Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chords And Finger Positions For Playing Upside Down

In my last post I started describing how I make basic chords for playing left handed guitar upside down. Actually we're playing a right handed guitar upside down left handed. I ended my last post with the D chord so I will continue with the E chord.
The E is a three finger chord. We press the A,D and G strings and leave the other strings open. On the second fret of the A string, press down with the third finger of your right hand. On the second fret of the D string, press down with the second finger of your right hand. On the first fret of the G string, press down with your index finger.
The F chord may take some practice but I have found out that in the long run, it is easier to make this chord this way for me. It will also help in learning to make Barre chords which I will get into later. Lay your index finger across all six strings on the first fret(It may help to look at the picture and diagram below). With your index finger pressed firmly, press your fourth(pinkie) finger on the third fret of the A string. Press your third finger on the third fret of the D string. Press your second finger on the second fret of the G string.
The G chord is probably the most common chord used and isn't too hard to make. Press the third fret of the low E string with the third finger. Press the second fret of the A string with the index finger. Press the third fret of the high E string with the middle finger.
I've covered most of the basic chords. This should be enough to give you a head start and begin learning on your own.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Left Handed Guitar Chords And Finger Positions II

In my first post on chords and finger positions I didn't go into any detail and left a few left handed guitar players confused. I will describe how I make some basic chords and you can compare them with the pictures that I have on the side bar. These are not left handed guitar lessons, but only my interpretation of how I play the guitar left handed. If this post can help you get started and learn more on your own, than I've done my job. I do offer personal Audio(not video) lessons for a price. You can e-mail me if you are interested.
Let's start with the A chord. You can make this chord one of two ways by either using your first three fingers or just your index finger. I do it both ways, but mostly using three fingers. Here are the strings EADGBE. The A chord is pressed on the second fret of the DG and B strings. When I make a three finger A chord, I press my index finger on the 2nd fret of the B string. My middle finger goes on the 2nd fret of the G string, and my third(ring) finger goes on the 2nd fret of the D string. The one finger method may be more difficult for a beginner because you risk muffling the other strings. You simply press the DBG strings on the 2nd fret with the upper part of your index finger. You want the chord to sound full, so try not to muffle the other strings. Make the chord and strum up starting from the A string with your left hand.
I don't have a picture or diagram of the B chord up yet but will get into that one later. Let's do a C chord. I like to strum all six strings so the picture that I have of a C chord isn't actually a real C because I added a fourth note to it. The picture shows a "pinkie" on the 3rd fret of the low E string. I do that because it blends in with the rest of the chord and sounds very melodic. You can use it if you want but I'll explain the rest of the chord. We will be pressing the A,D and B strings. Use your third(ring) finger and press the 3rd fret of the A string. Press the 2nd fret of the D string with your middle finger, and press the 1st fret of the B string with your index finger. Strum the guitar with your left hand, try not to muffle the strings. If you can do it well enough, try pressing the 3rd fret of the low E string with your "pinkie" while you are making the chord.
For The D chord we will be pressing the G,B and high E strings. Press the 2nd fret of the G string with your middle finger. Press the 3rd fret of the B string with your third(ring) finger. Press the 2nd fret of the high E string with your index finger. Strum up from the A string with your left hand.
I will get into some other chords later on but this should give you enough to practice with. I will also get more into left handed guitar techniques and coordination of left handed strumming.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Left Handed Guitar Chords vs. Right Handed Upside-Down Chords

I was checking out some sites that link back to Left Handed Guitar Player, and came across a left handed message board. Someone was looking for a web site that features chords and/or tabulator for the left handed guitar player. One of the posters left a link to this site and asked if this helps. Of course some know-it-all responded by saying that this site is pretty much useless. He said something to the effect that the chord diagrams that I have on the side bar are ineffective and wrong. In particular the C chord. He said that it was wrong because it is actually a C/G chord. He said that the photos don't match the diagrams, and that the diagrams are right handed diagrams.
Here's the deal. The pictures and diagrams do match because I am playing a right handed guitar, I also play the right handed Bass guitar and mandolin this way, thus right handed diagrams. The only difference is in knowing which fingers to use to make the chords. They are printed beneath the diagram. This site is not about playing a left handed guitar, but rather playing a right handed guitar left handed-upside down. I may have failed to name the strings on the diagram, but if you know anything about it, the nut of the guitar is always shown at the top of the picture and you can figure out that the far left string is the low E and the far right string is the high E. The diagram matches the picture.
When I first posted these pictures and diagrams I said that this the way that I make these chords. So what if it is a C/G. That's the way that I play a C and it sounds like a C. They are not etched in stone and there is not a published syllabus for learning to play a guitar left-handed upside down that I know of. What I print are only suggestions that you can take or leave. If you choose to play the guitar in this manner, it might be easier to use my suggestions. If you came here looking for left handed guitar lessons then yes this site may be "useless" to you but not everyone. I get lots of e-mail thanking me for this resource and I very much appreciate it.
People want to learn the guitar because they want to be able to make music. How they get there is up to them, not some snob with an opinion about what is right and wrong. Many people have defied the odds when told that they were doing something wrong. I named a few in a previous article so I'm not going to beat a dead horse.

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