16 Apr 2011

The Secret Life of Left-Handed Musicians

From RNZ Music, 5:40 pm on 16 April 2011

Nick Atkinson talks to diverse range of sinistra (left handed) local musicians hoping to unearth the behavioural traits these creative souls share.

“Basically if you’re left-handed you’re evil. You’ve got to watch out for anyone who’s left-handed.” Says Phoenix Foundation multi-instrumentalist Will “Wild Bill” Ricketts. While tongue-in-cheek, it’s a theory that has its roots buried deep in ancient history when left-handers were thought to contain the spirit of Lucifer.

But it’s not all dark clouds and thunder-claps. American studies suggest that left-handers may earn up to %15 more than right-handers and they have a tendency to be high achievers.

However if they’re going to play music they’ll first have to grapple with instruments designed for right-handed use.

Anika Moa still plays a standard-strung right-handed guitar, but upside down! Shane Carter of the Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer was forced to write with his right hand at school. Bass player Nick Bollinger also learnt to play a right-handed instrument inverted because there simply wasn’t time to continually re-string the instrument as it was passed from brother to brother.