I just need your thoughts regarding left hand guitar players.

I come from a piano- and xylophone-playing family. I am the only right hander in my family (my father, mother and 3 brothers are all left handers).

My wife is also a left hander, and it comes to no surprise that my sons are left-handed.

3 years ago, my sons participated in their school's ukulele program. Both were given right handed ukuleles. I complained to the coordinator that my sons should be encouraged to embrace their left handedness (which is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain - which is the location for creativeness and abstract thinking). I even suggested I will buy or re-string their ukulele to left hand.

The teacher refused, saying:

  • we don't have left-handed ukulele teachers
  • we can only buy right-handed ukuleles
  • I don't have the time to teach two left handers in a class of 24 right handers
  • this is a world for right handers, your kids need to learn how to live in it

I thought that was the most ignorant and uneducated reasoning from someone who calls themselves educators - more so an educator of music.

But to me music is music, and I let my sons learn right hand way. But I did see them struggle to cope and in my mind it hindered their natural development had they learned left hand and embrace the natural ability of their master hand. I even asked the teacher to sign the registration form with his left hand, he said "why, I write with my right"...to which I rolled my eyes.

QUESTIONS: - any readers experienced the same (either themselves or their kids) learning guitar, bass, ukulele? - am I right in thinking that left handers should be taught to their natural ability and not be forced to be right handed?

Now that both my elder son started high school, he wanted to take guitar or bass lessons with the school....I am now back to my original situation.

Questions: - should we insist that my son be taught left handed? - can a natural left hander (forced to learn right hand ukulele) revert to a left hand style for electric bass?

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    Hi and welcome. If you simply type "left handed" in the search box, you will see a lot of good advice on this subject already on this site :) Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 9:50
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    I think the whole "lefties have a dominant right brain, which is the creative side" thing has been debunked. Generalizations of populations tend not to be accurate for individuals, and the brain is far more complex in its organization than "this is the lump where art happens".
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:18
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    @benwiggy: Agreed. It's a bit off-topic here, but the right/left brain thing is and has always been a bit of an urban legend that psychologists embraced once they found it could get them grant money for studies. There are valid reasons to encourage kids to use their dominant hand in ways that are comfortable, but left/right brain nonsense is not one of them.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:55
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    In classical music, I can name only one professional player who plays their instrument mirrored. For most instruments, the roles of both hands are more or less equally difficult (though regularly very dissimilar) and it doesn’t really make sense to mirror - what’s there to gain in return for complicating the learning process and making it so much harder to find a good instrument?
    – 11684
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 19:06
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    I'm left handed and, as a rock / metal person, I think the 'right-handed' / 'normal' guitar is perfect for left handed people! The difficult part is the fretting, not the strumming.
    – Thomas
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 23:15

13 Answers 13


I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to vehemently disagree with some of the answers so far that want to make spurious claims that "left-handed people have an advantage when playing right-handed guitar/ukelele." Such claims are usually promoted by right-handers who have little experience with left-handed musicians.

If you think about it just a bit, you'll realize that such a claim is patently absurd. If it really were easier (for most people) to play a guitar with the dominant hand fretting and the other hand strumming, and given that the vast majority of people historically were either right-handed or forced to learn to do things right-handed, why don't most people play guitars facing the other way? The answer is that picking is ultimately easier with the dominant hand. The dominant hand controls the fundamental rhythm, as well as a lot of expression and sound of the instrument, just as on violin the dominant hand is used to bow and control the sound production. The more advanced one's picking becomes, the more it becomes clear where the greater dexterity is needed. And we need only look at a list of professional musicians who prefer to play "left-handed" to realize that maybe there is something more natural about that position for left-handed individuals.

(And if anyone could point me to a similar list of right-handed guitarists who voluntarily chose to learn and play in a "left-handed" position, then I'll believe the claims here about it being "easier" for left-handed folks to play a right-handed instrument. But I sincerely doubt there would be many people on such a list.)

