Is It Harder To Learn Guitar Left Handed?

Is Left Handed Guitar More Difficult

Is it harder to learn guitar left-handed? Well, no…

There seems to be a lot of false information floating around the internet in regards to learning to play left handed guitar. This article will hopefully serve to clear up some of these misconceptions which unfortunately seem to be fairly widespread.

It’s Too Hard, Why Bother?

One situation I find absolutely pathetic is when potential left-handed guitar players give up on learning guitar BEFORE THEY EVEN START

It’s an issue that crops up all too often around the interwebz on Twitter, Forums, Facebook, etc.  It goes something along the lines of…

Twitter Quote

Then you get the left handed players who have already started but just seem to be making things incredibly hard on themselves. 

Last night I stumbled across a new player who was asking for left handed guitar tabs for Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’.  /facepalm.  To make matters worse one of the answers he got was to print out the tab and HOLD IT UP TO A MIRROR.  The internet is apparently just chock full of idiots.

Every day on Twitter I see users tweeting about how hard they are finding it to play guitar, and the only excuse they have is “because I’m a lefty”. 

Twitter Quote 2

Listen up newbies – the only reason you are finding guitar hard is that at the beginning, GUITAR IS HARD. Being left or right handed has absolutely no bearing on this.

Apparently, these people expect that they should be mastering sweep-picking monster licks after a week. Learning guitar is not the same as learning to ride a bicycle, it takes a lot of time and dedication to become proficient.

It’s absolutely worth the sweat and tears though, so stick with it! Here are 19 Reasons Why Guitar Is The Best Hobby!

So let’s clear this up. What are the REAL differences when learning guitar as a southpaw player?

Chord Diagrams for Left Handed Guitar Players

Most chord diagrams you find will be arranged for right handed players, which means that to play them on your left handed guitar you must mirror what you see. 

This generally requires a tiny portion of intelligence in order to flip the diagrams in your head. This is the smallest of inconveniences, as let’s face it, chord diagrams are something you might use early on in your playing career and then probably never bother with again.  

As an alternative you can learn the chord shapes through tablature, the only difference being that tabs won’t tell you which fingers to place where.  But this isn’t exactly rocket science either is it?

If you ARE having a little trouble getting started with chord diagrams try out my free left handed chord diagrams to get you started.  There are also plenty of software/apps which will provide a southpaw mode for chord diagrams. It’s not something to lose sleep over, however.

Beginner Left Handed Guitar Chords

Tabs Are the Same for Lefty Guitarists

Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.  Even though apparently thousands of geniuses on the net think otherwise, there are no differences at question.

Guitar Teachers Are the Same for Left Handed Guitar Players

Again, no differences here.  In fact, it should be easier to learn from a right handed teacher, as if they sit opposite you it will be really straightforward to copy what they do as they will mirror you. 

Any tutor with a modicum of intelligence will be able to teach you – if anyone turns you away, then just be glad that you’ve dodged a bullet!

Personally, I have limited experience with guitar tutors, but both of the two I have used in my younger years laughed at me when I asked them if it was a problem. See my article on The Mirror Effect and Learning Guitar Left Handed.

Left Hand is Right Hand

Another tiny difference is that in instructional material where the writer/speaker refers to his right hand, this will actually be the left hand for us lefties. 

Most of the time, however, hands will be simply referred to as ‘picking hand‘ and ‘fretting hand‘ so this shouldn’t be a problem.  But on the occasions that they are referred to as right and left, you’ll just need to remember to think the opposite.

Lefties Have The Upper Hand

If you have read my post on the Top 9 Left Handed Guitarist Advantages, you will have noticed that we lefties actually have some natural advantages over right handed players. 

For example, a recent study at the National Institute of Sports and Physical Education in Paris found that left handed people have faster eye-hand coordination with their right hand than even right-handers do! 

And that is it, guys. The only significant difference is chord diagrams, and to be honest, if you can’t figure those out then maybe you should go back to Guitar Hero. This ridiculous myth only exists due to misguided assumptions made by naive newbies and right handed ‘experts’.

Myth Busted

TLDR: Guitar is easy to pick up but tricky to master. Please do not dump your frustrations on the fact that you are a southpaw.  Suck it up and get the job done…lefty style.

Read This Next

Now that you know that learning guitar left handed is really no harder, you’ll probably be wondering which way you should pick to learn!

Check out my article – Should I Learn Guitar Left or Right Handed to hopefully clear up that question!

Newbie Guide

If you have stumbled across this page because you’re thinking of taking up guitar, you have to check out my recently updated Newbie Guide. This 8-part series will explain everything you need to know to get started with guitar or bass, including gear recommendations!

How To Learn Guitar
Neal Author Bio
Neal has been playing guitar (left-handed!) for over 20 years, and has also worked in various roles within the guitar retail industry since 2012. He started LeftyFretz in 2010. More Info