I started learning the guitar (left handed) as my new years resolution and am absolutely loving it.

For a couple of years, I've had a cyst in the middle of the palm of my right hand (my fretting hand). It doesn't usually bother me, but as I've been playing more and more, it really gets quite sore after playing. I'm not sure whether this is part of standard hand pain for a guitarist, or whether to be more concerned. There seems 100's of articles about wrist cysts (e.g. here), but little on issues with the palm. I need my hands to work, so need to keep them in good condition!

I've been considering changing to play right handed to try avoid aggravating the issue, but am not sure. I've tried turning my guitar upside down and although it feels awkward, I think I could manage it. I have read several accounts of left handers having issues with rhythm and fine control when changing over, but many also doing just fine. It would mean losing 8 months hard practice to virtually start again + the expense of new guitar, but it might mean I can play without "days off".

Any ideas what I should do please?

P.s. I don't consider this a duplicate because I'm not asking 'can I play right handed?', but 'given the issue with my hand; should I?'


Following the excellent responses (upvoted): The doc won't take any action, preferring the 'wait and see' approach, however it was too painful to play, so I bought a right handed guitar.

Progress Week 1:

My wrist flexibility needs a lot of work and I need to build up some hard skin on those fresh fingertips! However, I've been surprised by how much of my learning has been theory that could quickly translate over. My right hand has rhythm as most of that seems to be in the head, though it will take a little while to start hitting the strings as nicely.

Progress week 5 (final update)

While it was undoubtedly frustrating to start, within about 3 weeks I was back to the level I was at with my left hand. Another 2 weeks on from that and I'm now considerably above where I was. I can play for long periods and my right hand doesn't bother me at all. Holding a pick is nowhere near as strenuous on the hand as fretting. It's saves me having to rethink every right handed tutorial to left handedness and there's now a larger range of guitars to choose from too :). Overall, I've been really pleased I made the change.

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    As a left handed person, I learned right handed. I do not have the issue that you have, but it is very convenient as most guitars are for right handed, it is easier to play with whatever guitar is where you are. I do not think these 8 months will be lost actually…
    – Tom
    Aug 11, 2020 at 10:38

3 Answers 3


I've often advocated lefties playing right-handed, for several reasons, yours not being one! There may not be the need to buy a different guitar - Jimi would be testament to that.

What you have learned so far will not be wasted, a lot of it is stored in the brain, and just needs adaptation.

As we always say, a teacher is a good thing to have - he would have helped solve your problem by now, so it's a consideration for at least a few lessons. The 'net can be good...or not so! And it'll not give much advice (unlike this site, of course).


So the only reasonable thing to do is see a doctor. I had a crippling massive cyst on my fretting hand wrist 30 years ago that I had drained by a doctor. He used a syringe and just pulled the fluid out. It turned out that the "massive" cyst was really about a dozen small pea sized cysts. It was a fairly simple procedure, not very risky, and the issue NEVER came back. My cyst was on a nerve and it made playing impossible. At the time I was a professional (or semi-professional) musician working in bands and doing studio work while going to school. So this could have been the death of my work. I tried to put up with it as long as I could and changed playing style to accommodate it. But in the end getting rid of it was the best move. As for changing from left to right handed playing, there is no reason to expect that the cyst won't bother you. You'll be holding onto a pic, or using your fingers to play and that will aggravate it.

  • That's a really good point about it still being a problem holding a pick/ strumming. The doc says it's too small to do anything about, so just have to put up with it for now. I'll give it another month or two and see how it fares Aug 11, 2020 at 16:05
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    Try physical therapy then. There may be a way to tape it. Cysts can develop for no reason at all. But in many cases it is caused by some type of stress. How's your technique? Are you holding the neck too tight, palming the neck and putting the thumb over like a lot of us do?
    – user50691
    Aug 11, 2020 at 19:59

You need to change the thecnique. Chaning hands will only transfer the pain to the other hand. Playing guitar and using computer are one of the biggest sources of Repetitive Strain Injury

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