Saturday, April 12, 2008

Left Handed Or Just Lazy?

Just thought that I would talk about an experience that I had last week as a left handed guitar player playing a right handed guitar and maybe some of you other lefties can identify with it. I'm not whining, I'm just curious. The whole point of this site is to adapt to a so-called handicap and not whine about it.
I recorded a new song that I had written two years ago and learned a valuable lesson from it. The first thing I did was to lay down the rhythm guitar, bass and drum tracks which I had very little problem doing. The problem came when I was ready to record the lead guitar part. This is an acoustic guitar lead by the way. I previously worked out the lead and thought that I wouldn't need much practice before recording. After about thirty takes I decided that I wasn't ready to record this lead. I kept rehearsing until the tips of my fingers were so sore that I couldn't firmly hold the chords which added another problem of excess string noise and muffling. I had to stop playing altogether for a couple of days while my fingers healed but eventually got the lead lick on "tape" to the point that it was acceptable.
After thinking about this I started wondering if the fact that I play a right handed guitar left handed and upside down contributed to the problem or if it was just poor planning. The song that I recorded is in the key of B minor. I had a capo on the second fret and played the lead out of an A minor position. Most of the lead part is played around the A minor and D minor chord positions, which for the way that I play would mean that heavy emphasis is put on the D, G, B and high E strings. That would mean that I will do most of the "picking" toward the top of the sound hole of the guitar instead of the bottom like a right handed player would do. With my picking hand in that position it would be very easy to accidentally muffle the strings with the palm or side of your hand. Couple that with sore fingers on my right hand and you have a recipe for disaster.
Like I said I eventually got it down after letting my fingers heal and re-practicing the lick until I was confident that it wouldn't take so much time to record. If anyone has had a similar problem please leave a comment. I'd like to hear about it.

I've been busy trying to find sponsors for this site so we can expand and offer services to the left handed musician. I will publish updates whenever possible. If you would like to contribute information or articles that would benefit the left handed musician of any instrument let me know.
How to play a right handed guitar left handed is still my top priority but I want to offer resources for other instruments too.

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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
bwillismusic@gmail.com