Many world greats of music have done it, and they have done it extraordinarily well when you think of names like Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. This article is not meant to be a moan, but to show Lefty a little solidarity and encourage her. Perhaps it will also help right-handed musicians understand the frustrations and problems of their left-handed band colleagues. Or he provides a basis for discussion to solve problems together.
1. Playing on a right-handed guitar
Sometimes a left-hander has no choice but to turn over the strings of a right-handed guitar and play the instrument in this way. Most left-handers experience this at one point or another, either for financial reasons, because there was no other instrument, or simply for aesthetic reasons. This choice has its weaknesses. Imagine the following: You start to play and immediately the sound and volume change because your left arm scrubs against the potentiometers, your left elbow pushes against the cable and almost breaks the plug, the tuning buttons are hard to reach because all six are on the bottom of the headstock, the strings are not in tune either, because the bridge is the wrong way round, and so on.
2. Up & down are swapped depending on the instrument
This is especially true for left-handers when comparing stringed instruments with keyboard instruments. The brain gets a bit confused because playing the scale up on a piano means moving to the right and playing the scale up on a guitar means moving to the left. Maybe that’s the reason why some left-handed guitarists or bassists find it difficult on a keyboard to learn the instrument later in life …
3. A touch of enthusiasm, then disillusionment
Like any musician, you get a rush of enthusiasm as soon as you see an instrument that you want to play. This reaction is probably comparable to that of a dog who gets excited when he sees a ball or a rubber toy. We often encounter instruments in unexpected moments, for example when we see a guitar (or violin) slumbering on its stand in a corner of the room at a party. Your first thought: take it in your hand and play a piece or at least see it lying in your hand. For left-handers, these moments very often, almost always, lead to a bitter disappointment when it turns out that the instrument is only for right-handers. The party is over, go home and cry.
4. Illogical fingering tables
The average right-handed person has little trouble understanding fingering tables, because basically what you see on paper is what you see when you look down at the fingerboard and your gripping hand (left hand). But for a left-hander, a fingering chart is simply illogical because we see the deep E-string on the paper where the high E-string is on the fingerboard when we look down. Left-handed fingering tables exist, but much rarer. When a left-handed person learns from the beginning of his musical education how to read a right-handed table, the “spiritual changing of the strings” becomes flesh and blood. This usually only becomes a problem when the person started with a left-handed table.
5. It’s “all-right”
It’s no secret: this world is… well, right-handed. This also applies to instruments. Right-handers can enjoy a larger selection because there are simply more right-handers and they are produced for them and theirs.
Of course, we do not forget our leftys and it is important to us that we constantly expand our range in this area. If you need a special consultation, then you are welcome to call, e-mail or simply come by and test.
6. Left-handed lubrication
Any left-handed person will know what that is, at least since elementary school. You write with a fountain pen on a sheet of paper and when you continue writing, your hand smears what you just wrote. Now there’s ink on your hand and fingers, but also an elegant “motion blur” effect on the letters and words you’ve written. The same applies to musicians who write notes in a line system or tabs by hand. Pencil color is just as annoying …
7. Play live
If you play a left-handed string instrument (guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, etc.) and are planning a live set, you might want to consider positioning yourself on the right side of the stage within the band (also called “stage right” or “house left”, depending on the viewing direction). If you don’t do this, there is a higher chance that your headstock will collide with another instrument. Head plates are fragile and it’s not funny when they break. On the other hand, eye contact with the other band members is easier when your headstock is facing the middle of the stage. Not an easy decision …
8. Make your setups & repairs
Not many guitar technicians are left-handed or used to working with left-handed guitars. Look at it this way: To determine if a guitar feels good (playability, intonation, etc.), you need to be able to play it for a few minutes and evaluate its playability. A left-handed person may only trust a left-handed technician or guitar maker to adjust or repair his instrument to a professional level – and these people are hard to find and/or cost more. As a rule, you will, therefore, learn how to play by yourself. More work for left-handers!
9. Left-handed drummers work harder
If you play drums with the hi-hat on the right side of the kit and/or use the bass drum pedal with your left foot, you’ll either need your kit or you’ll have to change a lot before it can start in the rehearsal room or on a stage. On the other hand, it gives you a lot of arm and back muscles …
10. Reverse headstocks
All we left-handers can do when we see one is flinch and ask ourselves: “Why, why, Warum?”. We dream that our favorite brands build left-handed models and then bring a (right-handed) monster onto the market with an inverted headstock. I suspect that everyone has their aesthetic taste. We keep dreaming.
We hope to have talked all left-handers out of their souls. And a small appeal to all right-handers: Take your left-hander’s bandmate in your arms on August 13th, the international left-handers’ day. Happy making music!