I'm a "corrected" lefty, and honestly a little bitter about it

effzee

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I know there are a lot of natural left-handers out there who were forced into right-handedness when they were kids, it was a normal thing to do back in the day (I was born in '63).

I'm still 100% left-footed and do some things left-handed, without realizing it. My wife pointed out to me that I actually taught our daughter to tie her shoes left-handed, and I didn't even know that was a thing.

When I was in the US Army, I had to use a "lefty adapter" on my M16 to prevent the hot brass hitting me in my face. It was a big advantage when we had to collect our brass and mine was always in a neat little pile.

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 13 or 14. I plunked around on it for a couple of months, picking up songs from my records - probably the Bay City Rollers and early Beatles, lol.

I thought I was doing pretty well like that, and after my parents saw that I was "serious" about learning to play it, they sprung for guitar lessons. The teacher was a retired jazz player who lived in the neighborhood and I guess was just teaching for some pocket change. He was boring and I disliked him immediately.

But he also did something that I'll never forget, or forgive. On our first meeting, he pointed out that I was holding the guitar "upside down". I had been playing a righty guitar left handed, without knowing it! It felt perfectly normal to me and I thought I was actually pretty good at it, at least I felt happy with my own playing.

Instead of telling my parents that I needed a lefty guitar, he just flipped it over and showed me how to hold it "correctly". And of course I just believed him that this was "correct". And then guitar playing became really difficult for me.

I only stuck it out with his lessons for maybe two months. And my parents weren't about to pay for another teacher after I quit on this one. So, I learned virtually nothing from him, but I've struggled ever since then to get that effortless feeling to playing that I had on my upside down Sears acoustic guitar.

Can anyone else relate to this?
 

String Tree

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I know there are a lot of natural left-handers out there who were forced into right-handedness when they were kids, it was a normal thing to do back in the day (I was born in '63).

I'm still 100% left-footed and do some things left-handed, without realizing it. My wife pointed out to me that I actually taught our daughter to tie her shoes left-handed, and I didn't even know that was a thing.

When I was in the US Army, I had to use a "lefty adapter" on my M16 to prevent the hot brass hitting me in my face. It was a big advantage when we had to collect our brass and mine was always in a neat little pile.

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 13 or 14. I plunked around on it for a couple of months, picking up songs from my records - probably the Bay City Rollers and early Beatles, lol.

I thought I was doing pretty well like that, and after my parents saw that I was "serious" about learning to play it, they sprung for guitar lessons. The teacher was a retired jazz player who lived in the neighborhood and I guess was just teaching for some pocket change. He was boring and I disliked him immediately.

But he also did something that I'll never forget, or forgive. On our first meeting, he pointed out that I was holding the guitar "upside down". I had been playing a righty guitar left handed, without knowing it! It felt perfectly normal to me and I thought I was actually pretty good at it, at least I felt happy with my own playing.

Instead of telling my parents that I needed a lefty guitar, he just flipped it over and showed me how to hold it "correctly". And of course I just believed him that this was "correct". And then guitar playing became really difficult for me.

I only stuck it out with his lessons for maybe two months. And my parents weren't about to pay for another teacher after I quit on this one. So, I learned virtually nothing from him, but I've struggled ever since then to get that effortless feeling to playing that I had on my upside down Sears acoustic guitar.

Can anyone else relate to this?
I used to play in a band with a lefty keyboard player.
He played Guitar on a couple of songs exactly as you do.
It looked pretty weird but, he got the job done.
And that is what matters the most.
 

effzee

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I used to play in a band with a lefty keyboard player.
He played Guitar on a couple of songs exactly as you do.
It looked pretty weird but, he got the job done.
And that is what matters the most.
Oh, I don't do that now! I learned to do it "correctly" back then and I've played right handed ever since. That's the issue that I was writing about.
 

loopfinding

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I think you’re overthinking it. There are no left-handed violins, violas, cellos, contrabasses (nevermind pianos, wind instruments, etc). And if I remember correctly, there was a study that noted the percentage of left-handed concertmasters was higher than left-handed people in the general population. If anything, it’s an advantage to have the dominant hand on the fingerboard.

