10 of the Best Left-Handed Guitarists of All Time
Left-handed guitarists are uncommon in the music industry. While many great guitarists are left-handed or have chosen to play left-handed, they are frequently overshadowed by their right-handed counterparts. However, this does not take away from the legacy left-handed guitarists have left behind.
Here is a list of 10 of the best left-handed guitarists of all time.
1. Jimi Hendrix
Though he was a lefty, Jimi Hendrix played right-handed guitar with strings arranged for a lefty. He is regarded as the inventor of the ‘wah pedal’ and also pioneered the technique of feedback and distortion. His style of playing influenced countless other guitarists.
He has been inducted into multiple halls of fame, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the UK Music Hall of Fame, and the Grammy Hall of Fame. Because of his talent, he’s considered to be one of the greatest and most revolutionary guitarists in history.
2. Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi was the guitarist for the iconic metal band Black Sabbath. He is one of the pioneers of heavy metal and his style of playing has influenced many other guitarists in the genre. He is also known for his signature “Black Sabbath” sound, which is a mix of blues and heavy metal.
He has won multiple Grammy Awards with Black Sabbath and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. He is considered to be one of the greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time.
3. Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain was the lead guitarist and vocalist for the band Nirvana. His band was one of the most influential bands of the grunge movement. Although he was right-handed, he played a left-handed guitar. His style of playing was unique and influenced many other guitarists.
He is considered to be one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
4. Albert King
Albert King was a highly influential blues guitarist who is considered one of the greatest musicians in the genre. He has influenced many other guitarists, one of which was Jimi Hendrix. He was also known for his playing style, which incorporated elements of both lead and rhythm guitar.
He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983 and again by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thirty years later in 2013.
5. Zacky Vengeance
The rhythm guitarist for the band Avenged Sevenfold, Zacky is known for his unique style of playing. He often uses two-handed tapping and sweep picking, which gives his playing a very distinct sound. He is also known for his use of harmonics and pinch harmonics.
He has won multiple awards with Avenged Sevenfold, including a ‘Best Guitarist Award’ at the Golden God Awards in 2011.
6. Dick Dale
The King of the Surf Guitar, Dick Dale, is considered one of the pioneers of the surf rock genre. He is known for his fast and aggressive picking style, which often incorporated reverb and echo. He learned to play the guitar using right-handed strings, even though he is left-handed. This meant that he had to learn how to play the guitar upside down.
He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009 and the Surf Walk of Fame in 2011.
7. Eric Gales
Eric Gales is a blues-rock guitarist who is known for his unique style of playing. Though he is right-handed, Eric Gales’ brother taught him how to play the guitar with his left hand. Since then, he has not learned how to play the guitar with his right hand. This gives him a very distinct sound. He is also known for his use of feedback and distortion.
He has won multiple awards, including the ‘Blues Rock Artist of the Year’ for 2019 and 2020.
8. Otis Rush
Being left-handed, Otis self-taught himself to play the guitar by playing it upside down. He was one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time and his style has influenced many other guitarists, including Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. He was also known for his use of vibrato and sustain, which gave his playing a very distinctive sound.
He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984.
9. Barbara Lynn
Barbara Lynn is a highly influential R&B and blues guitarist. She is one of the few left-handed female guitarists in the world. She is known for her soulful and emotional style of playing. Lynn often uses vibrato and tremolo to create a distinctive sound. Because of her talent, she received a National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2018.
10. Mdou Moctar
Mahamadou Souleymane, also known as Mdou Moctar, is a Nigerian guitarist who plays a unique style of Tuareg guitar. He is one of the most influential guitarists in the world and has often been referred to as the “Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara”. He incorporates his Nigerian heritage into his music, giving it a unique flavor.
Left-handed guitarists often have to either retool their instruments or learn to play with their non-dominant hand, which can be frustrating for those who want to make music their career. Nevertheless, there are many fantastic lefty guitar players in the world whose styles have affected other musicians.
Jimi Hendrix Featured Image (Top-Left) by: A. Vente, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons
Tony Iommi Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Photobra (Adam Bielawski), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Eric Gales Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Craftonia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Dick Dale Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Mike Burns from Somerville, MA, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons