Left handed guitarists are a rare breed among musicians. However some of the most famous guitar players of all time were left-handed players. Playing a left-handed guitar may be unconventional but there’s no arguing that the following lefties are nothing to scoff at:

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi was born naturally left-handed, but his father, Al, believed that left-handedness was unnatural and sinful and forced him to play his guitar right-handed. Eventually, Jimi was actually able to play with both hands. He modified his guitars, restringing them to be able to play them left-handed, and ultimately he even learned how to play right-handed guitars upside down.

Paul McCartney

Although Paul was encouraged by his father Jim to play the trumpet as a youth, McCartney ultimately fell in love with guitar after hearing rock and roll for the first time. When McCartney first began learning guitar he played right-handed and had great difficulty with it. It wasn’t until he saw a poster for a Slim Whitman concert that he realized playing left-handed might be the answer to his struggles with the guitar. He learned to restring his right-handed guitars to use left-handed, and the rest is music history.

Albert King

The left-handed King is a legend in blues music. Instead of learning to play with his right hand or restringing the guitar as many other left-handed guitarists chose to do, King simply learned to play the right-handed guitars flipped upside down, with the strings in reverse order. This unusual technique helped him create his original sound style, forcing him to find new ways to create the sounds he was looking for.

Kurt Cobain

Cobain is remembered mostly for his early death, and the fact that he was also an incredible guitarist is sometimes forgotten. He got a guitar as a gift for his 14th birthday and started covering songs like “Stairway to Heaven,” but he was soon writing his own songs. Rolling Stone magazine named him the 75th greatest guitarist of all time, one of only a few left-handed guitarists to achieve honor on that list.

Tony Iommi

Known best as one of the members of Black Sabbath, Iommi first began learning guitar left-handed as a teenager. When Iommi was 17 he lost the tips of two fingers on his right hand in a work accident. He tried to learn to play right-handed, but eventually went back to his left-handed guitar with lighter strings and thimbles on his tipless fingers. Iommi went on to make music history when he played with Sabbath. By detuning his guitar down to ease tension on his injured fingers, he created what is now a common technique in heavy metal music to get their unique sound.

Guest post: Jason Kane is a vinyl music collector and avid music blogger. Jason writes for www.soundstagedirect.com, a vinyl record and equipment distributor.

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