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When Left Became Right
17 December 2014
12.39am
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parlance
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I love this thread. I've mentioned elsewhere that I was ambidextrous as a child, and my mother forced me to be right-handed. But to this day, it still feels more natural to do some things left-handed.

When I was learning guitar, I looked into getting a left-handed guitar or changing the strings the bridge on the one I had for left-hand playing. I feel like I've told this story before, but I couldn't find it... but a salesperson at a guitar store tried to talk me into learning to play right-handed. And I told him that Paul McCartney plays bass left-handed. A woman overheard me and smiled and said, "Really?" The salesperson shot the woman a look as if to say, "Don't encourage her." Edit: Oh, here's my post.

For a couple of weeks I tried playing with both hands to see which one I'd be more comfortable with. Unfortunately, playing the guitar exacerbated my tendinitis, and I wound up going to the hospital to get both of my sprained wrists looked into.

That put an end to my (real) guitar-playing career... I still play air guitar left-handed. :-)

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

18 December 2014
4.43pm
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Zig
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parlance said

I still play air guitar left-handed.
parlance

I play air bass left handed on songs in which Paul really shines - 'Paperback Writer ', 'Rain ', 'Something ', etc... I think I may have mentioned before that I shoot pool left handed. I never knew it until someone pointed it out. I never really thought about it, it just felt...you know. I've tried shooting pool right handed and just can't.

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18 December 2014
4.48pm
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meanmistermustard
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8Hey, i'm the same. I write and peal veg with my right hand, play pool and air guitar with my left and most other things like cutting with scissors, painting i can do with either hand. No idea why.

With pool thats how i played from the off when i was a kid, tried to play right handed but never could.

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18 December 2014
4.52pm
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vonbontee
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Yeah, on the few occasions where I've used a golf club, hockey stick or baseball bat, the lefthanded grip has always felt proper although I'm a righty. Same with holding a phone.

Someone said 'What were you gonna do when it's all finished,' and I said 'I don't know but it'd be good fun being a DJ.' And since then I've become a DJ, only by word of mouth, you know. SO any minute now you'll read, 'Ringo leaves to become a DJ' but it's not true. - Ringo Starr

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18 December 2014
5.05pm
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Ahhh Girl
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Are any more closet lefties going to come out? Do many of us do multiple things with our left hands that we may not have even thought about before?

Ever since the library director had physical facilities add those pneumatic door closer thingys to the doors in our area about three months ago, I find myself opening the doors with my left hand. Weird.a-hard-days-night-paul-10

Interesting article on left-handedness.

18 December 2014
6.53pm
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parlance
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I'm glad those superstitions have mostly died out. People are often surprised to hear about my mom forcing me to be right-handed.

parlance

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Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

18 December 2014
7.06pm
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Hildy
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Life is full of surprises.

I'm left-handed at writing, playing guitar, playing snooker, using a smarphone, holding a rifle, using a screwdriver or tin-opener, taking the top off a bottle, using a bow and arrow and tasks that require precision or skill, but I'm write-handed at tennis, cricket, golf and throwing. 

Just a few months ago one of the taps(faucets) in the bathroom stuck while the water was coming out at full blast and I couldn't get it to turn off. I then did something I'd never done before - I had a go with my right hand. It felt so unnatural that I had to think carefully about the direction I was going to turn it to get it off. Bizarrely, I was able to twist the tap into the off position without any great difficulty. My right arm, it would appear, is stronger than my left one, and yet I'm left handed.

When I thought about it, I realised that I am probably left-handed and right-armed - and right-footed and left-legged. Don't ask . . .

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19 December 2014
2.52am
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Ahhh Girl
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I'm watching a show called "How Booze Made America". They just talked about the fact that there were no left-handed muskets during the Revolutionary War.

19 December 2014
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Joe
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My grandfather was left-handed until his school forced him to do everything right-handed. His left actually stopped being his dominant side, and eventually he was fully right-handed. He went to Harrow School (very posh) but I'm not sure whether it was that one.

Secondly, I went to see Gruff Rhys (formerly of Super Furry Animals) live last night. He plays left-handed but his guitar is strung for a right-handed player - ie the low strings are at the bottom. I've seen him play dozens of times but never before noticed that. I guess it makes things easier when changing instruments.

One thing I've always wondered about string instruments is why the dominant hand is normally used for strumming or picking, whereas a lot of the more intricate fretting/stopping work is done with the less dominant hand. Why is that?

Annadog40 said
The word left derived from an old English word (lyft) meaning weak. They were not allowed to be knights back in the day.

Oh, I almost forgot by favourite medieval architectural and military fact (everyone should have one)! The reason spiral staircases in castles are normally clockwise going up? It's because any invading knights attempting to ascend would be less able to swing their dominant right sword hand - the greater space would have been to their left. Any defending knights at the top, meanwhile, would have had space on their right to swing their sword.

