Teaching guitar to a lefty?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by doc, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. doc

    doc Member

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    I have a friend who wants some lessons from me. I'm not a CGT (certified guitar teacher) but probably certifiable. Anyhoo...
    He's a lefty. He knows some chords and basics, and has a guitar set up for left handed play (upside down for me). Any tips on how the approach should be different in teaching? It sounds like a non issue until you really start trying to get a handle on it, then you realize that it does cause some problems.
     
  2. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    No difference in the approach. What ever chord or neck diagram notation he will come across is for RH players, other notation (tab, standard) has no bias either way. (I know there is a lefty book of chords out there, but I'd avoid that.)
     
  3. bobgoblin

    bobgoblin Supporting Member

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    I don't see why you would change a thing.
     
  4. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    There is a school of thought tha tit is wprth teaching lefties to be righties. This came from a leftie who wished he'ed learned righty. Lots of pople have, some quite famous.
     
  5. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Except to make him play righty. Only half kidding....more practical that way, buying and playing other's guitars.... I think Ric Emmett is a lefty who plays righty.

    Check this:
    http://www.guitartips.addr.com/tip55.html
     
  6. henry_the_horse

    henry_the_horse Member

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    What do B.B. King, Billy Corgan, Glen Campbell, Béla Fleck, Glenn Frey, Robert Plant, Ringo Starr, Freddie Mercury and Paul Simon have in common? They all are lefthanded musicians who play guitar righthanded. I too, but not at the level of B.B.King et al. Moreover, most classical musicians (i.e. bowed and plucked strings), if not all, play instruments righthanded.

    Regards
     
  7. reeced

    reeced Member

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    As a lefty who learned from a righty, the most important thing for me was to change my perspective ie. to look on the teacher's guitar as a mirror of my guitar. Once I'd done this, then it became much easier to copy the fingerings. Obviously, for the teacher, the same perspective should apply.

    The same perspective can be used by the student to read (righthanded) chord diagrams.
     
  8. Soundhound

    Soundhound Member

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    add to that list Duane Allman. And me. :)

    In everything but guitar, I might as well not have a right hand. When I played basketball I heavily favored my left hand, I can't throw a baseball at all with my right, but can pretty consistently hit a cutoff man (ok, could hit a cutoff man) from the outfield.

    I think it definitely affected my guitar playing. I have good vibrato and control and always have, but have always had trouble with some elements of picking. I'm not sure what kind of guitar player I would have been had I learned lefty. Definitely different...


     
  9. cugel

    cugel Member

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    lefty playing lefty here...
    the biggest problem is finding good guitars!
    that and wishing to look like my heros were the reasons i wish i would have learned right handed. i am shallow arent i
    these days i have accepted my lefty-ness
    and i think i approach learning things a bit different that righties espcially reversing things, probably from watching rightie mom and dad doing things like cooking, cleaning writing etc.

    i am very glad that jimi didnt learn righty
     
  10. stevel

    stevel Member

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    +1 for the "mirror" idea. You, as the teacher, should work a little in the mirror and you'll get used to looking "backwards" and be able to see what they're doing.

    I had my left-handed students practice in a mirror to get used to seeing righties, and when we did lessons, we sat across from each other (usually, I'm more "beside" a righty).

    In the original post though, you said "upside down" - if the student has the strings upside down (low E closest to the floor) that creates another problem - everything has to be "rotated" 180 degrees which is a little trickier.

    I don't have a problem having lefties play lefty, but I think it's going to be more of a problem for them if they play upside-down strings too (unless they want to be a Dick Dale disciple or something).

    Steve
     
  11. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    I would argue the list of lefty playing righty guitarists listed fall more toward being ambidextrious. In our exceptionally right handed society, lefties pretty much have to develop into functional ambis or they really can struggle. My best friend growing up thru college is a lefty. I got to see it first hand (hehe).

    I read some reseach on this last year when the topic came up on a jazz group. The idea is the fretting hand is more about gross movements, whereas the picking hand is more about fine motor skills. The study concluded you want your dominant hand doing the fine work to maximize your skill.

    Not to say it can't be done the other way, but by doing so you are working against your nature.
     
  12. henry_the_horse

    henry_the_horse Member

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    That fine motor skill in your dominant hand is the cause we lefthanders dress slower than righthaners, as we have trouble strapping buttons of shirts and jackets.
    August 13 was the International Lefthander Day. Congratulations to all of you lefthanders living in a righthanded society. Bless you all lefthanders writing with ink in hebrew and arabic.

    Regards
     
  13. action_hack

    action_hack Member

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    I'm a left handed guitar teacher. All of my current students are right handed and they have no problems learning from a south paw. In fact I think it helps! When the student looks across from me they are looking at a mirror image. Our guitars line up with each others. So it's very easy for them to look and copy what I am doing. They don't need to flip it around in their head to add extra confussion. I learned from rightys and found it very easy to copy them because that was the same set up.

    BTW, us lefties know that the most ignorant people in the world are the righties. lol
     
  14. meganutt7

    meganutt7 Member

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    As another lefty teacher with primarily right handed students, I agree wholeheartedly.. and the same goes for me when I was learning (from righties...)
     
  15. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Mirroring is great. I've thought about getting a lefty guitar to help with beginning students.
     

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