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So for a while now I’ve been thinking about buying a sexy new guitar. I’m not much of a guitar nerd, but after seeing the band Saturday Looks Good To Me perform months ago I decided (without knowing what one is) that I wanted a hollow body guitar. Something that’s a little bit cool and a little bit retarded.

After vaguely describing what I desired, my good buddies on the Songfight IRC channel pointed me to the Ibanez Artcore AFS75T:

So I am all ready with my money and my desire for the new hotness guitar. Should be a pretty simple process after this, but I play guitar left handed.

Here are the two main ways this is annoying:

1. I can’t find a store around here where I can try one of these guitars out.
2. It’s not clear whether a left handed version of this guitar actually exists.

And if we were to ever get past those two, there would be:

3. The left handed guitar is probably more expensive than the right handed.

So it’s looking pretty bleak for the left-handed guitar lust.

Posted on - December 30, 2003 [at] 1:43 pm by Brad
Tagged in -

121 Comments on this post

Scott H. on Left Handed Guitar Woe
October 8, 2007 at 10:06 am

This is probably a settled issue by now, given the date this thread started, but I have play left handed also. When I was a kid my teacher forced me to play right handed, so I would go home and play it upside down with the string upside down. Obviously I didn’t get very far that way. Latter on I had a cheap Yamaha original lefty guitar that played pretty bad (even though I didn’t know that at the time) and again I didn’t get very far. I finally gave up on playing. 20 years latter, I finally have some money, and was able to renew my interest in playing by buying a Martin D35 Left handed guitar. Martin makes original left a=handed guitars at no extra cost. I can not stress enough to get a decent guitar to play on. You will enjoy playing so much more, you will sound better and will therefore advance quicker than with a cheap guitar. Not sure if it’s worth the money for a starter guitar? Not sure if your kid will continue playing? Getting a cheap guitar is probably the best way guarantee that they will not keep playing.

Matt on Left Handed Guitar Woe
December 12, 2007 at 8:08 am

I too am unfortunatly a left hander. I say unfortunatly only for the fact that all guitars are rare, more expensive and often not made in a left hand model.
I take consolidation in the fact that some of the greatest guitarists of all time were left handed. Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Jimmi Hendrix…its nice to know us lefties have somthing to work with.
My concern is that when i realised some of these guitar icons, who revolutionised guitars and music, were left handed, it got me thinking. If all these legends are left handed then why arent the companies encourgaing left hand playes. If anyhting its descouraged to the point where i know several left hand guitarists who learnt to play right handed to save time, money and effort.

Why are us lefties descriminated against? I mean, if you think about it, it IS descrimination. Where else in thw wordl, and for what other item, culture, religion (etc etc etc) can people of an uncontrolled condition have to pay more or just straight out give up on trying to find a specific item because for them its too expensive or just isnt made?
To be more specific, there are left handed EVERYTHING these days, andi cant find one particular item that is made specifically for left handers which costs me more than a right hander…except guitars.
If i were but a little more wealthy (no complaints) i’d like to see osmbody take on the guitar industry over the left hand issue.

I’m only 17, only been palying guitar for about 2 years. But ive got an Epiphone LP-100 and i have my sights set on a Gibson SG Standard. I’ve searched high and low. (Being in Australia dosn’t help much). It’s just not going to happen. I’ve just about tried every combination of the words ‘left hand gibson sg standard second hand used’ google can take and no luck. Ebay has looked promsing twice, the first time international shipping added $800AUD (arround $700USD) to get here + GST + Tax + Customs etc. The second time, the bastard (sorry) sold it from under me (thats beside the point).

I understand im getting carried away! I know the facts.
Some 2% of all guitarists are left handed and companies have to recalibrate and re order and re-everything their machienery to create left hand models. But they cant outright exclude us. Gibson (in particular) are making enough of a profit to open up a left hand section of the company. Most models have to be custom made in left hand, which only adds a spare couple of hundred (or in cases) thousand dollars. Or just standard issues cost enough more that a right hander could buy the model up. On top of all that, any young musicians who can afford to lose a limb so young to pay off a guitar, have to look even further because second hand lefty models are even harder to find (let alone at a reasonable price)

If sombody can give me a good reason why left handers have to endure all this, other than what ive already stated, ill listen. But it’s not fair, its not right and it SHOULDNT be legal.

If i think of anything else to complain about ill add it to the post. (Yes that is sarcasm, because i know ive just bitched alot) But im hoping to rally some support…which may eventually lead to a petition or somthing of the sort.

