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Turkey: My long search for a left-handed instrument

I was born in Turkey in 1979 and have been living in Vienna since 2002. Neither by my parents nor by teachers I was forced to write, paint etc. with my right hand. My father was also left-handed and he was also allowed to do everything with his left hand. I was lucky because it also happens in Turkey, especially in the very religious families, that the left hand is considered "dirty".


The first person I saw playing an instrument with his left hand was Arif Sağ. He is a very talented, very famous saz player, a musician in Turkey. So as a child I was already aware: there must be instruments for me! But he has his sazs custom-made, like many other famous musicians in the country have.


Unfortunately, my wish as a child to get a plucked instrument like a guitar, mandolin or cura (a kind of small saz) was not fulfilled by my parents. On the one hand they didn't want any noise, on the other hand it wasn't easy to find a musical instrument for left-handed people at all. I later got my first guitar as a gift from an acquaintance of my mother who had a small musical instrument store. I had this old little classical guitar restringed, but unfortunately it didn't survive long, because it was already old and one day the neck broke off the body. I was about 19 years old and didn't know until then how important it was to measure and regulate the room temperature and humidity. We didn't have internet at home, I couldn't research everything. And my left-handedness was kind of a "problem" for me in that sense, I wanted to play but I couldn't find any instrument! - Of course, it wasn't my left-handedness that was the problem, but the attitude, ignorance and discrimination from society. (Many people told me that I could buy a [conventional] instrument and have it changed – but I didn't want to do that, I'm not Jimi Hendrix).


Anil holding two black electric guitars

When I bought my first lefty electric guitar, I was in Vienna and 25 years old. This cheap beginner guitar had only 22 frets instead of 24, so I sold it a few years later and bought an Ibanez Gio for left-handers. When I bought it, I really realized how limited and disadvantaged left-handed people are: The choice (model, color, etc.) was quite narrow and the price difference to righty models (depending on the instrument) was huge. For my guitar I had to pay 50 euros more at that time. I got my second electric guitar B. C. Rich Warlock as a gift in 2010. This guitar was an exhibit on sale at that time. The B. C. Rich company abruptly reduced the production of left-handed instruments starting in 2018/19, so their left-handed models that are still in stores cost a fortune. And my B. C. Rich Warlock got the honorary title of "The most expensive item in the apartment".


I am teaching myself to play the guitar. It's been more than 15 years and I'm still not at a professional level. I prefer to play solos because I can't play chords easily. I know it's not a nice excuse to have short fingers, but I find it quite difficult and that's why I neglected chord exercises. I can't read notes fast enough, so I read tabs for guitars. I prefer to play symphonic or glam metal, hard rock.... and the melodies that I like.


Anil in dark colors with her black B. C. Rich Warlock electric guitar

My role models are all female musicians who are doing their best in an industry where male dominance still reigns. Some of my role models: Vicki Peterson from The Bangles, Nancy Wilson from Heart, Jan Kuehnemund (✝) from Vixen, Michelle Meldrum (✝) from Phantom Blue, and Lita Ford. They still inspire me to play because they still play themselves! Hallelujah, Amen. :-)

They have beautiful guitars, I especially like Lita Ford's B. C. Rich models.


I'm a member of the "LinkeHand" association in Vienna, which is committed to the promotion of left-handed people, and I maintain their official Facebook group and Instagram account.


Anıl Üver




 

Today, we have a considerable selection of left-handed guitars available on the market. In their Left Handed Guitar Database, the site "leftyfretz" presents left-handed guitars and other plucked instruments from various manufacturers.


Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Photo credits: private

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