Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

Are you a guitarist who plays both left and right handed guitars? If yes, then you might want to check out these differences.

Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

Guitarists often play their instruments using either their left or right hand. The choice depends on whether they are playing chords or single notes.

For example, a chord played with the left hand requires the player to move his/her fingers from the fretboard to the strings. 

On the other hand, a chord played with a right hand only requires moving the finger from the string to the frets.

To understand more about the differences between the left handed and right handed guitar, continue reading!

What Is The Difference Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar?

It may be easy to assume that there are not many differences between the left handed and right handed guitar, but that is not the case. In actuality, these two guitars have many differences. 

For those who do not know much about the left handed guitar, you may just see it as an upside down guitar, however you may be surprised to learn that there is much more that goes into this instrument.

Continue reading below to find out just what makes these two guitars different from the other.

Strings

Left handed guitar: The strings of a left handed guitar are placed closer together. As such, it is easier for the player to get his/her fingers close enough to the strings without having to stretch too far.

Right handed guitar: The strings are placed further apart. This makes it difficult for the player to get their fingers close enough to the string without stretching too much.

Neck Angle

Left handed guitar: It has a lower neck angle than a right handed guitar because the player can rest his/her index finger on the neck comfortably.

Right handed guitar : Its neck angle is higher than that of the left handed guitar because the player needs to lean forward to place his/her index finger onto the neck.

Body Shape

Left handed guitar: Because its body is narrower, the player can easily reach all the frets.

Right handed guitar; Its body is wider so the player must bend down to reach all the freets.

Pick Up Point

Left handed guitar: Index finger

Right handed guitar: Middle finger

Frets

Left handed guitar: All the frets are located closer together. Therefore, it is easy for the player to reach them with just one hand.

Right handed guitar.: All the frets are spaced farther apart. Thus, the player needs to use two hands to reach them.

Finger Placement

Left handed guitar: Fingers are placed in a straight line.

Right handed guitar: Fingers have an arc shape.

String Length

Left handed guitar: They are shorter than those of a right handed guitar.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of a left handed guitar is better than that of a right handed guitar because there is less interference between the strings.

Playing Technique

Left handed guitar: Players need to be careful not to press down hard on the strings when plucking them.

Right handed guitar: Players need to apply pressure evenly across the strings.

Overall Feel

Left handed guitar: A left handed guitar feels lighter than a right handed guitar due to its narrow body.

Do You Have To Be Left Handed To Play A Left Handed Guitar?

Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

No, you do not have to be left handed to play a left handed guitar.

If you want, you can still learn how to play a left handed instrument even though you are right handed.

However, if you want to master the guitar, you may want to consider buying a left handed guitar. This way, you won’t have to worry about changing your technique.

Is It Harder To Play The Guitar Left-Handed?

Yes, it is harder to play the guitar left-handed than right-handed.

If you want to learn how to play the guitar left-handed, then you should practice using your dominant hand first. Then, gradually switch over to the other hand.

If you are already familiar with playing the guitar left-handed, you will find that switching back to the right-handed position takes some time.

How Can I Practice More Easily?

Practicing is always fun, but it can also be frustrating at times. If you want to practice more easily, here are some tips:

Practice slowly. You don’t have to rush through practicing. Slow down and focus on each note.

Use a metronome. Set a slow tempo (e.g., 60 bpm) and try to keep up with it.

Use a recording device. Record yourself as you play along with the song. Listen to what you played and correct any mistakes.

Try different songs. Try playing different songs by different artists.

Play along with music videos. Watch music videos and see if you can play along with them.

Try learning chords. Chords are easier to remember than single notes. Learn some basic chords and strumming patterns.

Why Do Lefties Choose To Play Right Handed Guitars?

Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

Some people who are naturally left-handed choose to learn the guitar right handed. There are many reasons why they might make this decision.

For example, they feel comfortable holding their guitar in their right hand. Or, they think that they would get tired faster while playing the guitar right-handed compared to the left-handed position.

What Are Some Tips For Learning How To Play the Guitar Left Handed?

1. Start With the Basics

First, start out with the basics. Get familiar with the fretboard layout and finger placement.

2. Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

Once you know the basics, use your non-dominant hand. It’s okay to use both hands together.