Anyone interested, visit you may not want an explorer in particular, but the support helps and may get gibson and other companies thinking about us lefties!

( i do appologise for the ‘novel’ of a post, but i needed to say it!)

ben stubbings on Left Handed Guitar Woe
February 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm

hey u lot ,its so anoying being left handed and i really want a mustang ,olympic white and red perloid pickguard i know it sounds real picky but i really need a good sounding guitar that i can have for the rest of my life.ive recently started giging and have realised that my strat copy just doesnt have that special sound that ive been looking for ,for so long .
The whole of my family has never played an instrument in there lives but as soon as i picked up a guitar i fell in love with it and couldnt put it down.they dont understand the differance between my richwood strat copy and a fender mustang i just wish they did.
i really like’d my strat copy but it just doesnt make my needs anymore and has no bite or distinct sound.i just want something different.

Ryan on Left Handed Guitar Woe
June 14, 2008 at 5:14 pm


Go to:

Both order leftys that are not normally made, in cash in advance, and sell them all over the world.

Jerry is a cool guy. I just bought a Timberline acoustic from him and have an Epiphone Sheraton II from Southpaw.

Backwards upside-down sucks…been there. Get a guitar made for you. Oh, and since many of these are very limited edition runs, they will hold their value will.

Rock on.

Greg on Left Handed Guitar Woe
July 26, 2008 at 10:56 am

hey, I have been playin upside down and backwards for twenty years and it is working great for me. Never had a problem flatpicking or strumming.

Mac Viviezca on Left Handed Guitar Woe
December 4, 2008 at 1:31 am

Dude, i have a bigger problem. I live in the Philippines. Talk about scarcity, man! Though I was able to get my hands on an MIJ ’89-90s Fender Strat, I’m still trying to look for other lefties! Like every lefty I know, I also started playing the guitar with the strings upside down. It was a couple of years before I decided to look for a lefty axe and play the thing naturally. We have some locally made lefties but the quality is below par. Wasn’t even able to intonate the damn thing.

My advice? Go look for the “One” guitar. She’s out there somewhere!

CORDELIER on Left Handed Guitar Woe
February 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm

If you want a French opinion…
I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading this entire thread ! But, as it seems to still go on, here am I to add my opinion.
First, it’s reassuring to read from so many other lefties, for the very first feeling you have, most of the time, is to be the only one in the world…
Talking about the ‘psycho-biological’ aspect of playing ‘the wrong side’, I support what ‘Michael’ said here more than a year ago : I’m totally … right handed for everything in life, except playing the guitar (26 years), and for the very same reason as his : as a right handed, I find it much more comfortable (included unconsciously, in my brain) and efficient to have my ‘skilled hand’ on the neck. That’s where the challenge is ! That’s also why, after a try, I definitely renounced reversing the strings, which in addition is very uncomfortable and alters the sound quality (except maybe if you’re a luthier with an equipped workshop).
Second : I want to reassure those here who express frustration about being ‘the forgotten ones’ when it comes to search for the holy grail at a reasonable price. I’ve been around the DC area for 18 months now and, though it’s still difficult, I’ve found and tried much more LH guitars in several shops than I have in France. There, to make it short, you have only one dedicated (little) shop in Paris, so this place is some kind of pilgrimage for all the Froggy lefties !! Needless to say it : prices are an average +10% more for series models. As for custom made… you need quite a budget. I fortunately could buy such a rarity from a French luthier. I paid (secondhand in 2002) around 2000 bucks for it (by the way, watch out on ebay, I’m gonna sell it because I can’t afford keeping it while stepping to the high-end guitars I dream of).
3 – I also agree, of course, with those criticizing the big brands. Yes, Gibson and others could afford launching a LH production line for more than the current LP or strat. Once, I tried to buy the ‘Chet Atkins’ nylon cutaway Gibson (the one Knopfler plays on ‘private investigations’)… nothing could do. I talked to the Gibson guy at the French equivalent of NAMM, I wrote and phone to Gibson in the US, nothing to do : they wouldn’t craft it for me in LH unless I’m Clapton or Sir Mc Cartney ! And this is an example among thousands of other issues of this kind. The fact is, when you want to choose, you have to browse for hours, estimate a guitar with just the factsheet and some pics, and eventually examine a RH version displayed in store…
Indeed, LH petitions are highly encouraged and I join, but they would be more efficient if some of the celebrities could sign them too. Starting from the top is always better than from the bottom (a simple matter of ‘gravity’…)
I won’t give the truth to my fellow LH players here, just my opinion in case it helps some of them. I won’t tell anyone to keep playing RH, reversing chords, etc. I do agree with those who say : keep on searching for your own Grail ’cause yes, it exists somewhere… just for you.
I keep searching for mine. LH handshake to you all.

