Thursday, December 20, 2007

Left Handed People Using Right Handed Products

In my early days of playing a right handed guitar left handed I was a sales rep for a local wholesale co. I drove around all day visiting customers and clients filling orders and selling new products. This was before cell phones. I had to stop several times a day to make business phone calls from a pay phone. Most of these calls required for me to write notes and to go through catalogs as I was talking on the phone. I hold my notebook in my left hand, and I write with my left hand. I also hold the phone up to my left ear. I keep my change in my left pants pocket. So here's the scenario, I need to make a phone call so I pull over to a pay phone. I have to take my books with me so I get out of the car with the books in my left hand. I then need to find a quarter in my pocket to put into the phone so I have to either put the books down or hold them in my right hand to get to my pocket. Okay I have the quarter in my hand. I pick up the receiver and put the money into the phone. I put the phone up to my left ear and get ready to dial. Wait a minute, I find out that I either must dial with my awkward right hand or hold the phone to my ear with my shoulder while I use my left hand to dial so I opt for the shoulder technique. Guess what? the cable between the phone and receiver is now in my face and I can't do anything but move the receiver to my right shoulder. The call is made, now I find out that I need to write something down and look up a price at the same time. By now I have the receiver back up to my left ear while holding it with my right hand crossed over. I have to put the pencil down while I flip through the pages of my book. Total chaos because I don't know how to use a right handed pay phone.
What does this story have to do with being a left handed guitar player? Everything. I can handle a right handed pay phone now because after so much frustration, I developed a system to deal with it. No need to explain it now because pay phones are irrelevant these days and I want to stay on subject. When I first picked up a right handed guitar I had the same problem. Total chaos. I was told that I needed a left handed guitar to learn but I couldn't afford one. They are usually a bit more expensive than a standard right handed guitar because the manufacturer must retool equipment to make them and the hand made ones require different tools and jigs to make the different components. Besides that there is not as much of a demand for left handed instruments so it is probably not economically feasible.
Here is my point. I use right handed tools all of the time from power saws to scissors and have found a way to adapt. Just because they were made in a standard way without the left handed person in mind doesn't mean that they can't be used safely by a left handed person. If you can afford left handed tools by all means buy them but don't complain about right handed products because that isn't exactly a top priority in peoples minds of injustices. They usually just tell you to quit whining. I don't whine because I defy them and use the products however they are made.

Ben Willis demonstrating the "left handed upside down guitar method".

A chord

B Chord

C Chord

D Chord

E Chord

F Chord

G Chord

B Barre Chord

D Barre Chord

Contact Info

E-mail Ben Willis at