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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Nothing to fret: Lefty learns guitar in right-handed ways

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  • If you meet Brandon Gossvener while he's playing a guitar, he seems normal enough.
    Right hand strumming, left hand moving up and down the neck of the guitar, Gossvener will look like an old pro in the right-handed position. But go to shake his hand, and don't be surprised if his left hand stretches out over the neck of the guitar.
    Gossvener is a lefty in a right-handed world, and, as such, has learned to be ambidextrous in a lot of ways.
    "Now, I don't think I could go back, trying to play left-handed," he said. "It would probably feel more natural, but wouldn't feel right."
    When he was younger, his uncle gave him a guitar and said he could keep it if he learned to play. So, he learned, but from his right-handed buddies.
    "I didn't know any different," he says. "I just knew that's how everybody else played it and that's how I learned."
    It wasn't until several years after the fact he learned there is a lefty configuration in the guitar world.
    "I couldn't believe it," he says. "I just thought that was how you played, how everybody played. I didn't know any different."
    In most other aspects, Gossvener is still left-handed. When he works with the Carter County Sheriff's Department, he trains left-handed and says he's often put on the left side in SWAT drills.
    "It has its benefits there, because the guys you're after don't usually expect something from the left," he says. "And I can be more useful on the left side in drills. So in that regard, it's pretty handy."
    Through the years, he has learned that left-handed people do have their own specialty items, including guns.
    "I went to buy a rifle, and the guy says 'You're a lefty, aren't ya?' So he tells me about a left-handed bolt-action rifle, where the bolt is on the other side so the shells eject away from your face. You can get them for assault rifles and other guns too," Gossvener says.
    But all of his left-handed experience comes after he learned about his ambidextrous musical talents.
    "To be honest, it really has its benefits to play right-handed," he says. "You can hand your guitar to just about anybody, and they can play it, you can jam with them the same direction and everything is strung the right way.
    "It's actually more convenient, since most people who play are right-handed."
    Gosveener also plays trapset in a right-handed setup for many of the same reasons.
    "The only difference is, most people play cross-handed, I play in a open setup," he says. "It really is kind of more convenient."
    Page 2 of 2 - So in a world of righties, Gosveener's left-handed tendencies have learned to adapt. But could he go the way of Jimi Hendrix and learn left-handed?
    "I'd absolutely learn it left-handed," he says. "I'd probably be much farther along now than I am had I learned left-handed."
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