john on Left Handed Guitar Woe
March 29, 2009 at 1:39 am

I’m totally right handed in every thing i do (i can bat a base ball right of left) with a broken finger on my left in fact i have a broken index finger on both hands. my left hand finger has no movement and is very straight at the end joint. my broker finger on my right hand has very little movement little at the end joint but the joint has a little bent to it (the joint closest to the tip.) i started to play RH guitar restrung and played left handed because i can finger the neck better with my right hand. i bought a lefty and play it like a lefty. in the last year or so now and than i will played a RH guitar lefty not restrung. i was surprised how easy it is to play a RH guitar upside down not restrung some of the cords are easer but some i think are impossible. as for playing melody there is not muck differance you just have to remember to go in the opposit direction when changing strings. when i play my LH guitar people joke about it. when i grab their RH guitar and play it left handed not restrung they don’t know what to think had just say wow. so what you need to do is get a good LF hand guitar and learn to play lefty. and learn to play a RH guitar upside down not restrung

Alex on Left Handed Guitar Woe
April 21, 2009 at 8:45 am

Iam a right handed person but i play left handed guitar. Because it feels more natural to me i have been playing for almost 2 years. Everyone wonders why i play left handed guitar its a funny thing my mom ordered me a guitar that was left handed for birthday present….. it is a pain in the ass to find a decend leftie. But it shouldnt matter what “side” you play with. ,,,, by the way i live in finland you know how hard it is to get a leftie around here….

Bob on Left Handed Guitar Woe
June 15, 2009 at 2:36 am

Just do what Jimi Hendrix did, reverse the strings.

James on Left Handed Guitar Woe
June 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Unfortunately, reversing the strings on a right handed guitar doesn’t magically solve the problem, you would also have to either flip the nut, or buy a left handed one.

Also, you have to think about where the volume and tone pots are, if you’re going to flip a guitar- if they’re right below your hand, it could be a big issue. You don’t want to be playing, hit a power chord, and then the next note realize that your volume has dropped halfway and/or your guitar sounds too muddy/bright (depending on how you play). You want your hand to be clear of any pots/toggle switches.

And not to mention the limited fret access that flipping a guitar creates. if you were to flip a Les Paul, everything above the 15th fret would be almost impossible to play.

And yet something else to consider is that depending on the type of guitar you flip, the bridge is going to be the reverse, which means you might have problems with intonation and string action.

I think the best type of guitars to flip are Gibson-style guitars: SGs, the 330 family, flying Vs, Thunderbirds, etc. Except for the bridge problem, it could be pretty easy to flip them and pretty comfortable to play as well.

You’ll just have to face the fact that finding a decent left handed guitar for a decent price is very hard. And finding a really good left handed guitar that won’t cost you an arm and a leg is damn near impossible.

First off, brands don’t make that many models in both right and left hand. Which is usually why the only left handed models you’ll find at a guitar store (either on or offline) are either pretty cheap or pretty expensive Squier/Fender Strats & Teles, and Epiphone/Gibson SGs & Les Pauls.

And second, left handed models are usually going to cost either $100-$400 extra, depending on whether you go for low-end or high-end.

If only companies like gibson and fender would make more middle-end models left handed. I mean, who wouldn’t love a lefty Melody maker, or a lefty Jagmaster?

Brian on Left Handed Guitar Woe
July 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm

At last, by chance, searching for a good left handed Ibanez hollow body electric, just found the AF 85 LH, but was about to give up.

Then to realize i’m looking at an American site, (I’m in the UK), any thoughts?

But, at last, I’ve come across a meeting point for other lefty guitarists! I’ve been reading and sympathizing with this thread, and just had to air my frustrations.

It has been a long and trying struggle to find a guitar, while still having some choice.

You all must know the frustration of searchingthe strings of guitars to see which way the top E is facing!

To hear, yes we have one or two left handed guitar, in a shop with hundreds of right handed beauties drippiong from the walls.

To sit for hours trying out specific model examples; searching for the one which feels and sounds just right (or should I say left) is unknown to me. I ‘m sure you have experienced this.

For most of my life I managed with the absolute cheapest and turned everything round. Once Spanish/classical models were symmetrical; not any more – I could go on:

Only one colour scheme is available if a left handed model is available at all and far fewer LH models make it to the UK from the states.

Google in some LH models for UK and you sorry no match ….

