Are left handed guitar players becoming more commonplace? This evening I happened across a really insightful video where ‘The Cars’ guitar player Elliot Easton talks about growing up as a left handed guitar player in the 1960s. This got me thinking…
In the video (see below) he chats about how he wasn’t even aware that such a thing as a left handed guitar existed when he first decided to start playing. Whilst listening to him talk it really hits home about how unconnected the world was as little as 50 years ago. He talks about getting little nuggets of information about guitars from other bands or from friends of friends.
Throughout the comments section for this video on YouTube there are several users who describe how they were in the same situation when they were younger and first getting into guitar. They either didn’t realise left handed guitars existed or they simply could not find one in stores. Another frequently mentioned theme in the comments is that all of these people are fiercely proud of being left handed, which is very cool!
I think the point made about the lack of information back in the 60s is very interesting and is almost certainly the reason why so few people from this pre-internet generation play guitar left handed. The lack of availability literally forced them to buy a right handed guitar and either string it upside down or play it righty. Would many people have even contemplated restringing the guitar upside down? They may not have realised that was an option…
So with that in mind let’s fast forward to 2011 where any information you might require is available at the click of a button. Does it not make sense to assume that the number of people playing left handed guitar should have risen significantly in the last 10 or 20 years? It is super easy to log on to the internet, find a great left handed guitar and have it delivered direct to your doorstep the next day, a luxury that players like Elliot Easton lacked. Although in some countries it is still hard to source a good guitar, things are definitely looking up.
I think this is a really fascinating idea because if this is taking place and larger numbers of people are playing lefty, then with a bit of luck that upsurge in demand should trigger an increase in left handed guitar models from manufacturers. Speaking from experience, there has certainly been a large boost in the number of left handed guitar options in only the past 10 years.
Or maybe this is just wishful thinking. What are your thoughts?