Tips And Tricks For LEFT HANDED Guitar Players

How to Read Guitar Diagrams as a Left-Handed Player

Tommaso Zillio

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left handed guitar

are you left-handed? (*)

(*) If the term left-handed offends you (ya never know in this day and age…), then how about “chiralically-challenged” instead? ;-)

If you are (left-handed, that is), keep reading as I’m going to share with you a few tips that will make learning the guitar a little bit easier for you.

If you aren’t… well, since you’ve already gotten this far, you might as well read the rest of this newsletter…

…because what if there’s something really interesting that I talk about in here that you would completely miss out on if you stopped reading right now? ;-)

So the story goes that a left-handed (sorry, “enantiomerically different”) guitar player mentioned to me that some of my videos (and really all guitar videos) are very difficult to follow for him as he needs to flip everything around in his head in order to understand what I’m playing.

How do we solve this problem? Since I taught several left-handed (sorry, “symmetrically abled” ) students, I have a few tips to share!

Tip 1: If It Isn’t Too Late… Learn Right Handed

If you are still very new to the guitar, all of the things that you are going to be learning are brand new movements. So everything is going to feel awkward, left-handed or not.

So one thing you can consider, if possible, is simply to learn to play right-handed.

There are pros and cons to this, as I show you in the video below.

Tip 2: Don’t Flip Diagrams/Fretboard In Your Mind

Some things we learn on the guitar are already confusing as they are… if you are also trying to flip the diagrams in your mind then you are putting too much strain on your brain.

So: don’t try to do this in your mind. In the video, I show you two simple tricks you can use to reverse diagrams from right-handed to left-handed without having to do them in your mind.

Tip 3: Concentrate On What Does Not Change

There are several things that do not change between playing right- and left-handed guitar. If you know what they are, then you can simply use them rather than trying to reinvent the wheel ;-)

While I would LOVE to share these things with you right now, I have to save something for today’s video… so you find all details in the video below:

If you want to try this for yourself, go ahead and try out my Master of the Modes guitar course, which of course has left-handed diagrams included, but feel free to ignore those if you want to try out this trick :-)

Transcription

Hello Internet, so nice to see you! I have a great practice on how to learn guitar if you are left handed. So let’s go and see that.

heya, for me, it’s harder to understand what you’re saying, because I’m playing left handed and need to flip it in my head. Is there someone you can recommend for me to learn from, I always get taught these right handed chords when I’m playing with my friends. And it’s really hard to find notes while translating in my head. I started playing about two weeks ago, and I’m struggling with even the E minor pentatonic scale.

Okay. Now, I have some perspective on that for a number of reasons. One, I taught a number of people that are left handed, so I know what works. Okay, second, for a while, I learned from a left handed player, so I was in the same situation. Okay, you have to check and see what they’re doing.

So here’s the first thing. You could flip things in your head, or you could not, there are tricks. Okay. Well, now, so let me let me start if, if what you’re seeing are, for instance, or chord diagrams or things like that, you’ll have to flip them. Okay. So for instance, if I’m showing you a chord, okay, and then putting down the chord this way. Okay, simple E minor chord. Okay. And then I’m telling you to play this way? Well, yes, of course, you’ll have to flip it around, do it in your mind could be hard.

So what I suggest is that you have a little mirror with you. Okay, now, I know it sounds so follow me, you got a little mirror, you know, well, this pocket mirrors, you open it and look at the diagram in the mirror. And now the mirror is the diagram you see in the mirror is a left handed diagram, okay. So that, that’s a fast way to do it. And you can have these with yourself every time.

So where from whatever you’re learning, you just flip around all those patterns. The same is true for scale patterns. And so if you’re learning, I don’t know, typically, they show you the pentatonic scale or things like that. And they’re showing you something like this. Okay, good. Look at it through your mirror. And you’re gonna see how these works for your left handed playing, okay?

It’s not the most convenient thing I’m saying, okay, but it works, it works instantly, it works in every moment. And by the way, this works also if you’re looking at another player, okay. So if you’re looking at another player and they tell you, yeah just play this chord here and you want to, have problems flipping it in your head. In a moment, I’m gonna give you a mental trick to do it. But if you have problem flipping it in your head, just look at it through your through your little mirror, and you see how it looks made by a left handed player. Okay? So that’s one simple trick you can use.

In some situation. You don’t have to flip it, okay? And the situation is, for instance, when you’re using notation or tablature, okay? Because, if I write something in tablature, okay, the tablature is the same for left or right hand. So if I think the scale is before and I just write 8, 5, 8, 5, 7, 5, and all the rest of the scale, it, this is the same for left hand or right hand because the eighth fret, it’s always the eighth fret going up from from from the nut. Okay, and its the eighth fret counting in both directions.

