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Right or Left...when starting out


flatbaroque

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I haven't given this any real thought. But I was musing that when we start learning guitar the hard bit is making the chords and the easier bit is the strumming.Yet we are trying to make the chords with our non dominant hand...ie righties are using left hand...I know this feels natural but I wonder why.

I remember in my youth hostelling days coming back to the dorm in Sagres Portugal.There was a German bloke playing a guitar badly...I saw my chance to impress a couple of cute French girls..so I asked for a go. I was so full of Portuguese singing syrup I hadn't realised it was a lefty guitar.So when I couldn't play it ..I looked like a big Australian phoney [biggrin]

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I hadn't really thought of that before. Interesting question though.

 

Most sports are that way, the dominant hand guides the primary gesture.

 

But now that I think about, most stringed instruments, from violin to guitar uses the less dominant hand to form or apply the note. Somebody must have already gotten a PhD in studying and explaining this. If not, go for it.

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Yes , exactly capmaster . but when someone is just beginning , its chord formations that are the head melter. We all know now about fingerpicking and varying attack and palm muting and strumming patterns.

All foriegn to the beginner.

 

I've said it before 'the left hand is what you know and the right hand is who you are'

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Seems to me that the strumming/picking hand is more intricately linked to what makes music music--rhythmn, tempo, pattern. Even with an active chord hand, it's relatively more static. Once you lay out a chord, you could almost say that it just sits there, waiting for the action of the other hand to bring out what is, or might be, there.

 

Put another way, the dominant hand has to do more, and has do it with more nuance and feel than the less dominant hand. I think this is true even in the case of masterful lead work, where it could seem that neither hand is dominant. Even then, the strum/pick hand seems like it has first dibs on what the music brain is commanding.

 

Just a dumb theory in the wee hours...

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I'm a lefty. However, I play guitar right-handed. Whether I ever could have been a lefty, I don't know. But my father demanded I pick the guitar up right-handed or else face a lifetime of frustration in finding an instrument and I listened. Maybe because of that, I play right-handed. But I think had I found it as awkward as I now find picking up a guitar left-handed that I would've switched it around to the way that feels comfortable.

 

I also play a little piano and my right hand is much stronger than my left. But I was taught on a Hammond organ, so most of my left-hand stuff was block chords and roots.

 

I show some signs of ambidexterity. But I write and throw left-handed.

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I have played tennis for most part of my life and also a fair bit of hockey. As a right-hander, a tennis backhand and a hockey slapshot is done with the right hand at the but end of the racket/stick and the left hand below for added power and stability. When I tried golf for the first time, I was asked if I was right handed or left handed. I said I was right handed. I was then given a set of clubs to try out. At first I thought it was a mistake and that I was given the wrong set of clubs, because they were meant to be used with the left hand on top and the swing on the other side of the body, compared to tennis/hockey. I gave it a try and could hardly hit the ball. I then asked for left handed clubs, suddenly everything felt like home and I managed to hit the ball consistently.

 

I think a lot of what is seen as the "right way" of doing things has more to do with tradition than anything else. I would advise any beginner in tennis/hockey/guitar etc to go with what feels the most natural...

 

Lars

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Did that come naturally PM?

 

Yes & no, any guitar I ever tried was a righty,, so I just persisted, I taught myself anyway, given a guitar and chord book and just plugged away till I could do it. It had the benefits of being able to have a go on other peoples guitars rather than going the lefty route... Like the poster above I'm sort of a bit both-sided, I'll set my work PC up one way for a week, the switch sides (avoids any RSIs etc...)

 

My old man's mate used to play the golf, sort of semi-pro level, he was a brilliant amatuer, but got pummeled off proper pros, anyway, he used to take me to all the courses when I was younger, St Andrews, Troon, The Darnley etc as he had the card needed to get access to these courses... we tried lefty clubs all sorts, but I played right handed & cack fisted. So as long as the hole is level or downhill I wasn't bad, playing cack-fisted meant no real elevation on the shots, so an uphill hole and I was going to hit a howler. So it's not just guitar....

 

I actually really dont like Lefty guitars, despite it not feeling as alien as it would to a true righty, it's not really natural to me either, the right side feels right... but probably just habit, had I been given a lefty guitar first I'd be a lefty I guess.

