Like Albert King, whose birthday was this past weekend, I am an unreformed lefty, playing guitar left-handed. But unlike Albert I go through the trouble and expense of getting actual left-handed guitars, like this Epiphone that recently replaced my 20-year-old imitation Strat.
This all comes to mind as I'm putting together a little tribute to classic left-handed blues guitarists for tomorrow's show, centered around the birthdays of two of the best-known, Albert King and Otis Rush. But I can't tell whether or not to be surprised about how few other candidates there are: Lefty Dizz, Johnny Jenkins, Elizabeth Cotten, and, inevitably, Jimi Hendrix (he played upside-down but re-strung, of course). But who else -- Paul McCartney? In baseball you've got righties learning to bat left-handed so they can take advantage of the majority righty pitchers. But in music it's the opposite: with just about all the hardware built for right-handed play, there's even more pressure than with writing (where the instruments, let's not forget, are hand-neutral) not to play left-handed. Listen, I couldn't help it: at age 16 I picked up a guitar and played it upside-down for a month before getting hold of a genuine lefty. Hey, it's just a mirror image -- kind of like my clock.