As a righty, playing guitar has made my left hand almost as dexterous as my right. I still can’t write with it, but I do/prefer a lot of stuff in daily life that non-musicians who are righties don’t do with it.

Playing an instrument is awkward in the beginning, so flipping it at that point in your development probably was just a marginal difference that would even out later anyway.
 
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buster poser

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I can only relate through my father and many friends, and a young person who works for me. All I can say is, I get it... I am slightly OCD about my hands and how I use them, and as a kid was fascinated with ambidexterity/left-handedness on account of my dad. My mom says you folks are in more accidents, more likely to fall, etc., because of the orientation of the world toward us righties.

But at least they're not trying to correct it anymore; seems barbaric. They tried to drill it out of my poor pops (born in 1948), but he had dyslexia as well, so they focused on that problem when he was a kid and let him write however he could. He has perfect penmanship, writes* either top to bottom with the page rotated 90 degrees clockwise, or else fully upside down. Dude is a savant.

*originally had that as 'rights' lol. Apple and tree maybe
 
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8barlouie

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My father taught me at a very young age (4) that I was a defective human being for holding my crayons in my left hand while coloring in my coloring book. So convinced was he that I was a factory reject, that he actually took to the doctor to find out if there could be a remedy. The doctor told him the remedy was to leave me the bloody hell alone!

Ever since that day, I vowed not to let any right handed person bully me into using anything the wrong way around. That goes double for guitar.

I’m a lefty. I play guitar left handed as well as every other aspect of life. I’m happy with that. Can’t get lefty guitars, you say? I have 22 guitars and love them all. Oh, you say I should play righty anyway because my most dexterous hand is my left? Good, go and switch all your guitars over to left hand then, righty! Let me know how that works out for you.
 

KeithDavies 100

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I'm left-handed. The first guitar I bought was right-handed and, not knowing any different, that's the way I learned to play. When I discovered people like Albert King and Jimi played left-handed, I did experiment with switching over, but I couldn't get my head around it at all by that point! I've always played right-handed as a result. Would I be better if I had learned left-handed from the beginning? I'm not so sure. You use both hands either way. Maybe my strumming would be better and my fretting worse, or the other way round?

I've always found it quite interesting though. The world is indeed "designed" for right-handed people, and they don't even think about it. When I was a kid at school, I found scissors really difficult to use. Kids scissors aren't that sharp, of course, which doesn't help, but if you use them left-handed you have to do a clever thing where you squeeze with your fingers to pull the blades together, because otherwise a relaxed left-handed grip tends to push them apart. I just learned to do this automatically, as all left-handed kids presumably do, and thought nothing of it until I was an adult and once saw my dad confronted with a left-handed pair of scissors, and of course he couldn't get them to do a damn thing! It was hilarious!
 

Area51

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I know there are a lot of natural left-handers out there who were forced into right-handedness when they were kids, it was a normal thing to do back in the day (I was born in '63).

I'm still 100% left-footed and do some things left-handed, without realizing it. My wife pointed out to me that I actually taught our daughter to tie her shoes left-handed, and I didn't even know that was a thing.

When I was in the US Army, I had to use a "lefty adapter" on my M16 to prevent the hot brass hitting me in my face. It was a big advantage when we had to collect our brass and mine was always in a neat little pile.

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 13 or 14. I plunked around on it for a couple of months, picking up songs from my records - probably the Bay City Rollers and early Beatles, lol.

I thought I was doing pretty well like that, and after my parents saw that I was "serious" about learning to play it, they sprung for guitar lessons. The teacher was a retired jazz player who lived in the neighborhood and I guess was just teaching for some pocket change. He was boring and I disliked him immediately.

