Lefties

I am right-handed. I throw a ball right-handed, when I used to actually use a pen and paper I wrote right-handed, I kick right-handed, punch right-handed, and play drums right-handed. But I play guitar left-handed. It’s odd, I know. When I was 13 years old and just beginning my excursion into learning the instrument the most common advice I received from other players was “practice” and “learn how to play right-handed.” I did the first, never bothered with the second.

At the time I didn’t understand why anyone would actually care if I played lefty or righty. Now I realize why: do you know how hard it is to find a left-handed guitar and/or accessory options? They are out there, of course, and I have obviously been able to purchase quite a few in my day. But walk into most any music store and you will undoubtedly see dozens upon dozens of guitars, 97% of which are right-handed (you might find a few lefties in the mix; usually shitty, low-level Strat and Les Paul knock-offs). You would think, considering some of the all-time great players have been left-handed, we wouldn’t be so ‘discriminated’ against. Is it wrong that I find some pleasurable ironic humor in situations where right-handed players are in my midst without their guitars and they can’t play mine because it’s “backwards”? Call it cosmic payback, musician karma, whatever. Come on, I can at least pick up a righty and throw together some chords. Probably because I have spent my entire playing life surrounded by you backward-ass right-handed players.

Which leads me to the reason I am even writing this post: to celebrate the influence that some of rock and rolls lefties have brought us. I bring you, what I feel is, a list of some of the most-influential guitar players of all time. And guess what? They are all lefties!

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The Year Rock Dies

If your age is 28 or older and you are reading this then you are probably not a rock star.

So you are obviously not dead.

I am going to be the umpteenth person to write about this subject: The Long List of Musicians Who Die At The Age of 27. I do so because there was a time when I thought to myself: “If you ever ‘make it’ in music then you will die at the age of 27.”

Janis Joplin

It was because of the Hendrix/Joplin/Morrison triage that I actually thought like this, like it was somehow an honor, or a rite of passage into rock legend status. You should die a young, usually substance abuse related, death.

At the age of 27 of course.

Then came along ol Kurt and his suicide which brought a more modern member to the list. It had been a while since any rock star that famous had died the 27 death. Almost 20 years later Amy Winehouse joins the group. What each have in common is obvious, but it does make you wonder if these artists were thinking something similar themselves? Like, man, I gotta take advantage of everything all of the time. Full indulgence. Because it’s either expected from me, available, part of the lifestyle, or a serious issue I have to deal with in the public eye. I’m not saying this isn’t pressure that 98% of musicians trying to make it wouldn’t want to have. It’s like a baseball fan saying how much they would love an athletes lifestyle, to get paid that much for just playing a game.

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