In any case, to the OP's questions: yes, it is possible for left-handed musicians to learn to play right-handed, and many have great success. But there is something more natural for most left-handers to play a "left-handed" instrument, so if they begin with a standard instrument, there will likely be a stage where progress slows down or the kid wants to switch to an instrument/position that feels more suitable. (Hence so many examples of professional guitarists who play a right-handed instrument flipped around with the high string on top: the position just feels so much better that they're willing to relearn or reorient the whole conception of note placement on the instrument.)

QUESTIONS: - any readers experienced the same (either themselves or their kids) learning guitar, bass, ukulele? - am I right in thinking that left handers should be thought to their natural ability and not be forced to be right handed?

I don't have personal experience with this as I'm right-handed, and I haven't had to deal with left-handed children. But I have heard anecdotes from left-handed friends.

And here I do have to agree with some of the previous answers in that schools have limited resources. Your situation may vary, but I don't know that trying to force a teacher who clearly doesn't even understand left-handed playing to teach your kid that way is a productive use of your time, your kid's time, or the teacher's time. It's a judgment call. In that situation, I might consider finding a private teacher who had more experience with left-handed players. As long as the school teacher doesn't find it objectionable to deal with the left-handed style in ensembles or whatever, I may not push the issue further.

Or you can just go with the teacher's method and see how your child progresses. Many left-handed musicians do continue to play right-handed (including most violinists, for example, where left-handed instruments are much less common); there may just be some additional challenges along the way.

Questions: - should we insists that my son be taught left hand? - can a natural left hander (forced to learn right hand ukulele) revert back to a left hand style for electric base?

Lots of left-handed players learn to swap sides, as many of them are forced to start out with the right-handed style and make the swap later, so they have some experience. It's certainly not impossible, but it may take a little more time to reorient at first than if a student began with their dominant hand in the standard position at the outset. (Also, bass players often deal with different technique and notation, so a student may just view the whole exercise as a different challenge for the new instrument.)

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    @Tim: are you left-handed? If you're right-handed, do you (or have you) played left-handed guitars and found the position more natural/easier? If not, I really don't put much authority in your opinion. (Sorry.) As for the guy who played cello right handed, as I alluded to, orchestral strings tend to play r.h. by default: as they sit closer together and having varying handedness would cause collisions (like the dinner-table issue with left-handers, but worse). Hence strings are strongly pushed toward r.h. Guitarists don't often sit so close in ensembles, so lefties can go with what feels best.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:26
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    @benwiggy: many left-handed people I know strategically tend to seat themselves at ends of tables to avoid elbow bumping. The issue arises more with "American style" eating where the right hand does most of the "work" (cutting, eating with fork and spoon). Lefties do all of that stuff with their left arm; hence the elbow-bumping in close quarters.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:45
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    @Tim: Also, your second comment actually argues the opposite for me, considering the long list of prominent left-handed guitarists who play left-handed. If it really were easier for them to play "right-handed," why don't they? Why force themselves all to play a more awkward instrument that costs more and for which they have a smaller selection available? Is your argument that they're all delusional left-handed activists who haven't realized their lives could be easier if they just learned to play "righty"? (I'm really trying to understand the logic here...)
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:50
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    @benwiggy: Getting a bit OT here, but... as I said, the issue tends to only occur in "close quarters." And no, I don't cut with my left hand -- I don't know where you're from, but in American-style eating, one cuts with the right and one uses the right for eating with both fork and spoon (swapping the fork to right hand after cutting). The only thing the left hand tends to do in American-style eating is hold the fork for limited cutting times (not a lot of motion), so the right elbow of a "righty" and the left elbow of a "lefty" will be in most frequent use throughout a meal.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:59
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    Another data point to consider: right-handed players of the violin, viola, cello, and double bass have always held the bow in their right hands. That doesn't use individual fingers; so it can't be about that. I guess it must be about fine pressure control, and greater force. (Probably not about rhythm as such, as in piano playing the lower notes are more about rhythm, and those are played by the left hand…)
    – gidds
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:46

Some 'left-handed' modifications are worth fighting for. This one isn't. You won before you started! EVERYONE plays uke 'left-handed'. The left hand does the clever stuff, the right hand just has to strum.