But he also did something that I'll never forget, or forgive. On our first meeting, he pointed out that I was holding the guitar "upside down". I had been playing a righty guitar left handed, without knowing it! It felt perfectly normal to me and I thought I was actually pretty good at it, at least I felt happy with my own playing.

Instead of telling my parents that I needed a lefty guitar, he just flipped it over and showed me how to hold it "correctly". And of course I just believed him that this was "correct". And then guitar playing became really difficult for me.

I only stuck it out with his lessons for maybe two months. And my parents weren't about to pay for another teacher after I quit on this one. So, I learned virtually nothing from him, but I've struggled ever since then to get that effortless feeling to playing that I had on my upside down Sears acoustic guitar.

Can anyone else relate to this?
I'm a lefty in my mid 50s and about the only complaint I have is how they taught me to write. Left handed, but I smear whatever I'm writing...

From what I've read there are about 10 degrees of being left handed and only 3 for right. What that means is most right handed people are very right handed whereas most left handed people do things with both hands. One way I know to look is watching people eat. The majority of (very) right handed people will switch the fork to the left hand when they pick up a knife to cut using the right. Most left handed people will just pick the knife up and cut with the right hand. Unless of course they are very left handed!

I never had your issues, I always played the guitar right handed. It was just natural for me. When I was a kid they did buy me left handed baseball glove (which goes on the right hand!). Then my dad noticed I would take of the glove and use the right hand to throw when I had to throw far or fast and bought me right handed glove. Same batting, I have more power from the right side. Every now and then somebody points out something new to me. Like it wasn't until I was in my 30s when someone pointed out I play pool left handed.

So I do things mixed, I'm not very left handed. It seems most of the fine motor control is left handed and power is right. I do tell people I'm Bi-dexterous as opposed to ambidextrous because I don't do things equally well with both hands.
 

FaithNicole

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I am of the opinion that you can learn and do well with either hand. People use their 'dominant" simply because that the more natural easy one. non-dominant is not a lesser, just different. The initial learning period is easier leaning on the dominant hand. It takes more work, and a bit more frustration, to learn with the non-dominant - not impossible. I used to be more ambidextrous then I got lazy and my right took over. My left hand is worthless now, the only thing it does well now is my bass runs :) OH, and I switch to left as needed when playing pool (@Area51 reminded me of that with their post)
 

haggardfan1

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Wow. Can I ever relate.

My parents also "corrected" me as a child (oddly, I was born in 1963 same as OP) and although I am now mostly right-handed, I do a great many things lefty. I cannot shoot a long gun or brush my teeth right handed. I can play pool either way, but predominantly left.

I didn't know that I could eat with either hand interchangeably, until my first wife's father noticed me doing it.

However, I've played guitar right handed all my life and I guess that's just the way it was meant to be.

Lots of us with a similar story here.
 

SixStringSlinger

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I’m a lefty who plays righty, only because my first guitar teacher (as an elective in high school) suggested I try it that way just because it would be that much easier for me to find a guitar later on. It stuck and I don’t feel I’ve suffered for it. The same thing happened earlier on when my mom first started showing me how to use a computer. I wanted to mouse with my left, but my mom made me try it with the right just because any computer I came across in the wild would be set up that way.

For what it’s worth, I was never “forced” into right-handedness. I was just encouraged to try it in these two cases, sacrificing immediate convenience for later convenience. In everything else (writing, eating etc.) I was left to do as I was naturally inclined.

Anyway, I reject the notion of “handedness” in guitars, as well as most instruments. Both hands are equally important and are asked to do things with an accuracy and endurance that is learned rather than natural in the vast majority of cases. Even the most basic strumming/picking or fretting (however you choose to define handedness on a guitar) requires a degree of strength/stamina/skill that one is typically not born with.

You may well have a preference for holding a guitar one way or another, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with handedness.

That being said (and historical cultural tendencies notwithstanding), however, I believe you should have been encouraged to hold your guitar in whatever way seemed right to you, especially since you’d already been at it for a while.
 




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