Take a look the next time you're in a castle. Clockwise! You'd think it'd make sense to employ some elite left-handed knights just for castle invasions.

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19 December 2014
2.39pm
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Hildy
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Joe said
My grandfather was left-handed until his school forced him to do everything right-handed. His left actually stopped being his dominant side, and eventually he was fully right-handed. He went to Harrow School (very posh) but I'm not sure whether it was that one.

Secondly, I went to see Gruff Rhys (formerly of Super Furry Animals) live last night. He plays left-handed but his guitar is strung for a right-handed player - ie the low strings are at the bottom. I've seen him play dozens of times but never before noticed that. I guess it makes things easier when changing instruments.

One thing I've always wondered about string instruments is why the dominant hand is normally used for strumming or picking, whereas a lot of the more intricate fretting/stopping work is done with the less dominant hand. Why is that?

Annadog40 said
The word left derived from an old English word (lyft) meaning weak. They were not allowed to be knights back in the day.

Oh, I almost forgot by favourite medieval architectural and military fact (everyone should have one)! The reason spiral staircases in castles are normally clockwise going up? It's because any invading knights attempting to ascend would be less able to swing their dominant right sword hand - the greater space would have been to their left. Any defending knights at the top, meanwhile, would have had space on their right to swing their sword.

Take a look the next time you're in a castle. Clockwise! You'd think it'd make sense to employ some elite left-handed knights just for castle invasions.

When you pick up a guitar initially, you hold it so that your favoured hand is in position to do the work. The other hand is just supporting it until you realise that it also has work to do. Think of lifting a tennis racket to play air guitar - the left strums while the right just holds and supports.

Re your spiral staircase story, I have another bit of information to add. On some of these staircases, there would be at least one uneven step which was spaced this way quite deliberately to cause intruders to trip and fall, giving an advantage to the person being chased who knew about the unfamilar spacing. I think this was known as a sword step. Look out for this next time you are in a castle.

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19 December 2014
3.38pm
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Ahhh Girl
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I remember the right/left thing about the spiral staircases from the castle tours I've taken. Thanks for that reminder, Joe. (Starts making mental plans for another trip to Germany.) I didn't know about the uneven step part. Thanks for that addition, Hildy.

19 December 2014
6.16pm
LongHairedLady
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I had friends in school that were leftys, and I always felt bad for them when they had to write notes in a binder or a notebook with coils.   

"Please don't bring your banjo back, I know where it's been..  I wasn't hardly gone a day, when it became the scene..  Banjos!  Banjos!  All the time, I can't forget that tune..  and if I ever see another banjo, I'm going out and buy a big balloon!"

 

19 December 2014
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Ahhh Girl said
I remember the right/left thing about the spiral staircases from the castle tours I've taken. Thanks for that reminder, Joe. (Starts making mental plans for another trip to Germany.) I didn't know about the uneven step part. Thanks for that addition, Hildy.

The sword step is the step that is fractionally higher than the other steps. When we run up stairs we get into a rhythm because the steps are the same height, but if one is slightly and unexpectedly higher, we trip when it is attempted, and it is at this point that the person being chased turns and attacks the man who has fallen.

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19 December 2014
8.02pm
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LongHairedLady said
I had friends in school that were leftys, and I always felt bad for them when they had to write notes in a binder or a notebook with coils.   

Right-handers pull the pen along because we all write from left to right. Lefties push the pen along and can more easily smudge what they have written. Most lefties find a way to avoid this without any difficulty but you can still see some using a curved arm action in an effort not to smudge.

I have actually altered my signature in recent times. I do it backhand now simply because it's easier to do so quicky, but I still write in the traditional way if I compose a letter.

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23 December 2014
7.12pm
thisbirdhasflown
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I have been left handed since I was born. I was taught to write right-handed in school because nobody had any idea really that I was left-handed. I write right handed, but, historically, my handwriting has been atrocious. I've learned ow to improve my handwriting a lot. But, especially reading my elementary school papers, I cannot read my own handwriting sometimes. And, if I write left-handed, it is worse. I've found it much easier just to type things. But everything else I do is left-handed. Particularly, I found I was left handed when I played guitar. Even before I knew how guitar playing worked, I naturally held a guitar left-handed because it was comfortable. i bought a right-handed guitar, and I tried to learn how to play right handed but just couldn't do it. It's like dyslexic guitar playing. I flipped the strings 'round, as the old saying goes, and became a left-handed player. It's a pain to try to find nice guitars that are left handed. but I can always rest easy on the fact that if I stole McCartney's Hofner bass (which I've had fantasies of doing), I could actually play it. Everything else is left-handed, shooting, left-eye dominant, etc.

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5 March 2015
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This is such a neat thread! 