We will doubtless now hear some attempts to justify the political stance that left-handers MUST be separately catered for at all times :-)

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    Ice-cream scoops are the only necessary ones, IME. Everything else can be used just fine with the left hand as it is.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:25
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    @skinnypeacock - actually, there are quite a lot of left handed monkeys...
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:18
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    @Tim- That may be true, but who manufactures a wrench for them to use :-) Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:14
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    @supercat I've been using monkey-wrenches right-handed for sixty years and I still spin them the wrong way every time :-)
    – user207421
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 21:39
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    The left hand is indeed the one doing all the fancy stuff for beginners. But if you want to level up your uke / guitar playing, it is the right hand that will start doing clever / artsy stuff. The left hand just grips what it's supposed to grip. It is also the right hand that has to hit the right strings all the time without a constant positional reference as giudance (although it is the left hand that has the most troubles hitting each string in the correct spot).
    – Arthur
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 13:51

Little background: I play the guitar (and uke!) left-handed.

left handedness...is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain - which is the location for creativeness and abstract thinking

Less so than people say, and is the fretting hand or strumming/picking hand the creative one?

I even suggested I will buy or re-string their ukulele to left hand.

This is halfway easy to do for a soprano ukulele because of the low G string. It means the nut is cut ~symmetrically and the bracing is symmetrical. You'd still want to replace the bridge, and that's no fun.

we don't have left handed ukulele teachers

This line is an excuse. Look at the teacher. They'll look like you in a mirror. Match what they do. There isn't a handedness to teaching.

am I right in thinking that left handers should be thought to their natural ability and not be forced to be right handed?

As a practical matter, left-handed instruments are harder to find. They're out there, but the selection is much more limited. My guitar teacher says it doesn't really matter. You have no idea what you're doing anyway (it isn't really a "natural" thing to do), so you'll learn either way.

Keep in mind that this means all those times your kid sees a guitar somewhere and says "I can play that," there's a 95% chance they can't. Those videos where someone goes on stage to play with their favorite band? Not happening.

tl;dr: having been thought this to some extent, both you and the school are overthinking how big of a deal this is.


I'll put my 2 cents in as well. All this discussion is particularly interesting and relevant to me. I am naturally left handed. My introduction to instrumental playing was when I received a guitar for my 14th birthday. Not knowing any better, I swapped the strings around and then proceeded to happily teach myself left handed. For me, learning to read chord charts the other way around was not a big problem, but I concede that some kids might have some difficulty with that. However, with patience and help, this is not insurmountable. That fact that I was naturally drawn to re-stringing my guitar suggests to me that nature won over nurture in my case.

However, having said that, I must then admit that I went on to learn the double bass the next year, and of course took it for granted that it was going to be as a right handed player. The human brain is adaptable. I went on to become a professional bass player and never felt the need or inclination to play it left handed. I think it depends on the individual. Some people may be extremely left handed and simply could not entertain the thought of playing otherwise. Others, like myself, are able to be more flexible in this regard. Rare though it is, I do know of a left handed viola player who was/is in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

To the OP, you have to work out how unwaveringly left handed your sons are. I certainly don't like the attitude of their teacher either. There's really not that much difference between teaching one way or the other. A little more time and effort may be needed for the lefties, but surely it's all about finding what works best for the individual student, and doing what you can for them. Teachers are only setting the keen student squarely on a good path. Most of the hard work is going to be done in personal practice. I teach guitar (as a lefty) to right handed students, and there has been no problem.

