Today a friend found out that I’m left handed. Maybe she knew it and forgot, and just didn’t think of it because she knows me in a guitar playing context, and I’m a southpaw playing a right handed guitar.

One observation about this (not a criticism or complaint, just an observation): southpaws tend to notice others who are left handed, but right handed people don’t notice one way or the other. In one sense, I guess this is understandable, since the overwhelming majority (90%?) of the world is right handed. But OTOH, I would think that would make southpaws stick out like a sore (left) thumb, but again, most seem not to notice this handedness orientation.

Yeah, I’m left handed. Actually, I’m somewhat ambidextrous. When I was just a boy, Dad drilled me on extending my right hand to shake hands with people. Also, I started out trying to write with my left hand arched over the top of the writing line, as in the pic below (and no, that’s not me in the pic), but my Mom worked and worked with me on penmanship, including holding my hand straight. But I have to write with my left hand, otherwise my penmanship would look like the hieroglyphs of a spastic ancient Egyptian with Parkinson’s.Left handed penmanship

As a kid playing baseball, I could switch hit, but threw with my left, so catching was always an awkward situation. I don’t remember ever being a catcher, but I was in the outfield a lot, so I had catch the ball and then throw it back in. If I had my own glove (i.e., a “left handed” glove made to fit on my right hand), I’d be okay. If I didn’t have my glove, if it was softball, I’d just catch barehanded. If it was hardball, I would borrow a “right handed” glove (made to fit the left hand) and catch with my left, then take off the glove and throw with my left. Like I said, awkward.

About the guitar, when I took it up in the mid ‘60s, I had not yet seen Jimi Hendrix play, but I had watched my right handed Dad play all my life up to that point. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a left handed guitar, and it probably was as rare a find as moon dust pre-1969. These days, left handed guitars are easier to find, comparatively and relatively speaking, and custom ordering a left handed guitar is much easier. (Is this blog starting to sound like the rantings of an old grandpa, as in, “When I was your age…”? Well, bear in mind I am an old grandpa!)

But I digress. I just knew it was a right handed world, and thought that if I wanted to play guitar, adjusting was the price of admission. Plus, Dad had a couple of guitars around the house, so I just took the leap and started practicing 4 hours a day. I’m glad now; I can pick up any guitar, and I don’t have to worry about limited availability when shopping for a new one.