If your left-handed child is interested in learning to play the guitar, you may be wondering if it’s best for them to learn as a lefty on a left-handed guitar or switch to playing right-handed with a right-handed guitar. Learning the guitar can be both a fun and educational activity for your child, so it’s important to weigh up all the options before you purchase a guitar and take that first lesson. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of teaching your left-handed child how to play the guitar left-handed or right-handed.
What is the Difference Between a Left-Handed and Right-Handed Guitar?
A right-handed guitar is the more common type of guitar. It’s designed to be played by someone who holds their left hand over the strings near the neck of the instrument. This allows them to press down on the strings and create chords. This means that if you’re holding a guitar in its typical orientation, with the neck facing away from you, then your left hand will be on the fretboard (neck), and your right hand should strum and pick the strings.
A left-handed guitar is designed for someone who holds their right hand over the fretboard near the neck of the instrument. This allows them to press down with their right hand on the strings and create notes as they play, and use their left hand to strum and pick.
Aside from which hand goes where when playing, there are no other differences between a right or left-handed guitar. The shape, size, sound quality, strings used and all other aspects are exactly identical between both types of guitars (except for some rare exceptions). Some companies may make special guitars that are made specifically for either left or right-handed players but those are rare exceptions rather than normal practice.
Pros of Teaching Your Left-Handed Child How To Play Guitar Left-Handed
The most obvious advantage of teaching your left-handed child how to play guitar left-handed is that they will be able to use their dominant hand as their strumming and picking hand.
Pros of Teaching Your Left-Handed Child How to Play a Guitar Right-Handed
If you choose to have your left-handed child learn how to play a right-handed guitar, there are some obvious advantages. First, there will be more guitars available for purchase. Most guitar stores carry predominantly right-handed guitars because that is what most people prefer.
Furthermore, since most guitars out in the world are right-handed guitars, if your child ever wants to pick up a guitar to play at a friend’s house, for example, they will more easily be able to do it.
Also, as beneficial as it is to have the dominant hand as your strumming and picking hand, it’s also an advantage to have the dominant hand pressing on the strings/fretboard and playing the chords. It can take a great deal of hand and finger strength to begin playing chords, and since a lefty’s left hand is usually stronger, this gives them an advantage in the beginning.
Cons of Teaching Your Left-Handed Child How To Play Guitar Left-Handed
One potential disadvantage of teaching your left-handed child how to play guitar left-handed is that they may have difficulty finding suitable instruction materials. The majority of photos and videos for teaching guitar that are available on the market are designed for righties.
Additionally, because there are fewer lefty guitars, this means that they may also have difficulty finding a suitable instrument.
Cons of Teaching Your Left-Handed Child How To Play Guitar Right-Handed
It might take a bit more practice for the lefty to learn to strum and pick with their right hand.
What if your Lefty Child Already Plays a Stringed Instrument Such as Violin?
If your left-handed child has already begun playing a stringed instrument such as violin, viola, cello, or double bass, then I highly recommend they learn to play a right-handed guitar. This is because the stringed instruments just mentioned don’t have a “left-handed” option. Your child will already be pressing down on the strings with their left hand and bowing/plucking with their right hand. In order to avoid confusion and frustration, let them do the same when learning the guitar.
Ben of Guitar Time with Ben is left-handed and plays a right-handed guitar. He played violin first, and easily transferred to playing the guitar right-handed.
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Ultimately, whether or not you teach your left-handed child how to play guitar left-handed or right-handed comes down to personal preference. There are pros and cons for each choice, so consider them all before making a decision. With proper guidance and instruction from an experienced teacher, learning how to play guitar can be both an enjoyable and educational experience for any student – regardless of whether they’re playing right or left-handed.