Are you left-handed and want to play guitar? It’s totally possible, even on a right-handed guitar!
To play guitar left-handed on a right-handed guitar, restring and adjust the guitar for left-handed play or adapt your techniques to the reversed string order and fretboard layout.
Our guide will show you how to adjust the guitar and learn cool tricks to make playing easier. Get ready to strum, pick, and rock out in your unique way! Let’s start this awesome guitar adventure!
Adjustments for Left-Handed Players
If you are left handed you have many options when it comes to learning guitar. If you start out and have never played before you can opt for learning to play guitar as all the right handed persons do. It may be harder in the beginning but you’ll get used to it and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to learn it that way.
But you can also opt for using your right hand for fretting and the left one for strumming. Then there are also many options for how to go about it, starting with:
- Buying a left handed guitar.
- or buying a right handed guitar.
For left-handed players using a right-handed guitar, there is another decision to make. You can learn guitar with the string order upside down or you can flip the string order. This involves restringing the guitar so that the lowest notes are closest to the top of your head when you hold the guitar.
It’s not just about swapping the strings, but also adjusting the nut and bridge for left-handed play. The nut may need to be replaced or modified to accommodate the reversed string order. Similarly, the bridge may require adjustments for intonation and action height.
These changes can have a significant impact on the guitar’s tone and playability, often requiring fine-tuning to achieve the desired sound and feel.
Understanding the Guitar Fretboard Upside Down
Visualizing chord shapes and scales in reverse is a unique challenge for left-handed players on a right-handed guitar. It requires rethinking the fretboard layout and how chords are formed. One helpful tip is to practice mirror-imaging standard chord shapes and scale patterns.
When reading tablature and chord diagrams, left-handed players (playing with reversed string order) need to flip these images mentally. This can be tricky at first, but with practice, it becomes more intuitive.
Why Right Handed Playing Can Be Great for Left-Handers
Certain guitar techniques can feel more natural if done by the dominant hand, because of its strength and dexterity. Strumming and picking can be more fluid, when performed by the dominant hand.
But there are advantages of using your dominant hand for fretting too, like when you are working on mastering bends and vibrato, allowing for expressive playing.
Unique advantages can also emerge in techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs. The dominant hand can execute these techniques with greater precision and speed. This can lead to a distinctive playing style for right-handed playing left-handed guitarists.
But in the end, it’s your choice and you have to decide what you feel most comfortable with.
Practice Strategies for Left-Handed Guitarists
No matter which way you choose to play, you should include exercises to improve dexterity and coordination in the non-dominant hand, which is now either used for fretting or strumming. Take your time start slowly and build up speed over time. Our bodies and minds are amazing and there is nothing you can’t get used to over time as long as you keep practicing.
Practicing chord transitions, scale patterns, and strumming rhythms will build muscle memory and it gets easier with every repetition.
Focus on exercises that enhance finger flexibility and speed. Slow practice with a metronome can help in building up to more complex and faster passages.
It’s also beneficial to gradually increase the complexity of the pieces you practice to steadily improve your skills.
Choosing the Right Equipment
The debate between using a left-handed guitar versus a right-handed guitar for left-handed players is ongoing. Each option has its pros and cons, and the choice largely depends on personal comfort and playability.
It often comes down to what is available and comfortable to you. There is no right or wrong in art, because finding your style is personal.
So find a guitar that feels comfortable, but you should know that once you have learned guitar one way it’s pretty unrealistic that you are going to change it, So think about your choices find references online and make your decision before you start.
Inspirational Left-Handed Guitarists
Many famous left-handed guitarists have excelled on right-handed guitars, some played upside down (like Elizabeth Cotten and Dick Dale) and some changed the string oder (like Jimi Hendrix).
Studying their techniques and adaptations can be incredibly inspiring. They often developed unique styles and approaches to playing that left-handed guitarists can learn from.
Embracing the uniqueness of left-handed playing is crucial. While it comes with specific challenges, it also opens up a world of unique styles and techniques.
Continuous learning and adaptation are key. With dedication and practice, left-handed players can not only master playing on a right-handed guitar but also develop a distinctive musical voice.