Okay, so tablature is completely the same for left hand player and right handed player. And by the way, the same is true of all music notation to if you learn how to read music, which I don’t recommend at first, especially if you have other problems, like flipping by everything, but I’m just saying, it’s the same.

So next thing you can do is this. You have a big mirror in your house somewhere in the bathroom or in the foyer when you enter your your house, you have a big mirror somewhere, play in front of your mirror and look at yourself in the mirror. Okay, now you are left handed, the image in the mirror will look right handed. Okay, you have the experience of playing something and see what your image is doing.

Whoa, who is that guy?

Now, whenever you are playing with a right handed player, and they show you something, pretend they are the image in the mirror and just see and just see this way, okay? Just pretend it’s a mirror, if there’s a mirror in front of you, and you’re seeing the player as if they are in this virtual mirror and flip it back to you. If you’ve been playing in front of your mirror for a while. This is going to be super natural, completely easy and fast. It’s going to be no problem at all.

Okay, that was I was doing when I was learning from left handed player. I was just imagining I was in front of a mirror. Okay, no more no less. As I was just having him literally in front of me. And whenever he moved in this direction, I move in this direction. Okay. It was his left my right. Okay, but since we’re one in front of the other, that was easy to do. Okay? Make sense?

So those this trick will help you flip it around mentally even if you don’t have an actual mirror with you. You can use both of course, okay. There is that. So that will be the first suggestion.

Okay, then there are the there are the other suggestions is if, and if, a big if, okay, and I’m not saying that this happens for everybody, but some left handed players can learn to play right handed and vice versa. Because your hand orientation is not always the same as your as your instrument hand orientation. And sometimes it doesn’t make a difference. If you’re a beginner, it could be could be doesn’t happen for everybody. But it could be that having a right handed instrument or a left handed instrument feels the same to you. If this happens, and they feel the same, my suggestion, suggestion, okay will be learn the right handed way.

One of us, one of us, us one of us, one of us, one of us. Run.

Because you’re going to have it was going to be easier for you, because it has way more resources for right handed guitar players. Some people have very strong left right orientation and for them, if they are left handed, they have to play left handed because everything else feels wrong. If that’s your case, then by all means, learn to play left handed, okay, because it’s not a worth to fight against that. But I’m just saying for some people, their left right orientation doesn’t feel that strongly when they have an instrument. And so they can flip it around the number of people have learned to play this way. Okay.

And now a number of people that it looks to you they’re playing right handed are actually left handed players, just saying, okay, so you see if these works for you, again, just the suggestions. Nobody here says that the left handed players are wrong or right. You guys just play the way you want. Okay, I’m just saying that this could be a possibility.

Okay, make sense so far. But at the end of the day, here’s the thing. What’s happening is that, at the beginning, everything feels awkward. Okay. So the beginning, even for a left hand, for a right handed player, copying a chord from somebody else, it’s awkward. Okay, even for a right handed player learning to a chord diagram or learning to read tablature through this kind of thing, it feels awkward at first, what’s going to happen is that you’re gonna spend a little bit more time with that, get used to it, and then it will feel natural, whatever, if you’re right handed, or left handed, and if you play right handed or left handed.

So my message here is, don’t be discouraged. Okay, if it feels hard at first, we all have our challenges, okay. And that’s just another challenge you have to overcome. And you’re going to have many more after that, if you want to play, get in with a mindset of if there is a challenge, you’re going to tackle it face on and go through it. And you’re going to do it. Okay, you just need to get used to play in that direction. You just need to get used to flip the diagrams in your mind or again, use a mirror, try this. It works. And you’ll see that a few weeks or a few months from now, this is not even going to be a problem. You’re going to look back at this and think why was this even a problem.

And for everybody, whether you are a right handed player or a left handed player, if you want to learn to play scales, or chords on your guitar, I have my courses. If you want to learn to play scales and modes I have a course called Master of the modes if you don’t want to play chords to learn harmony on the guitar, I have a course called complete chord mastery. And in those courses, in some lessons, I do put in diagrams for specifically for left handed players. Master of the Modes are for specific file of all the scales for left handed players specifically because of this.

But remember also that if you’re learning isn’t a computer, there are software there is software that flips the screen around, okay, so you can always open these with a PDF viewer or something and ask the software to flip it around. So this could be another solution for you have your computer flip around everything so that you can learn.

Now, if you are a left handed player, and these suggestions help you or if you’re a right handed player and all these makes sense to you, please smash that like button, click on subscribe don’t forget to click on notification and comment down here on your experience.

Now I’m right handed. I taught many people who are left handed but I’m not a left handed player. So I want to hear from you. What’s your experience what helped you learn guitar when since you are left handed and the majority of people are right handed. What may what helped you? Write your suggestion down in the comment let’s help everybody who is left handed and has problems learning guitar Okay, I want to read on you Comments. This is Tommaso Zillio from MusicTheoryForGuitar.com, and until next time, enjoy!


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