Just to confuse the issue, later in life I decided to learn the ukulele so I could teach that as well. In order not to confuse myself with chords (eg - an F shape on the guitar becomes a Bb on the ukulele), I taught myself to play the ukulele right handed. It was a bit harder work, but in the end worked well.

Interestingly, certain aspects are easier for me on the uke compared to the guitar, because of my experience as a right handed string player. I can vibrato much more naturally and competently on the uke than on the guitar. However, no doubt, if I wanted to vibrate on the guitar badly enough, practise would make perfect!

I hope all this shows that it needn't be, as your sons' teacher suggested, automatically a right handers' world.

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    That '5th out' between uke and guitar chords didn't need to be a problem - just transpose mentally! In fact, it could have made learning uke chords so much quicker for you - you already knew the shapes.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 13:44

I'm a lefty, and my dad convinced me to learn right handed as a teenager (back in 1986) over my strong objections. And he was right!

If you play left handed you basically play a different instrument than everyone else. You can never play their guitars, and they can't play yours. You'll have difficulty watching other people play and figuring out what they're doing. Over the last 30-plus years I've had hundreds of opportunities to jam, perform, and learn that would have been closed to me had I played a non-standard instrument.

Interestingly, I still 'air guitar' left handed though.

  • Definitely a point to consider, though my counter-argument is that 1. the situation is only so bad because most people play right-handed. If the fraction of left-handed players would be like the fraction of left-handers in total, most jam sessions would have at least one left-handed guitar around. 2. Most musicians anyway prefer using their own instrument. Yes, my lefty cello is special because lefty, but it also has a completely unique setup that no right-hand cello would offer even if I played righty. And for small instruments like ukulele or flutes it's so easy to take you own. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 23:55
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    3. It's not like playing lefty prevents you from playing righty instruments. I can't play righty guitar well, but it's plenty enough for any campfire session or for trying out instruments in a music shop, though I never really practised it. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 23:56
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    fair points. I'm mainly recalling my memories from college, where everywhere I went it seemed there were guitars around, and it was a formative time in my playing experience. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 13:39

You won't like this answer - probably!

Since particularly on uke, the fretting hand is the one that makes the intricate movements - fretting notes - then logically it would make sense to use the best hand for this. Those fingers are more used to working independently, whereas, initially at least, the other hand works more as an arm, strumming. So learning right-handed should be advantageous to them - and out the right-handeds in the class a little behind in progress.

As far as the side of the brain is concerned - does that mean I'm at a disadvantage being a mere right-handed player?

Since it appears that around 85% of the world is right-handed, most ukes etc. that they'll encounter later in their playing lives will be r.h. instruments. Won't they feel a little out when someone thrusts a uke into their hands and asks them to play? And choice of instruments is another concern - the availability of l.h. instruments mirrors that same percentage.Often with a price premium. Market forces and all that.

Only under extreme provocation have I taught left hookers, and that's usually because they've already made the l.h. journey's start. I have a l.h. student on drums, playing r.h. kit. I asked him the other day to swap round and try a l.h. kit. He was saying no pretty vehemently!

Look at it from the teacher's point of view: it's too time consuming to try to accomodate l.h. uke learning and the charts would all have to be changed too. Impractical. Unless you find a private teacher...

