Eclectic Lefty-hand: Conjectures on Jimi Hendrix, Handedness, and Electric Ladyland

untitled14th January 2010. 27 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FA, UK.

Eclectic Lefty-hand: Conjectures on Jimi Hendrix, Handedness, and Electric Ladyland

I always thought of Jimi as just coming from outer space, because he was just so different. He just came from such a left-field place.

– Robbie Krieger, guitarist in The Doors

This new analysis of Jimi Hendrix’s songs argues that his mixed-handedness gave him greater integration of his left and right hands in guitar playing, while also conferring uniquely special benefits in playing a left-handed guitar.

The article by Stephen Christman of Toledo University, which appears in The Right-hand and the Left-hand of History, a Special Issue of the journal Laterality, goes on to suggest that Hendrix’s mixed-handedness (he described himself as a lefty but used different hands for certain tasks) meant that the two sides of his brain could interact more quickly and fluently than in standard single-handed people, providing a previously unsuspected insight into his exceptional songwriting talents and musicianship.

From Paul McCartney to Kurt Cobain, left-handed guitarists have long stood out, with the necks of their guitars pointing in a different direction from everyone else’s. Left-handedness has intrigued, perplexed, and sometimes disturbed humans since time immemorial, and Hendrix’s left-handed guitar playing constitutes a powerful part of his public image as Rock’s ultimate rebel outsider.

Other articles in this outstanding issue, published by Psychology Press, discuss various aspects of how left-handedness has been conceived culturally through the ages, covering British musical prodigies William Crotch and Samuel Wesley; why left-handed swordsmen are so difficult to beat at fencing; and latest research into why people seem to instinctively hold babies on the right-side of their chest.                                                 

To read Eclectic Lefty-hand visit

For details on The Right-hand and the Left-hand of History visit:

Rob Keery, Journals Marketing Manager, Psychology Press, 27 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2FA, UK

Tel.: (0) 207 017 7725 Fax.: (0) 20 7017 6717. Email: Web:


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