By Rodin Batcheller and Lily Doolin
It’s no secret that left-handed people are scarce, especially when looking for left-handed musicians. In fact, only about 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, according to EverydayHealth. Because these lovely lefties are so rare, there's an entire day to celebrate them! In honor of International Lefthanders Day 2019 (August 13th), we're recognizing some of our favorite left-handed musicians across all genres of music and all generations. Three cheers for the lefties in our lives!
This ex-Beatle is widely-known for being left-handed. While Sir Paul is ambidextrous, he favors playing the guitar and the bass left-handed. There are even stories among Beatles lore that he didn’t know what to do with his first guitar until he saw a picture of someone playing the guitar left-handed. This prompted him to realize that he needed to flip the guitar and reverse the strings. He now owns a very large collection of instruments intended for left-handed musicians.
Jimi Hendrix is one of the most influential electric guitarists of all-time who was left-handed. Growing up, Hendrix’s father tried to force him to play the guitar right-handed, as he believed that playing left-handed was a sign of the devil. To solve the problem, Hendrix took right-handed guitars and restrung them to play left-handed. However, he played right-handed whenever his father was around, in fear of losing his guitar forever.
Joy, part of the Australian trio Middle Kids, struggled at first to learn more than three chords. Only when she started with Middle Kids did she take it seriously. Now, she plays on a right-handed guitar with inverted strings. So, in other words, she's a madwoman and plays the guitar upside down. This takes some serious skill, but Joy is definitely up to the challenge. You'd never be able to tell she plays upside down!
Besides being one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, music listeners far and wide knew Kurt Cobain as a left-handed guitarist. He played a mixture of left-handed guitars and right-handed guitars that he flipped. Despite the fact that he played left-handed, Cobain actually wrote some of the bands most beloved songs right-handed.
Even though David Bowie was naturally left-handed, he decided to play the guitar right-handed. Bowie taught himself how to play the guitar right-handed for one simple reason: there weren't enough left-handed guitars in shops in post-war Great Britain when he was growing up. Bowie passed away from cancer in 2016 at the age of 69 after a very successful career of nearly 50 years, but his legacy as a lefty lives on today!