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    But why do right-handed drummers play the weaker sounding hi-hat with the stronger hand, and the extremely loud and powerful and impactful snare drum with the weaker hand ... I think it has something to do with the steady pulse that the hi-hat provides ... if your basic pulse grid is bad and off, the whole thing is bad. The same goes with guitar etc. The stronger hand provides the pulse, to which all the other rhythmic events are connected. Just my theory. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 15:17
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    @piiperiReinstateMonica As on the modal interchange thread, I'm going to call you out for concocting a 'theory' where there's no justification for one :-)
    – Laurence
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 10:51
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    -1 not only for repeating the incorrect point that the fretting hand does the “more difficult work” and therefore makes sense to use the strong one too (though, for ukulele this may be closer to true than for guitar), we've discussed this elsewhere, but also for arguing with teaching difficulty. This may be true for drums (and theoretically piano), but not for guitar, uke or strings. And for ukulele, even the instrument-choice point isn't much IMO – it shouldn't be much of a problem to string any uke the other way around. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 13:20
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    @leftaroundabout - here we go again.Strong doesn't come into it - it's more a question of independent fingers working. And unless the player is finger-picking, the 'strum' hand is a hand, not individual fingers - which is what beginners would be using initially anyway - or a pick - again, hardly individual fingers.For me, there's no problem teaching lefties guitar - there is for some (as in question). But at the very least, you've 'justified' the dv.I'm happy to agree to differ, 50 yrs of teaching experience won't convince some!Of course it's easy to swap strings on a uke, where's the problem?
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 13:28
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    @LaurencePayne this one was mine, but the modal interchange one wasn’t. Any kind of framework is good if it helps you locate the sounds and operate. Did you already try playing A, F#, Eb triads on C? They’re from the same mould, D is different, and Db is different again. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 14:26

I am a lefty who learned right handed electric bass (which I don't play much anymore) & double bass (professionally jazz for over 20 years + jazz performance degree, amateur orchestral for agony and defeat).

Quick backstory: my relative who shipped me my first bass did not know I was left handed. I was 13 or 14 years old and had played piano up until then, and when trying basses I tried LH basses.

I also know one colleague who plays double bass left handed (jazz/improvised music), and have heard that if he were to do it all over again he'd play right handed (see #2 below).

should we insists that my son be taught left hand?

That's a tough one. The teacher's excuse of not having any left handed teachers has been discussed (read: weak excuse. Get a mirror!). It sounds like the teacher is not adaptable and sticking to your guns (however right/wrong/whatever) may cause friction which could potentially manifest itself in negative ways (grades/happiness/etc...).

From a practical standpoint:

  1. LH instruments are generally more expensive and harder to find.
  2. Hosting jam sessions can be challenging. You either provide a right handed instrument, make sure that a RH person will be there with their instrument, or play the whole night (unless another lefty walks in...).

can a natural left hander (forced to learn right hand ukulele) revert back to a left hand style for electric base bass?

Musically, I have no real experience with this beyond >5min attempts once every couple of years. These attempts result in a quick "NOPE!". Slightly off-topic: As a teenager I did learn to skateboard both ways (switch) - it was hard going switch, but I managed some stuff, while also skating regular.

The body is amazing, and wouldn't be impossible to switch back. My question would be: why? If the player is happy playing RH, then there might be no desire to revert. And it would be huge challenge that may not be worth it.

HOWEVER... regarding bow work with the double bass: the bow has always felt uncomfortable in my right hand. Even when I was practicing arco stuff for 3hrs/day and one orchestral rehearsal per week, it still felt like a mildly foreign object in my hand. (also: I'm a jazz guy, so while I worked at arco a lot during my formative years, it wasn't my first choice).

Also (this may be similar to another answer here): Don't get too wrapped up in this. Kids will pick things up fast.


I'm convinced there is a higher than average percentage of musicians who are left handed compared to the human 'norm'. I'm also certain most of them play right handed.

The chances also are that a great many left-handed people are more likely to be somewhat ambidextrous than right-handers.
Whether this is because they were born more ambidextrous or have had it forced on them so it became a learned skill maybe we'll never know.

Upshot: Maybe a third of the truly good guitar/string/drum players I've ever known [I'd only really exclude piano] are lefties playing right handed.

That's a third in a population whose norm would be 10%.

I don't personally know any lefties who play left hand guitar & I only know one lefty who will just pick up a right-handed guitar & turn it over to play.

This is by no mean a truly scientific survey - but I've known one heck of a lot of musos in my 60 years & been privileged to play with some truly great ones.


