Six of the best southpaw guitars for all levels
Left handed people in most walks of life have got it hard. Accounting for only 10 per cent of the world’s population, lefties constantly face the challenge of finding the necessary tools to tackle tasks in a predominantly right handed world. This is particularly true for guitarists.
Right-handers have access to the biggest range of instruments, across all brands and styles. Left handed people, on the other hand, have a choice between the small selection of dedicated left-handed guitars on the market, a potentially expensive re-engineering of a right handed guitar, or a colossal learning curve on an instrument which isn’t built for them.
This shouldn’t deter lefty learners for taking up the instrument though. Some of the biggest names in guitar history were left handed, and they did alright for themselves – after all, perhaps the biggest name of all, Jimi Hendrix, was left handed and other notable lefties include Kurt Cobain, Tony Iommi and Paul McCartney.
Many guitarists wonder about the viability of converting a right handed guitar into a lefty. The truth is that this particular practice is fraught with danger to all but the most experienced luthiers and guitar techs. It involves swapping the guitar’s nut around, drastically changing the intonation settings, getting used to the hardware controls permanently being the wrong way around and, on ‘horned’ guitars like the Fender Stratocaster, having the body shape jabbing into your body at uncomfortable angles. This is all assuming it’s an electric guitar in question too. The same conversion on an acoustic is nigh-on impossible, due to the internal bracing these guitars have on one side to balance out the tension put on the body where the lower strings are. All told, not a practice we’d advocate.
Thankfully though, it needn’t come to that. While there are undeniably fewer dedicated left handed guitars on the market, that doesn’t mean there are none. And, better still, the ones that are there are identical versions of some of the best known, best selling guitars of all time. Let’s take a look at a few different options to get you started.
Left Handed Electric Guitars
Let’s start with a classic design! Lefties rejoice, Fender have released a beautifully designed guitar for those who want a sturdy, reliable guitar to last a lifetime. The Fender Standard Telecaster Left Handed Upgrade gives you that classic telecaster tone and feel at a more affordable price. You have a beautiful alder body coupled with a tinted maple neck with modern C shape profile for comfort and the awesome telecaster single coil pickups for that classic sound. A workhorse that will stay with you for life.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard is one of, if not the, biggest selling guitars in the world. Players love its versatility, looks, sound and vibe, and this left handed version has to be high on the want-list of any budding player. Sometimes, with learner guitars, players can outgrow them in a year or two and be looking for something better or more suited to their playing style. The beauty of the Epi Les Pauls is that they are good enough in terms of features and sound, and so well-built that they can last a lifetime, so nobody ever really outgrows them. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro LH has all the same specifications as its right handed cousin, including two superb Probucker pickups which can be coil split to allow for a wider range of sounds. The AAA flame top is a sight to behold in the flesh, while the Grover tuners will ensure reliable tuning whatever the situation.
As the ‘other’ one of the electric guitar world’s Big Two, the Stratocaster is an ideal guitar to learn on due to its relatively lithe body shape, comfortable neck and famous bluesy tone. Squier has a great reputation for producing amazing guitars for the learner, and this Squier Standard Stratocaster will provide any beginner with a high quality yet affordable instrument on which they can begin their journey.
For any players keen to explore heavier styles of music, this Ibanez RG421EXL-BKF will fit like a glove. The body is slightly lighter than the Stratocaster, and the guitar’s neck is also thinner to make travelling around the fretboard more efficient, while two humbuckers will provide you with a serious amount of punch for those shredding sessions.
Left Handed Acoustics
Acoustic players aren’t without choice either. The Martin LX1EL is a wonderful little bodied acoustic guitar which has found favour with Ed Sheeran on account of its simplicity, compact design and gorgeous tone. The left handed version is identical feature-wise to the right hander, and it also includes a high quality Fishman Isys T pickup so the guitar can be plugged into an amplifier or loop pedal setup. The included gig-bag makes this an extremely attractive proposition for anyone who travels a lot and doesn’t want to leave their guitar behind.
The Redwood range of guitars are designed with the learner in mind and deliver amazing tone and construction at a price which ensures anyone can join in. The Redwood RD100 is one such guitar; it’s ideal particularly for younger players to get to grips with the instrument while its rich, balanced tone and solid construction will make it a great second guitar for players of all levels to have around the studio.
Finally, this frankly stunning acoustic from Fender is an investment that will stay with you forever. The Fender Sonoran SCE Electro Acoustic is a superb quality instrument capable of producing some breathtaking sounds. As with the Les Paul mentioned previously, you’ll struggle to outgrow this guitar so anyone set on a lifetime of playing will be glad to have something so well built and beautifully designed in their arsenal. Best of all, it’s an easily transportable option for those who like to travel with their guitar.
Left Handed Bass
If you’re going to pick a left-handed bass guitar, you may as well start with one of the greatest periods in Jazz Bass history – the Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Left Handed Bass 70s. This awesome bass not only looks amazing, but features a beautiful maple body, super smooth maple neck for ease of use and the awesome Fender designed single coil pickups. This Squier bass would not look out of place on the worlds stages thanks to the block inlays, striking maple colour and the cool angled jazz design, but it’s the awesome sustain and superb pickups able to go from punchy to smooth warm tones that offer the musician a wide range of tonal options – a great bass for all left-handed players
We know it’s harder for left handed players to find something they like. Right handers have got it easy with so much choice and variation, but hopefully this list shows there are some great options out there for lefties. Check out our other great left handed acoustic guitars or our left handed electric guitars if you need more inspiration. And, as ever, if you need any advice you can speak to one of our in-store specialists who can guide you in the right direction or you can call our mail order team on 01925 582420 with any questions you may have.