3. Switch Hands Gradually

Switch from one hand to another gradually. Don’t force yourself to change too quickly.

4. Focus On Technique

You should practice focusing on technique rather than speed. Speed comes later after you’ve mastered the fundamentals.

5. Practice Slowly

Don’t hurry when practicing. Take your time and focus on each individual note.

Why Are There More Right-Handed Guitar Choices?

There are more right-handed guitars available because most of us are right-handed. However, there are also left-handed guitars available.

Most left-handed guitars are made for beginners. They usually come with beginner level strings and frets.

However, if you’re looking for something better, you should look into left-handed guitars that are designed specifically for advanced players.

These guitars have higher quality strings and frets. They may even include special features like truss rods or adjustable bridges.

Famous Left Handed Guitar Players

Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

As we have discovered above, it is much more common to find right handed guitar players are right handed, however that is not to say that there are not many out there who can master the left handed guitar In fact, there are many famous guitarists out there who are known for this.

Here are some famous left-handed guitarists:

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is one famous guitarist known for his passion towards the left handed guitar.

Although encouraged to pursue the common right handed guitar, Hendrix thoroughly enjoyed playing with his left hand, even going as far as to flip his right handed guitar around to play oppositely.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain is another artist who iconically used a left handed guitar. The frontman of legendary rock band Nirvana, Kurt Cobain was always front and center with his left handed guitar.

Ironically, however, it was exclusive that Cobain was not actually left-handed yet still preferred this way of playing.

Paul McCartney

We all know of the amazing Paul McCartney and for that reason alone probably know of his iconic left handed playing.

McCartney is a true inspiration, not only as a long lived artist but as a left handed player. It is not often that you will find left handed guitarists so to have Sir Paul McCartney to look up is an honor.

Dick Dale

Our next famous left handed guitarist is Dick Dale, however his take on being a leftie is unique.

Instead of using a left handed guitar like McCartney and Cobain, Dale opts for flipping his right handed guitar around to play. This is purely impressive and very memorable.

Barbara Lynn

Finally, we have Barbara Lynn, one of the most iconic left handed players of the 1960s.

Not only did she master the left handed guitar confidently but she is highly known for being one of the first female artists to play the leading guitar of her time.

Pros And Cons Of Playing Guitar: Left Handed Vs Right Handed

Differences Between A Left And Right Handed Guitar

Playing guitar has its pros and cons. Here are some things to consider before deciding which side of the fence you want to be on.

Right Handed Vs Left Handed

The main advantage of playing guitar with your right hand is that it’s easier to learn how to play.

You don’t need to worry about getting your fingers in the correct position and you won’t have to think too hard about what direction your fretting finger goes.

The main disadvantage of playing guitar with your left hand is that it takes longer to get used to.

Your fingers will be in different positions than they would be when playing with your right hand. Also, your hands will be closer together when playing with your left hand.

Left Handed Guitars

If you’re interested in learning how to play guitar but aren’t sure if you want to switch from your right hand to your left, then a left handed guitar might be perfect for you.

They come in various shapes and sizes, making them easy to pick up and play.

However, there are disadvantages to playing a left handed guitar. For starters, they can be more expensive than their right handed counterparts.

Additionally, many people prefer the feel of a traditional right handed guitar.

Why Is The Plucking Hand Dominant?

When picking up a guitar, the dominant hand is usually the plucking hand. That means that the hand that plays the strings is the hand that holds the guitar.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Some guitarists choose to alternate between their two hands while others stick with one hand throughout the entire song.

It’s important to note that the dominant hand does not always mean the right hand. In fact, there are several reasons why the plucking hand may be dominant. These include:

  • The plucking hand is stronger than the other hand
  • The plucking hand controls the speed of the strumming hand
  • The plucking arm is shorter than the other arm
  • The plucking hand tends to move faster than the other hand

Should You Play Left-Handed Or Right-Handed?

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. If you enjoy playing guitar, then regardless of whether you use your right or left hand, you should keep at it.

There’s no wrong answer here; just do whatever makes you happy!

Final Thoughts

There are many differences when it comes to playing a guitar with your right and left hand. Ultimately, it depends on your individual preferences.

If you enjoy playing the guitar, then you should continue doing so regardless of whether you use a right or left hand.

Howard Matthews