There are 5 answers so far with different viewpoints on this matter. Well here is my take on it:

I teach the violin and have done for many years. Now and then a left-handed student arrive. First let me say that violin is of course a different instrument than ukulele, but an obvious similarity is that you use the left hand to stop the string and the right hand to make the string give a sound.

On violin you feel very strongly that you are producing the actual sound with the right hand which means with the bow. With bowing techniques there are a lot of ways you can create the quality of the sound and/or the type of tone colour when you play. For a right handed person it feels natural to use the right hand for bowing.

Then a left-handed student turns up. Ideally speaking you would swap the hands and use the left hand for bowing, but a main problem here is that you would need a violin built for left-handed people, because it is not sufficient to just re-string the violin, putting the strings in the opposite sequence. There are other things which need to be changed, I won't go into delails on that here just say that my point is that it will be an expensive violin. It will be difficult to find a student violin built like that and also difficult for a professional violin. But it is possible.

Therefore when I get a left-handed student I give the student a normal violin and let him/her get going on that. In most cases it actually works out fine. But I did get a student where it simply would not work that way. So I took a normal student violin and changed the strings around so it could be played left-handed. It is not the optimal violin for a left-handed person, but a student will of course not spend a lot of money on a properly built left-handed violin as a beginner.

I do know of a professional cello player who plays on a left-handed cello. He plays in an orchestra, so he is sitting with his instrument differently from the other cello players. But it is an unusual situation, I think most players would work hard in order to play on a normal instrument. There are a lot of nice instruments out there which the musician could never buy or even try out if he/she needs a left-handed instrument, so it makes sense that you would prefer playing a right-handed instrument if at all possible.

It can take a harder work to built a great bowing technique for a left-handed person compared with a right-handed person when playing the normal way. But you would nevertheless only change to a left-handed instrument if that is the only way you can make it work.

@H K wrote:

The teacher refused, saying: - we don't have left handed ukulele teachers - we can only buy right hand ukulele - I don't have the time to teach two left handers in a class of 24 right handers - this is a world for right handers, you're kids need to learn how to live in it

I thought that was the most ignorant and uneducated reasoning from someone who calls themselves educators - more so an educator of music.

Yeah that seems like a rather ignorant and uneducated reasoning and it is illogical, because if he insists on teaching right-handed techniques to the left-handed students he does need to take care of the fact that they are left-handed. It could even turn out to be easier for him if they play a left-handed instrument because he can then teach them a technique that fits the hands in the normal way just mirrored. But it probably won't be realistic to find left-handed instruments. But you could at least say that if the teacher feels he can not cope with the situation he is honest by saying it.

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    When I started playing the cello in middle school there were two left-handers in the group. Our teacher encouraged them to practice both ways, but explained that unfortunately for orchestra (especially given our small practice area) they would have to play right-handed. It was hard enough with everyone playing right-handed for 4th graders to learn how to not stab or punch the people on either side of them. One dropped after a year and switched to flute. The other, I forgot was left-handed by high school. Decades later, this has stuck with me. It still seems unfair, but at least practical.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 18:24
  • @Kevin yes it seems unfair. The cello player I mentioned probably chose to play on a left handed cello because it wouldn't work out otherwise. Since he got a job in a professional orchestra it means that he must have won an audition where the judges have chosen him despite the unpractical set up in the orchestra. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 22:48

Would you ask for a piano to be re-strung the other way? I'm a left-hander, and tend to think of most instruments as requiring both hands, working together in tandem.

Both hands are doing rhythmic, positional work.

My right hand is not an inert stump: the idea that it's not up to doing difficult things is abhorrent to me. With practice, it'll get better. One of the benefits of learning an instrument is increased dexterity and co-ordination.

