Today August 13th, we celebrate International Left Handed Day. And there are plenty of reasons for that. After all, there are numerous myths revolving around lefties. For one, they are considered to be particularly creative, which is attributed to the especially pronounced right brain hemisphere – the creative centre. Whether this is true remains to be seen, but in any case, it is encouraging. And there are highly prominent examples of left-handers who have made it to the Olympus of music in a wide variety of genres:
Paul McCartney – bass and so much more
The multi-instrumentalist of the Beatles is one of the most famous left-handed musicians par excellence: Paul McCartney. He plays bass, guitar, piano and many other instruments. Like John Lennon, a song and hit machine with immense output, also famous as a congenial singer and harmony-oriented bassist for the Fab Four. Paul did it all left handed.
Phil Collins – world famous with Genesis and as a solo artist
Phil Collins enjoys world fame from his time as a drummer with Genesis and subsequently as a solo artist. He is a true lefty. He has set up his drum kit according to his needs, playing hi-hat and bass drum with his left side. His playing techniques on drum sticks are usually introduced and guided by the left hand. He now no longer plays the drums because of nerve damage in his hands. But he sings. Some even rumour that he sings with his left hand.
Tony Iommi – heavy metal guitar icon
As one of the pioneers of hard rock, Tony Iommi has written history. As the guitarist of Black Sabbath, he had a major influence on music of the heavier kind. Tony is seen as a musical genius by companions such as Ozzy Osbourne and many others. However, Tony is left-handed with a handicap: In an accident, he lost his right middle and ring finger, which he replaced with prosthetic fingers. It’s hard to even fathom how he plays.
Steve Morse – left handed guitarist on right handed guitar
Steve Morse is one of the current maniacs on the electric guitar par excellence. As a member of the hard rock cult band Deep Purple, he conjures up incredible riffs and sounds from his instrument. Fascinating licks and techniques that others don’t even dare dream of. Steve is left-handed but plays a right-handed guitar. Music Man’s Steve Morse signature models have been around for decades, and is now also available in left-handed versions.
Mark Knopfler – the dominant hand on the guitar neck
Considered one of the best guitarists in the world, Mark Knopfler made history with Dire Straits and created one classic after another with songs such as “Sultans of Swing”, “Money for Nothing” and many more. His extraordinary playing technique and his unique sound are particularly characteristic, and his legendary bends and techniques wouldn’t be possible without his dominant left hand on the guitar neck.
Noel Gallagher – Wonderleft
The Oasis singer and guitarist is known for many things. Pioneer of the Brit-pop movement, brutal honesty and his love/hate relationship with his brother Liam, to only name a few. Noel has been an unwilling trendsetter and rockstar for a long time. What is probably less known is that Noel is left-handed. It can be seen, for example, in a video in which he signs autographs with his left hand:
Ashley MacIsaac – trailblazer for aspiring violinists
Ashley MacIsaac is currently one of the most popular left-handed violinists. The Canadian breaks with the musical mainstream and has been showered with awards. Through his success he has made a significant contribution to the fact that aspiring left-handed players should be able find their place in contemporary music circles without have to learn the instrument the opposite way.
Charlie Chaplin – cane, bowler hat, moustache and violin
Charlie Chaplin wasn’t just a restless actor and comedian with over 350 films at his belt (Yes, 350!). He is particularly known to the general public for his pantomime roles in his typical outfit with a cane, bowler hat and moustache, but you need also know that Charles Spencer Chaplin was an excellent violinist; and a left-handed one at that!
Jimi Hendrix – the man who started it all
His influence on the electric guitar and the electric guitarists is still unparalleled: Jimi Hendrix was the personified sorcerer on his instrument, the electric guitar. His father tried to dissuade him from using the supposed “wrong hand”, but Jimi was going to have it his way, and he started playing the guitar with his left hand. Left-handed guitars were difficult to obtain, and usually more expensive when found. So he pulled the strings off his right handed guitar and put them back on in reverse order. The rest is history.
Kurt Cobain – guitar back to the people
And maybe a special homage to left-handers: Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana front man was actually right-handed. But he mostly played his guitar with his left hand. Why he did this is still an unanswered mystery. Like so many things. Maybe he wanted to encourage the left-handed? He gave courage to many people. At a time when shredding was law among guitars players, he took the instrument, literally flipped it upside down and wrote “simple” riffs that would echo for generations to come.
“You gotta pump these numbers up! Those are rookie numbers!”
Let’s close this pantheon of legends with some numbers! Only about 10-18 percent of people are truly left-handed; however, a disproportionately large number of them are artists and musicians. We estimate around 35 percent of the musicians in string orchestras are left-handed. What does that mean to us? Do the math yourself. You already know how justified your musical self-confidence is, and the current industry is making efforts to close the gap with the amount of left handed instruments being produced now. There is no reason to make concessions. Go pick up your instrument and make some music!
Find a nice variety of left-handed instruments in our shop here: