Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Left Handed Guitar Lessons

There are ads all over the Internet offering left handed guitar lessons. I have never checked them out personally because I am not a left handed guitar player per se, I am a right handed guitar player who happens to play left handed. I hope that isn't too confusing but if you read this blog on a regular basis then you know what I'm talking about.I took guitar lessons once. They didn't last very long. I was in my mid-twenties and was already playing on a regular basis and wanted to take advanced lessons to improve myself. I got this guy's name from the local music store and called him up. After asking him if he wouldn't mind teaching a left handed upside down guitar picker, he became excited about the challenge and agreed. The guy was really good and found it not so difficult to teach a leftie like myself.
To make a long story short, in the few lessons that I took I learned the basics of finger picking and began teaching myself from there. Like I said at the beginning, there are plenty of ads on the Internet for left handed guitar lessons, but it hasn't always been that way. I'm talking about straight up left handed guitar and not like the way that I play. It seems like most guitar teachers will not or cannot teach a leftie how to play. I was a guitar teacher at one time and taught guitar for right handed people with no problem whatsoever. Most of my students were children. Can a right handed person teach a left handed person how to eat with a fork? To tie their shoes? It is all relative. It boils down to the teacher being so used to the status quo that they are convinced that their way is the only way. The teacher is not the one paying for the lessons and you shouldn't conform to make his or her job easier. You wouldn't let a waiter tell you what you're going to eat. The bottom line is that if you think that you need to take lessons to play a left handed guitar or in an extreme case like mine, pay someone to teach you how to play a right handed guitar upside down then it may be an up hill battle to find a teacher who is willing to try. Never let them charge you more because you are left handed because I know for a fact that it is no more difficult to teach a left handed person than a right handed person.


  1. Hi, I am right handed but I play left handed and I was wondering if there were any websites or anything like that to help me learn to teach myself. Thank you very much.

  2. There are some web sites that have left handed chord patterns. I don't know if the're free or not. As far as playing a right handed guitar upside down, I haven't found any other than this one. Ben

  3. Hi Ben,

    I'm stoked to find your blog, and to see some of the various ideas around playing guitar right handed and upside down. Thats how I am learning the guitar, and I've been having doubts about wether to continue this style- the thought of giving up everything I've learnt, restringing and starting again is too depressing. Finding your website has given me the confirmation I need that it is possible to learn in this way, and that I'm not alone!

    My upside-down playing came about by accident, just by being around standard right handed guitars, and not being able to restring (they wern't mine), I learnt a few basic chords and could strum along with basic melodies. That was fun- and not much harder really than watching right handers going through the same learning curve. I followed with Barre chords and one thing lead to another... I never really felt the need to get a left handed guitar.

    But I felt like I reached a cross roads, I wanted to do more than just strum rhythm and chords, I wanted to learn more lead and other licks. Thats when things get a bit tricky. However, I'm finding that its starting to happen, and with practice I'm getting better all the time. I don't think my learning time is any slower than average right handers at the same level.

    I'm finding that I can follow standard RH tab ok, and find my own fingering to suit, I can watch video tutorials and its not too hard to transpose the notes upside down.

    A question for you: do you find you have a different style to most guitarists because of the inverse strings? I'm finding a few cool fingerpicking type riffs where you can roll a bass-line with the easily accessible low E string for instance...

    Anyways, thanks for the effort in putting your website and info out there,



  4. Thanks for the comment Lance. You just described what this blog is all about. You don't have a disadvantage. I read right handed tab all the time. Transposing isn't hard.

    The only difference in style may be in finger picking. For example, I can't "Travis pick", because my thumb is on the wrong side of my hand. I use my middle finger for base notes and play the melody with a pick between the thumb and forefinger. So I can finger pick, but not like Travis. Thanks, Ben


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