Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Left-Handed Instruments

Do you stock / sell left-handed instruments? I have a 10 year grandson taking a more active interest in learning guitar. He’s left-handed and he was given a classical style adult size guitar in November for his birthday by his Uncle and his Dad has a 3/4 size acoustic that fits him better for practicing, but these are right-handed instruments he is holding left handed. So every thing is upside down. Should I try to get him to hold and play right handed or should I buy him a left handed instrument? Also could I have the right-handed instruments switched to left-handed? I need some advice please.
Thank you,
Tim Calhoon

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From a lefty:

I took lessons left handed as a kid and it was a disaster…later a young friend switched my guitar back to right handed, showed me how to hold it, and taught me how to strum my first couple songs in an afternoon…and I could play!

My suggestion is to experiment with the instruments currently available…string them both ways and see which is most comfortable and coordinated for him. Then you could consider buying an instrument that suites him best if it’s not one of those he already has access to.

switching the order of the strings won’t work for the long run because of the nut being cut for a specific size string, but it wil help get an idea of which way he feels best coordinated in playing.

Being “handed” doesn’t always mean it’s the best way to play an instrument.

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When I was a kid I naturally wanted to hold instruments left handed. I was bought a right handed guitar and remember it feeling very wrong at first.

I’m sooooo glad I stuck with learning it right handed. It’s rare to go somewhere and find a right handed guitar. Even moreso for banjos and mandolins.

I’d do your best to get him to learn right handed… at least at first. If he keeps going back to left handed, then maybe look in to it.

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I have a lefty 6-year-old and I’m teaching her to play/shoot right-handed. I don’t stock many lefty instruments (demand, obviously) but we’re happy to check on any for you!

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I am a lefty who plays right handed. It certainly has some challenges, but it also have some advantages (fretting hand is much better). I agree with @Fiddle_wood, being “handed” doesn’t necessarily mean much. I would suggest trying to have him play right handed for a few weeks, if he picks it up perfect, if not then maybe think about teaching left handed.

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I teach children’s guitar lessons and I teach the left handed ones to play right handed. They’re doing just fine even if it takes a little more time to strengthen the muscles at first. I feel they’re gaining a much more practical skill this way.

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Ditto and add to the chorus. I have encouraged leftys to learn righty when starting from scratch with good results. The big deal is availability of instruments. Lefty instruments are like unicorns. With a leprechaun riding them over a field full of 4 leaf clovers.
(They just aren’t common)

That said, if someone has already been playing on their own lefty, if they want to stick with it, who am I to argue.

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I too, am “left handed”, but I play all instruments, (well…attempt to play) right handed. I couldn’t play one left handed if my life depended on it. Come to think of it, I hope my life isn’t dependent on me playing them right handed either.

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You know, @D_HRRFan7303 brings me to a question… It would seem to me that there is a little bit more going on with the left hand, of a “right handed” player than the right hand. So, why is it that you call a player that frets with the left hand, right handed and not vise versa? maybe a bit different for a banjo player or a finger style player I guess. If I am going to do a task that requires precise, or intricate motor skills, I use my left hand. I would think using 4 or five fingers placed precisely over 6 different strings at different places is pretty involved for the brain, at least mine anyway.

Just curious…

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Wow! So much great advice. I think I’ll try having him try playing right-handed. After all, that’s what’s available. If it doesn’t work out and he wants to keep switching the guitar back to lefty then I’ll look into getting a lefty guitar. Thank you everyone for your advice. It was also surprising to me to learn how many Lefty’s there are that play righty.
Thank You

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@Grinnin Actually, the left hand is the “easy” part. Your fretting hand is generally not exerting as much force as your picking hand is- all it has to do is hold down the strings and occasionally do bends, etc., but the picking hand is the one making the noise.

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Copy that. I was just thinking about the precision that the left hand has to have, placing the correct finger, in the correct spot, at the correct time, and not to mention having to do a bend, hammer-on or a pull-off at the same time.
I was thinking of it more like the right hand being the equivalent of the exhaust F1 engines on the saturn 5 providing the motive force, and the left hand being the gimble of the engines to make the path correct…

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To me it seems that the right and left hands each have an equally important part and are probably the same “hardness” at first. But with a lot of time and effort (MANY practice hours put in) they both become easier and eventually its more thinking about the notes in general and synchronizing the hands, than thinking about each hand individually.

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