i've been playing the guitar for about 5-6 months now.

Guitar was always something i wanted to learn but always put up for something else, but finally at the age of 27 i decided i should start.

The thing is that i've noticed an incredible progress in the "fretting hand" and a real struggle in the "strumming hand"... (unable to keep rythm or sometimes when i fingerpick i hit wrong strings constantly)

I talked with a couple of friends that are onto guitar and they told me that maybe i'm playing guitar backwards. What i mean is that i am left handed and play right handed guitar.

After some search on the internet i got confused. I did the "air guitar" test and without thinking it i pretended that i play left handed guitar.

I don't have a left handed guitar at my disposal neither someone that can give me one so i can try...

Does anyone have any suggestions or tips so i can determine if i should make the change or stay in the right handed style? Thanks in advance, and sorry if my English aren't good, it's not my native language.

  • Some guitars have reversible nuts/saddles, if yours does then it would be fairly simply to try it out. – user28 May 6 '16 at 1:17
  • 2
    If you want to make your life hard, including procurement, learning, and stage positioning, by all means play left handed. Otherwise don't. Did you ever see a left-handed piano? There is really no advantage to adopting a 'handedness-based' approach. Both hands have to do complex things, and often the 'weaker' hand is better at e.g. keeping time ('lead with your left'), so actually better in some ways. – Marquis of Lorne May 6 '16 at 6:33
  • @EJP - if your last sentence is true, should right-handed players be holding the guitar in a left-handed manner, in order to strum and keep time with their 'weaker' hand? – Tim May 6 '16 at 6:38
  • @Tim Not really, both hands have to keep time. – Marquis of Lorne May 6 '16 at 8:13
  • You might find some good advice in the answers to a very similar (basically the same) question asked before on this site (music.stackexchange.com/q/36449/16897) – Rockin Cowboy May 6 '16 at 18:31

Tony Iommi is a left-handed person who plays guitar left-handed.

Mark Knopfler is a left-handed person who plays guitar right-handed.

Eric Gales is a right-handed person who plays guitar left-handed.

So, whatever way you choose to proceed, there are great players who blazed that trail.

I would not discourage you from trying left-handed. Easiest way is to simply flip the guitar over; that's what Jimi and Elizabeth Cotton did. Try that and see if that works better for you. But be aware that you're learning a skill. Riding a bike was likely unfamiliar to you and you lost your balance a lot before you got it. Guitar is not nearly as extreme, but if it doesn't feel right immediately, you're in good company.

| improve this answer | |

If you have been playing for 6 months, it would not be hard to regain your current skill level with your hands switching roles. There are famous left-handed guitarists who played a right handed guitar upside down (Jimi Hendrix, Albert King). On electric guitar, this can put the controls and pickups in a strange position, but if those guys could do it, you can too. I also have a left-handed friend who plays guitar right-handed.

Getting good rhythm and accuracy in your strumming hand takes practice, of course. However, for all of the guitarists who have struggled with it, I think most of them try to work it out right-handed rather than switch to a left-handed instrument. So the fact that you seem drawn to try it left-handed seems like important information. See if it feels better for you, just flipping your guitar over and playing it upside-down for awhile. See if your strumming gets better. It doesn't cost much to switch the nut if the order of the strings feels strange to you.

You might as well try it now, before you feel like you have learned too much to start over.

My impression is that life is harder as a left-handed guitarist, because instruments are harder to find, and you have to be careful not to bump into your bandmates if you are on stage. But if it feels right to you, then that is how you should play.

| improve this answer | |
  • Its a lot easier to find right handed guitars. Flipping a guitar upside down is not ideal, because you find you have a smaller or no cutaway for accessing the high frets. – Henry Jan 16 '17 at 2:16
  • Also, if you end up in an unexpected situation where jamming happens, which is always the best, you won't be able to participate. One of the coolest things about the guitar to me is that there's always a guitar around, and by playing left-handed you're taking this away. I also love being able to wander into an open mic, borrow a guitar, and play a few songs. – Some_Guy Nov 4 '17 at 14:31
  • Guitar Hero/Rock Band lefty flip assumes that left-handed people play upside-down right-handed guitars. – Dekkadeci Nov 8 '17 at 13:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.