I am decidedly right-handed, so I suppose I ought to get out of here, but ever since I looked at a photo of the Fabs and suddenly realised that my favourite member (at the time!) was left-handed, I sort of... gained an interest, you might say. 

Joe quietly pointed out 
<snip>
One thing I've always wondered about string instruments is why the dominant hand is normally used for strumming or picking, whereas a lot of the more intricate fretting/stopping work is done with the less dominant hand. Why is that?
<snip>

I've often had the same thought. My little sister, who is every bit as right-handed as I am, always plays broom guitar "backwards"-- lefty-style-- because, from a six-year-old point of view, it doesn't make sense to do all the fretful stuff with one's non-dominant hand. 

Now that I've been playing guitar for about a year, my left hand is quite a bit stronger (muscularly) than my right. So the other night when I was eating with chopsticks (which isn't something I do much), I found that when it comes to chopsticks, despite its lack of coordination, my left hand does not tire as quickly as my right. I credit this entirely to all the barre chords I've been playing, so unfortunately no one can call me a "closet lefty". a-hard-days-night-paul-11 

Another thing I noticed: I saw Martin Freeman as John Watson in Sherlock (entirely the fault of my best friend, who dragged me into the situation), and there was one scene where he and Sherlock were facing each other, writing notes, and and I couldn't help but notice the mirrored "Lennon-McCartney effect" of one (CuCumberpatch) being right-handed, and the other (Freeman) left. 

a-hard-days-night-ringo-15 Ringo's shaking his left fist here, as Paul does in the film A Hard Day's Night , unless the image has been reversed. Also see: a-hard-days-night-paul-11

Anyway... this very right-handed poster will be going now... 

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6 March 2015
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Von Bontee
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I used to have a coffee-table book about creative leftys through history, profiles on Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Alan Turing, Hendrix, Paul McC and a bunch more. 

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
-- Paul McCartney

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6 March 2015
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I'm a lefty. I play the bass and guitar right-handed simply because it was the easiest way to go when I bought my first guitar, but I'm left-handed in most things. Thankfully avoided the forced right-hand writing, but my handwriting was awful for years. I never seriously tried to find a left-handed guitar and I do wonder if it affects my ability to sing and play at the same time (I do find that difficult, my proudest achievement to date is being able to sing and play the original Police version of Demolition Man, it took me years). As the other lefties will tell you it makes you more adaptable, so even on a righty bass, I do play differently. It's actually strengthened my right arm over the years! I knew about Paul of course, but it's kind of weird for me to try and read his fingerings, as if it's double backwards for me! The interesting thing is Ringo's left-handedness which I didn't know about for years. But I've played a little drums and the way he plays makes total sense to me.

The average proportion of left-handers to right-handers is a bit over 8 percent. Lefties tend to look out for each other, and in the last course I did, we had about 6 people out of 22 who were lefties, an unusual amount! Here are some of the things as a lefty I pay attention to:

- Can openers. I use the european model which winds from the top, its ambidextrous. Same for the edges on peelers, knives, graters (really irritating). All kinds of handles. The way bottle tops unscrew.
- Fountain pens. You can get lefty ones now! Same deal with pen grips.
- Computer keyboards: I actually have a slight touch typing advantage being left-handed on a QWERTY board. But the keypad is righty and I don't use it much.
- Anything to do with cash cards or tickets, whether ATM's or turnstiles are all right-oriented as are their keypads. Even the barriers are right-oriented.
- Mice. I use a mouse right-handed! Even weirder, I can't use one with my left, I'm too used to it and I can only draw with a right-handed mouse. I got myself a tablet to see if I could draw naturally as I do with a pen, but it was rather confusing! I haven't tried it much since. Now imagine using a mouse left-handed and dealing with all the right-oriented things on a typical computer desktop or browser or just about every app you can think of. Thank heavens for being a more ambi-handed person.
- The new thing for me is smartphones. My current Moto G is a very recent Android phone and there is absolutely no compensation for a lefty. There's a bunch of gestures I don't even know about and some that I do know I often get wrong. I also tend to accidentally set off the google search app with my left finger. And don't get me started on typing. It's a righty world and I just have to live in it.

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6 March 2015
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Fascinating thread :-)   I'm a bit weird in that I'm strongly right handed with writing using scissors and playing the guitar.  But there are things that I can only do left handed.  I have to use left handed golf clubs and I bat left handed in cricket.  There are other less obvious things that I only realized more recently.  I deal cards with the pack in my right hand (dealing with my left) and open bottles by holding the bottle in my right hand.  I live within a few yards of a big surfing beach (but I'm no surfer!) but when I try, I can only stand up 'goofy'.   

15 March 2015
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I'm right handed bur I have been playing some Beatles Rock Band bass left handed and it is interesting how some of the skill transfers over to the other hand. I am able to play some expert songs with my left hand. On my right hand I can beat every song on bass.

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