as violins usually do have, too.

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well it is tough to find great quality leftys and to buy most stuff without the option to play/see/feel but after years of doing it you eventually give up ... I remember the first time I went into a store thinking they would have a lefty taylor or gibson or something like that ... I came out with a not so pristine yamaha !!

 

JC

Just looked to the Thomann website searching for left-hand solidbodies since I don't have a market overview regarding acoustics. It was interesting that several models which are very popular as right hand version, are even lower priced as a lefty! I think this could be due to being the only one item in stock that won't move for months.

 

I also think that even at a very big dealer like Thomann you weren't able to choose from many different guitars of the same, basically popular model with the same color as left hand player. I did this several times in the past when checking out e. g. six or eight right-handed items in only two different colors.

 

There also are items you have no one to choose as left-hand player. So e. g. the piezo Floyd Rose system I use on three guitars isn't available in a left-hand version. So the left-hand player would have to use it like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan did, and sometimes even Ritchie Blackmore.

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I think that it's great for lefties to have a day to celebrate their left-handedness.Many of the world's most incredible musicians,writers and artists were lefties and I think that they should be honored by having their own special day.

 

Me too, I think they have the right... [lol][flapper][lol]

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I think that it's great for lefties to have a day to celebrate their left-handedness.Many of the world's most incredible musicians,writers and artists were lefties and I think that they should be honored by having their own special day.

 

Four of the latest five US Presidents are left-handed, including Barack Obama.

 

There are famous sportspersons, too, like the tennis players Jimmy Connors, Guillermo Vilas, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Marcelo Ríos, and Rafael Nadal.

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Cappy, Do ya ever wonder if there "must'a been a lefty in the woodpile?"

 

I'm almost 100% ambidextrous but I've never tried playing a guitar lefty wise. Can pitch horseshoes, play ping pong and use all my tools lefty or righty pretty much equally. What does that say about my left/right hemisphere of my brain?

 

Aster

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My best buddy who is also a multi-instrumentalist plays all stringed instruments right handed yet when he plays drums-his main instrument-he plays left handed. Strangely enough,he taught one of our buddies who was right handed,how to play drums and of course had to teach him left handed and so consequently my right handed buddy plays drums left handed but does everything else right handed.

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I chose option #1. I guess I'm ambidextrous.

 

I play every instrument I know how to play, throw, and certain other things right handed.

 

But I do everything else (including writing and eating) left-handed.

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Write left.

Play guitar right.

Bat left.

Golf right.

Wrestling and judo left.

Kickboxing right (though originally left, I switched due to a shoulder injury and because wrestling left/boxing right is a better combo for MMA.)

 

I do things both sides, but this is not the same as being ambidextrous. I can only do each thing one way, and am absolutely terrible if I try to switch. Boxing was the lone exception. My Dad claims that I used to colour with both hands when i was little, but I don't buy it.

 

EDIT TO ADD:

I have two daughters. One left, one right. My wife doesn't understand why I'm disappointed for the lefty. It is just an unnecessary inconvenience (anbd this kid has a few minor health problems stacked against her already...). My brother got "turned" when he was a kid, by a strict and old-fashioned grandma who was dead before I came along. I don't wish that happened to me, but it does seem to make life simpler.

 

Interestingly, I work in a creative job and 50% of our workplace is lefties.

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Cappy, Do ya ever wonder if there "must'a been a lefty in the woodpile?" ...

Aster

You may call me a fool, but when my son was born I wanted to do everything as well as I can and decided to put myself to the test.

 

So I PURCHASED and still own although not listed in my signature A LEFTY SQUIER PRECISION BASS AND PLAYED IT FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS UNTIL WE HAD FOUND A NEW BASS PLAYER! I had played bass right-handed about fourteen years, about one year in this band and then switched to left, and sometimes I played alternatingly during rehearsals.

 

What made and still makes me wonder is that I HAD SEVERE TROUBLE WITH RIGHT HAND FRETTING BUT INSTANTLY WAS ABLE TO PICK LEFT BOTH WITH THE FINGERTIPS AND FLATPICK!

 

The lefty Squier actually resides at my left-handed daughter but she doesn't seem to want to play it. She is 1.73 m (about 5 ft 8") tall at the age of 12 and could easily play a 34" scale. But whatever, I started playing guitar a short time before I was 22.

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This is a hard one for me to answer!I do play only right handed like I do everything else in life (baseball,tennis,bowling,archery).EXCEPT I write with my left hand and eat with my left hand only.I dont think that makes me ambidexterous. Being a chef by trade sometimes I cant figure out which hand to use to use a chefs knife in either,Strange.Does anyone else play guitar right handed but write with their left hand.

