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I've watched many guitar training videos, and I give most of them an “F” for their ability to instruct left-handed players. The guitar industry is WAY behind the times when it comes to embracing the preferences of its customers. (Don't get me started).

I wanted to jot down my observations and make a few suggestions to improve the situation.

What's The Problem

Imagine that you are a left-handed guitar player, and you sit down to watch an instructional video for one of your favorite songs. Here are some obstacles you will face:

  • the instructor is right-handed, and thinks his entire audience is right-handed
  • the instructor says you should strum your “right hand” like this, but your right hand is on the fretboard
  • the instructor says you should finger a certain chord with your “left hand”, but your left hand is in the strumming position
  • the video displays chord diagrams on the screen. Unfortunately the diagrams are unusable because:
    • horizontal chords show the neck on the right side of the diagram, but yours is on the left
    • vertical chords show the low E string on the left side of the diagram, but yours is on the right
  • close-up shots are complicated

That's a really frustrating situation to be in. Your learning process is interrupted while you mentally transpose “left” and “right”. Its interrupted even more as you try to reverse the chord diagrams in your head. And you might as well stop the video if the camera angles change.

Stealing ideas from elsewhere

Things that are done wrong

Topic Item
Vocabulary Don't use the words “left” and “right” when referring to the instructor's or the learner's body. This limits the usefulness of an audio track. Instead, use phrases that refer to the function of a body part, like “fret hand” or “leg supporting the guitar.”
Video The software used to view a video should allow the learner to reverse the video to suit his learning style. Left-to right video reversal allows a single recording to be used by left or right handed learners.
Close-ups Close-ups of finger positions should be reversible as well.
Illustrations Chord diagrams, fingering illustrations, picking patterns, etc should be displayed based on user preferences. Chord diagrams should be displayable with vertical or horizontal strings, and with the strings in either order (low-to-high or high-to-low).
Background Background items that look “wrong” when a video is reversed should be removed from the set. Specific items include: clocks, digital displays, wedding rings, logos on clothing, and any item with text that can be read (music instruments, books, etc.)
/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/pages/music/guitarvideos.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/06 11:10 by Chris Freyer