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What of the intermediate right handed guitar player with no ambidexterous abilites that is forced to migrate to the kingdom of Leftalia. No right handed handed guitars exist...only lefties...no reverse stringing is allowed. How long before he can play House of the Rising Sun on his left handed guitar?

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What of the intermediate right handed guitar player with no ambidexterous abilites that is forced to migrate to the kingdom of Leftalia. No right handed handed guitars exist...only lefties...no reverse stringing is allowed. How long before he can play House of the Rising Sun on his left handed guitar?

 

No idea.... but you see people on youtube playing guitar with feet, a bass player who plays with a prosthetic hand etc.... I guess the answer to the question is yet another question, how do you quantify individual determination? If you want to do something badly enough, eventually you will, if you put the effort in.

 

If you switched tomorrow you'd have to:

Learn chord shapes with the right hand

Learn to change chord shapes]

Get used to position/feel (muscle memory)

work on the left wrist to loosen it in order to strum

Learn to pick

learn dynamics

 

Can't imagine it would be easy..... Despite being fairly left-sided, I think I'd have a hard time.....

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this guy , i recommended him to you FB a little while back remember ?, he was in a bomb blast on a train. had to do exactly what you are pondering about.

 

http://www.today.com/id/24794227/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/singer-sam-baker-true-survivor/#.UlKEDYI1j4g

 

gees I didn't realise that BBG..I liked his style but I thought it seemed very deliberate and careful...not so fluid..this would explain it...i'll have a read of his story...thanks

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From my experience getting a basic sense of rhythm and timing is most critical, hence the right hand. It sounds a lot better if stuff up a chord a bit keep the timing then hit perfect chords but screw up the timing and rhythm..

 

 

yea EA fully agree that the right hand is king when further down the guitar path.....but i'm talking at the very start of the learning process...when as BBG agreed chord forming is the hard bit

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gees I didn't realise that BBG..I liked his style but I thought it seemed very deliberate and careful...not so fluid..this would explain it...i'll have a read of his story...thanks

 

 

I would normally have to agree with EA , but this guy its his slightly wonky playing that I find draws me to the songs. It matches his voice very well.

His music is slightly broken. I like it a lot. And I liked it before I knew he had a damaged hand or any of his back story

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This topic is a very well travelled one on the AGF, usually in conjunction with a "my son/daughter is left handed, wants to take up guitar & his/her teacher is trying to make him/her play righty....". We lefties (well most of us) get a little tired of righties preaching that we're SOOOOOOO lucky to have a dominant left hand which could be used for fretting purposes if we played righty - I always ask them "if this is so, then why don't all you righties play lefty?"

Personally I simply cannot strum with my right hand & as this is what essentially drives my playing I have no choice in the matter.

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This topic is a very well travelled one on the AGF, usually in conjunction with a "my son/daughter is left handed, wants to take up guitar & his/her teacher is trying to make him/her play righty....". We lefties (well most of us) get a little tired of righties preaching that we're SOOOOOOO lucky to have a dominant left hand which could be used for fretting purposes if we played righty - I always ask them "if this is so, then why don't all you righties play lefty?"

Personally I simply cannot strum with my right hand & as this is what essentially drives my playing I have no choice in the matter.

No preaching from me LG.I was just curious about the physiology of guitar playing in the very initial stages.

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No preaching from me LG.I was just curious about the physiology of guitar playing in the very initial stages.

 

Sorry FB, I didn't mean to suggest you were! :) I know the folk on here are more thoughtful, well-balanced & less inclined to "preach" than many on the AGF. Bottom line is we are all different & if possible I believe any starter should simply do what comes naturally. The nice thing today is that there are far more decent lefties available for newbies to try out, so no need for them to be forced to play righty, unless they choose to do so.

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This topic is a very well travelled one on the AGF, usually in conjunction with a "my son/daughter is left handed, wants to take up guitar & his/her teacher is trying to make him/her play righty....". We lefties (well most of us) get a little tired of righties preaching that we're SOOOOOOO lucky to have a dominant left hand which could be used for fretting purposes if we played righty - I always ask them "if this is so, then why don't all you righties play lefty?"

Personally I simply cannot strum with my right hand & as this is what essentially drives my playing I have no choice in the matter.

As a fellow lefty playing lefty, I TOTALLY agree with you !!! [thumbup]

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