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Since I can write or eat equally well with both hands, I will say this about that with non bias. Food tastes better when forking it with my RIGHT hand. [biggrin]

 

I bait cast fish with my left hand casting & reel with the right. My right handed friend has to cast right then switch hands to reel. I couldn't see doing that technique so I just work it the other way. Now if I'm fly fishing my reel winds with the left hand & I strip off line left handed. I cast right handed however. I guess I've never tried to play a guitar left handed cuz all the strings are upside down and I haven't w want to re-string and play with no pickguard. Who know, maybe THEN I could play the guitar better! [biggrin]

 

Aster

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RE: left v. right "martial arts."

 

Sport versions of various arts have tended to emphasize one "side" or the other. Traditionally the emphasis was on training the body equally on both sides. I'll admit that in judo it'd be hard to define which "sided" I am, although I find some throws and some "ki-do" projections far easier to one side rather than the other, and have for well over 50 years.

 

But there, and in kick-punch-emphasis traditional arts, the difference would be in response to something.

 

It's quite different in "the world" as opposed to sport. I wasn't trained in my earlier years to "fight" - but to be able to walk away regardless what had to be done to allow that exit. That's also, I'll add, why my later years in "organized" martial arts weren't rewarding for me given how "culture" had changed.

 

Go Rin No Sho - makes excellent sense, as does Sun Tzu.

 

m

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I know what you are saying about left vs right in martial arts.

 

Part of the process is striving for a sort of platonic ideal. Ideally, you wouldn't have a dominant side. You would train out the difference.

 

But people do have tendencies. I tend to do things more readily to one side than the other. When there is competition, you favour your A game so to speak.

 

My competition years are either behind me or about to be (we'll see how this surgery goes,)but I intend on continuing this life-long pursuit. I heard an interview with Ed O'Neill where he said that for six months before his black belt he only rolled left handed.

 

I never intended to take a fight when I trained MMA, but just wanted to test my jiu jitsu in the closest reasonably safe simulation available.

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Deb...

 

There is guitar allusion in what I write. It may not be clear, but it is there, veiled or clouded by allegory.

 

I think I was ruined for competition by the environment from which my first techniques came. WWII guys who were convinced I was going to war and should have whatever I could take. In an earlier time my Dad, a WWII guy, was given a hand-made knife crafted by the local dentist. Nastiest thing I've ever seen, could cut through saddle leather with virtually no pressure whatsoever. That was the mind.

 

Then there came fencing too. My one high school varsity letter. I learned there too the weaknesses to depending too much on one-side training thanks to an injury - which brought me in ways to Musashi and then a lotta stuff.

 

And that's all more than 50 years ago before my second life was even a glimmer ahead, although I began the pathway there when I was 28 or 29. I find it interesting that around age 50 came another change (read Musashi below) that was largely in perception.

 

For what it's worth, I figure that brought me now into my third life.

 

Yes to competition in a sense, to "test" one's technique with one's "A" game is interesting, but I'd suggest that a lotta real life circumstances are not unlikely to put competition technique and practices at odds with reality. We're not discussing a duel, but rather a wide range of circumstances ranging from duel into a melee, and both with no rules but that one might walk away. If one's hurt, sick or "surprised" by misfortune, it ain't gonna be the "A" game of a trained athlete.

 

Training does in theory offer a lotta advantages regardless. Additional skill training of combative sport has enjoyed popularity among young military men for ages. It's good for the young to be strong in spirit as well as mind and body.

 

Guitar technique is martial arts technique in metaphor - and the reverse is true.

 

If I may quote Musashi, and convert the comments to guitar playing - as he himself converted the "way" to art, sculpture and perhaps even architecture. Knowing the purpose of technique is not the same as knowing its way:

 

"After that I went from province to province dueling with strategist of various schools, and not once failed to win even though I had as many as sixty encounters. This was between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight or twenty-nine.

 

"When I reached thirty I looked back on my past. The previous victories were not due to my having mastered strategy. Perhaps it was natural ability, or the order of heaven, or that other schools' strategy was inferior. After that I studied morning and evening searching for the principle, and came to realize the Way of strategy when I was fifty.

 

"Since then I have lived without following any particular Way. Thus with the virtue of strategy I practice many arts and abilities - all things with no teacher. To write this book I did not use the law of Buddha or the teachings of Confucius, neither old war chronicles nor books on martial tactics. I take up my brush to explain the true spirit of this Ichi school as it is mirrored in the Way of heaven and Kwannon."

 

m

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