Feb 07

Left is Right

Had to cut something today. Of course that meant facing the bane of my existence ever since that damn art time during kindergarten: the dreaded battle between my left-handedness… and a world devoid of lefty scissors of any consequence.

10% of the world is said to be left-handed. And beyond the constant worry about smudging ink all over our arms and shirts while fighting “The Man” with his right-handed biased notebooks and left-to-right designed English language style, we usually can hold our own in society.  Ted Williams (batted lefty), Mark Twain, and President Barack Obama all know that “Left is Right” – and of course we can hold our left-leaning heads high since we undoubtedly have the best of the best in the Southpaw division: Rocky Balboa and Ned Flanders.

A couple of posts ago, I talked about my craziness about Top 5 Lists. I seem to like to challenge myself (and others) to sharpen the conversation to a short list to easily manage.. but debate and debate and debate. So for today’s list?

DK’s Top 5 Favorite Left-Handed Guitarists of All Time…boom. Let’s do this, one lefty to another (well, some of you must be lefty like me… it’s science.):

Dick+Dale+Dick_Dale5. Dick Dale – The King of the Surf Guitar. This guys shreds like the surfers out on the Banzai Pipeline.  The influence he had – guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and on garage music all up and down the West Coast – is incredible. This guys a War Machine, with the speed of a fighter jet. Want to get the full “Dick Dale Experience?” Put on “Pipeline” or “Misirlou” and be done with it. Game. Set. Match.









4.  Tommy Iommi – How can this guy NOT be on this kind of list? “War Pigs?” “Paranoid?” This guy is the dark half (to the mystical part played by Jimmy Page) of the metal birth in the late 60s/early 70s. Plus, he’s a bad-ass. Parts of his fingers were chopped off while working in the metal mills and machine shops that inspired the Sabbath sound! Now THAT’S dedication!  Don’t believe me? Let him tell you more about this magic.






Albert_King3.  Albert King – The Southpaw of the Four Kings of Blues Guitar. King’s strength was in that famous “Lucy” guitar and his 6′ 4″ frame. He just WILLED those strings into place.  Oh, and he also gets a special “Atta Lefty Boy” bit of dap for a great nickname, The Velvet Bulldozer.  From “Born Under a Bad Sign” to “Crosscut Saw” this guy did it all… and influenced a generation of blues greats along the way. You know, like some small players named Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and Derek Trucks.  If you don’t have “Live Wire/Blues Power” or “Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan in Session” … you need to get a-steppin’ to a record shop for some sweet vinyl.. or just download these ASAP.







2.  Paul McCartney – OK, so more known for his left-handed bass play… but really? A list without him would be nuts. This guy is a 5-tool player. Player, songwriter, producer, performer, and icon.  The Beatles’ influence seems to have no ending point, and this is due to the tremendous work of this left-handed master. Blackbird alone is enough to make my happy putting him here.  But come on. He’s a BEATLE. This is required. And technically, he was a guitarist during The Quarrymen-era of the band, and moved over to bass just so they could get a proper band sound as they moved from pretty-great local Liverpool band (by way of Hamburg, Germany gigs) to THE most important music of the late 20th Century. And no, Paul is not dead. (morbid Beatles humor there. Sorry)


jimi_hendrix1. Jimi Hendrix – No surprise here. A comet in the night sky. Just an amazing talent whose true stardom only was in a focused 4-year span after years on the road, in the old Chitlin’ Circuit and in backing bands for such artists as Little Richard, Wilson Pickett and Jackie Wilson.  Then he hit England. The rest is history. There are a million examples of his greatness, from “The Star Spangled Banner” wake up during Woodstock, or his signature “ceremonial guitar sacrificing” when introduced to the scene at the Monterey International Pop Festival. But for me, THIS is Hendrix at his best. Him, a guitar, and the blues.

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