As Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds took the field with his patriotic-themed guitar to play “America the Beautiful” during the 2023 Super Bowl, some people expressed confusion on Twitter.
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Edmonds, a North Central High School graduate with an honorary doctorate from Indiana University, was tapped to perform along with country star Chris Stapleton at Super Bowl LVII.
But the guitar had some viewers scratching their heads.
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It wasn’t an embarrassing accident by the 12-time Grammy winner. The guitar may have been upside down, but it’s a fairly common practice for left-handed guitar players, and something Edmonds has been doing for quite some time. Some learn to play this way, and some even string it backward, avoiding the need to learn to play right-handed.
It’s not uncommon for left-handed musicians to flip their instruments. According to a 2022 feature from Guitar World, left-handed guitars aren’t as commonly available, leading to this practice. “A surprising number of left-handed guitarists simply learned on upside-down right-handed guitars, again having to discover their own approach to the instrument because conventional techniques were impossible,” Guitar World’s Jenna Scaramanga wrote.
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Notably, lefty Kurt Cobain played an upside-down guitar during Nirvana’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance. Jimi Hendrix did the same. According to a 2016 Popular Mechanics article, “he flipped over and restrung standard right-handed Fender Stratocasters.”
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Babyface performs at Super Bowl: Some lefties play guitar upside down