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    You are certainly right that both hands work together. But piano is quite different from ukulele, guitar and violin. On the piano you are striking the keys with both hands and thereby directly creating the sound with both hands. On those 3 other instruments you are actually creating the sound at the moment you are "activating" the string with the right hand whether you are plucking the string or doing it with a bow. That can be a very good reason that it can feel harder to do with the right hand for a left-handed person. Anyway you can take a look at my answer. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 21:29
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    With practice you can rub your belly and pat your head at the same time. With more practice you can switch which way you are rubbing and increase and decrease speed. With even more practice you can swap your hands. You could also start with your hands swapped in the first place. Think about how easy it is to swap once you already are an expert compared to how much more difficult it would have made learning the initial skill. If you are trying to encourage a child with an interest in music, why start them at a disadvantage.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 19:17

The guitar is a strange enough instrument that it may not matter. Both hands need to work in coordination and I think after some time guitarists naturally become ambidextrous. Would you suggest that since your kids are left handed the more complex tasks should be done with the left hand? If so then that should be the fretting hand and that is the right hand standard! On classical the right hand (strumming hand) can be tasked with more intricate work than the left (fretting) so perhaps you'd expect to switch it over. I am not sure that works to your benefit. I started at a young age and was taught on a standard instrument (left = fret, right = pick) and it felt uncomfortable for a while. I cannot imaging the guitar feeling comfortable for a beginner no matter what. Perhaps the struggles are because it's new and not because it's a right handed guitar.

Many guitarists switch hands once in a while just to stimulate the brain. My first guitar teacher used to say that if you ever feel frustrated with your progress just play the guitar backwards for a while and you'll remember what it felt like to be a beginner.

After enough years of practice most of us get introduced to two hand tapping techniques, and other things that make us explore alternate ways of holding the instrument. There are schools of thought that teach one to hold the guitar vertically like an upright bass or cello. I know this is getting off topic but the point is even if you are playing a standard guitar you can hold it in many ways with varying degrees of comfort or discomfort.

The response of the teacher might be a real turn off and the way you present it comes off as hostile. But what would you have any teacher do with limited resources and time? You're not likely to get individual attention in a large class environment for anything. If they really want to play a private teacher is the way to go and a good one will help students explore different ways of holding and playing the instrument.

Maybe introduce them to Mike Batio, he plays both right and left handed at the same time.


One of the mistakes I see a lot of people make, has to do with expectations that are higher than they should realistically be. Expecting a teacher that learned right-handed to be proficient at teaching left handed is probably expecting more than is realistic. I don't know any right handed instructors who have any experience actually playing left handed, and in my own opinion, experience is important. How can we figure that a right handed person is going to understand the issues a left handed person faces when they pick up an instrument and have to learn everything backwards when they have not experienced these issues themselves. We are presented with two options, to learn what the available instructor is able to teach us or to find an instructor who can teach us in the manner we feel is more appropriate to our natural tendencies. In a public education situation, the second option will probably be very difficult to accomplish. That said, each point you made in your statement is valid, but the solutions are somewhat inconvenient.

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    Theoretically at least, a l.h. person learning on a l.h. instrument should be no different from a r.h. person learning on a r.h. instrument. Everything else being equal.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 16:21
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    @Tim-Learning guitar often includes study of chord diagrams and scale patterns for guitar which require a mirror image if you're a lefty. I'm not a lefty, but it seems reasonable to believe, learning resources for lefties are probably only developed by left handed players, and might be less available to the learner. What are your thoughts? Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:10
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    Of course everything is opposite. I've had lefties as students, and like everything else, have adapted things to suit. My studio also had a huge mirror on one wall, which I believe was quite helpful!
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:15
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    @Tim-I'm not the teacher that you are, not by a long shot, but I've had to show my lefty students how to compose their own chord diagrams and scale patterns in order for them to have equal resources for learning. I like the idea of using a mirror for them to watch my hands when I play right-handed. I think I'll copy. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 18:31

I am right-handed and I can play few things on a guitar (not a real guitarist at any rate). Long ago, I purpousedly rewired a guitar backwards and learned to play one of those things as left-handed. Rather a brainfucking experience, but nothing impossible.

Then again, the right hand is slower.

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