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 face the challenge of finding the necessary tools to tackle tasks in a right-handed world. This is particularly true for guitarists.
Right-handers have access to the biggest range of instruments, across all brands and styles. Conversely, left-handed people have a smaller selection available to them. They face potentially re-engineering a right-handed guitar, which can be expensive. They could resort to settling on an instrument that isn’t designed 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. Arguably the biggest name of all, Jimi Hendrix, was left-handed. Other notable lefties include Kurt Cobain, Tony Iommi and Paul McCartney.
Right-to-Left Conversion: Is it Worth it?
Many guitarists wonder about the viability of converting a right-handed guitar into a lefty. However, this particular practice is fraught with danger to all but the most experienced luthiers and guitar techs. Inconveniences include swapping the guitar’s nut around, which drastically changes the intonation settings; getting used to the hardware controls being the wrong way; overcoming the discomfort associated with ‘horned’ guitars, e.g. the Fender Stratocaster, 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. This is due to the internal bracing these guitars have to balance out tension from the strings. All told, not a practice we’d advocate.
Thankfully, 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. Better still, the ones available are identical versions of some of the best-known guitars of all time. Let’s take a look at a few different options to get you started.
Left-Handed Electric Guitars
1. Redwood RS2L Beginner
The Redwood RS2L Beginner left-handed electric guitar adheres to a classic double-cutaway design. Lightweight and easy to wield, the RS2L is a fantastic model for players of all ages and abilities. The RS2L combines solid construction and sublime playability at an affordable price. From country to hard rock, you can hone your skills and refine your licks on a guitar built to last.
2. Epiphone Les Paul Standard
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 Epi Les Pauls is that they excel in terms of features and sound. They are so well-built that they can last a lifetime, and players rarely outgrows them.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro LH has the same specifications as its right-handed cousin. One such highlight are the pair of 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.
3. Fender Player Series Telecaster
As the ‘other’ one of the electric guitar world’s Big Two, the Telecaster is an ideal guitar to learn on. The Tele’ boasts a robust body shape, comfortable neck and famous ‘twangy’ tone. Fender has a worthy reputation for producing amazing guitars for the players of all skill levels, and this Fender Player Series Telecaster left-handed electric guitar will provide any player with a high quality yet affordable instrument to kick out the jams on.
4. Ibanez AS93FML
For any players keen to explore smooth jazz-inspired tones, the Ibanez AS93FML will fit like a glove. The beautifully crafted hollow body design pairs a large lower bout with slender waist to maximise tonal power and playing comfort. Elegant touches such as the bound ebony fingerboard and gold finished hardware elevate the high standards we’ve come to expect from Ibanez, whilst the impressive Super 59 humbuckers deliver sublime tones. Whether you’re practising at home, jamming with friends or wowing the crowds, do it in style with the AS93FML.
Left-Handed Acoustic Guitars
1. Martin LX1EL Little Martin
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, for plugging 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.
2. Yamaha FG820L
The Yamaha FG820L enables learners to dive into the world of guitar playing at an affordable price. Shaped to a classic dreadnought body shape, the mahogany body generates a stirring energy whilst the spruce top projects a graceful tone. Scalloped bracing ensures that the soundboard can resonate unimpeded whilst retaining a firm and unyielding hold. Stable yet responsive hardware optimises tuning integrity, intonation and sustain for consistent performance every time.
3. Fender CD60S Acoustic
Finally, this frankly stunning acoustic from Fender is an investment that will stay with you forever. The Fender CD60S Acoustic is a superb quality instrument capable of producing some breath-taking 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.
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.
Grab the gear
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.
Journalist, PR and multimedia specialist. Write professionally on subjects ranging from musical instruments to industrial technology.