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Left handed guitars

Learning to play guitar lefthanded.

These images show some of my guitars.You may notice they are lefthanded.

left to right;
Fender 72 Telecaster Custom.
Fender Fretless Jazz Bass
1971 Fender Jazz Bass
Fender Stratocaster
Gibson Les Paul Gold Top

Students new to playing guitar often ask me the best way forward if they too are lefthanded
In my opinion, and it is just my opinion! I recommend students buy a left handed guitar from the outset.
Many major companies such as Yamaha, Fender, Squire, Ibanez, Aria, Tanglewood, Stagg and Epiphone have lefty guitars in their ranges

If you need a classical lefty at a good price, check out Alhambra, Takamine, Hokada, Lag or Dean guitars, also take a look at Pavanguitars.com.
If price is not an issue, Luthiers such as Carrillo, Cashimira and Contreras build high end guitars to order.

When starting out, many students, or more usually parents, are concerned about the cost of buying their first guitar.
OK. I'll make a concession here....
There is nothing wrong buying a cheap second hand right handed guitar, especially an acoustic. But you have got to restring it lefthanded. Just as I did when I started out.
This would not have any noticable effect on quality of sound. If you make progress and decide to upgrade to a better guitar, then would be the time to see what the left handed market has to offer.

But bear in mind, there are numerous lefthanded electric and acoustic guitar packages available.
Check out the musical instruments section on e-bay. Around 100 can get you started with a new leftie electric guitar

Whilst we may not have the same market choice as right handed guitarists, there are still plenty of models to choose from at all price points.

Points to buying a lefthanded guitar:
Is the guitar you intend to buy the correct type?
Probably best to not buy a classical if you want to play Greenday or Metallica, any more than you should buy an electric if you want to play flamenco guitar.
So! Purchase a lefthanded guitar, but do not restring it upside down.
Do not buy a right handed guitar and play upside down.
And most importantly. Do not be pressured by salespeople. If it doesn't feel right, leave it for another day.

And finally. I have seen numerous publications of left handed guitar books. Whilst I have never purchased these books, I wonder how useful they are! I read music and tab the same way as everyone else.
So why would I want to look at something back to front? After all, we all read books and newspapers the same way.
I cant help thinking these books may help the beginner learn a basic chord or two, but you would only have to adjust to the 'normal' way later on as you progress to more demanding pieces of music.
There is a tremendous amount of printed tab, lyrics and notation available, often with chord boxes printed out to show you what shape chord to play.
I have yet to see music and tab printed left handed. I'm tempted to stay with convention!

I think trying to adjust to right handed chord symbols after spending time learning them back to front, may very well confuse me.


Lefties can have fun too!
josh jewsbury

copyright © josh jewsbury 2013