Anyway I was just passing, still searching for an Ibanez Artcore AF85 lefty on this side of the pond or similar.

The internet has, of course been a great help and in later years, i have managed to get up a collection of a few nice things – love to discuss sometime, It’s been a lonely when it comes to playing left handed guitar.

My greetings, sympathies and encouragement to you all. They’re out there somewhere, I’ve resigned myself to seeing a nice right handed model and trying to order: taking my chance on the sound more recently.

One hing: I promised these guys I’d tell any lefties I came across.

I had a desire to have a Crafter GXL 3000 RS (their top of the range Grand Auditorium, all solid Engleman spruce top and Rosewood back and sides) but after calling all over the world, the factory finally told me they don’t make any left handed ones.

I must have made a fuss, or sounded really disappointed, because a week later they contacted me and said that if i still wanted that guitar, they would make six of them.

Trouble was I had already ordered a lefty Freshman Jumbo, (a really nice guitar by the way).

I said, “Well, if you put it that way, I don’t want to deprive the world of 5 left handed guitars, there are far too few as it is…” So I ordered it and started putting away the pennies.

It really is quite astonishing; shimmeringly resonant. So if they haven’t already sold them there are 5 of those in LH mode; 2 in Bubinga, 2 in Indonesian two tone rosewood, and the remaining one in single tone dark Indian Rosewood back and sides. 3 came here (UK) and 3 went to the states.

The scarcity of left handed in the Ibanez hollow body ranges has been my peeve for this evening’s browsing…. hmm ..Tanglewood?

Good hunting and happy playing..


Brian on Left Handed Guitar Woe
July 8, 2009 at 11:17 am

After many nights, debating over Epi Sheraton II or Ibanez AF 73 LH. (I wanted an AF or AG 85 but have not been able to locate one in left hand mode).

Still undecided, in the small hours, I happened on Eastman guitars at {Musicalbits}. After a brief look at the specs and reviews I was convinced. I’ve ordered the T186MX LH, it arrives on friday.

Patrick on Left Handed Guitar Woe
July 12, 2009 at 10:33 am

Check out our website on July 12, 2009…

We’re introducing ELEVEN new models, in four colors, of our AxeGlove Guitar Protection System specifically for left handed players.

And they are priced the SAME as our right handed models.

cam still on Left Handed Guitar Woe
August 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm

urgh!!!!! it’s like a curse to be a left handed player but a LH bass player is even worse! damn its driving me crazy and i also feel very discriminated.
i read everyone’s notes and couldn’t agree more. also, the jerry’s guitars website was ok, but south paw guitars in houston texas was outta sight. i spoke to jim personally quite a few times before purchasing an incredible hofner bass. UNFORTUNATELY, i paid tons more than i had planned on paying because the other models don’t come in a lefty and i didn’t have the color options for the LH as they do in the RH model. what’s up with that?!
i knew some of the guitar players mentioned in the previous threads were lefty but not eric clapton.
lastly i’m in my early 40’s (ok, i’m 42), played the piano since i was 6. when i was about 9 or 10, i wanted to start playing the guitar. i got one for christmas that year. so, i sat down with my cool little guitar and my starter book, holding the guitar naturally as a lefty. all of the songs sounded wrong! i tried and tried to do everything the book said. you don’t have this problem playing the piano so i didn’t even think being left handed had anything to do with it. i picked up a guitar once again in my 30’s only to find out from friends i was holding it WRONG. ahhh, i don’t think so! talk about a shock to think that i could have been playing the guitar for all this time if my book or someone told me what was the problem. i think its a pretty sad story.
glad to know i’m not alone.

Brian on Left Handed Guitar Woe
September 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Hi cam,

I just checked back a month or so later after a bit of a change of luck, in hunting.

I really feel for the comments here, it is easy to feel discriminated against as a lefty, and hard to get the advantage in learning that a good instrument gives. I learnt to dress and work on guitars through reversing and fixing up old righty rejects I guess.

The time I was posting here last I was almost in despair and ready to give up, as I have done so often before, and made do. After late nights searching for a lefty guitar a few weeks ago, for once in my life I found a window of opportunity, with Eastman Strings Guitars. I decided to go for it.

There has been no extra charge for left handed models. But there are few left, if you see what I mean. I found for once, after frantically searching, the Eastman jazz guitars I wanted at Musical Bits UK and Jerry’s Lefty Guitars, Florida.

The window seems to be closing a little there too though, I’m afraid, as Jerry told me that Eastman will add extra to the price of left handed models in future orders, but still all models will be available left handed.

I haven’t checked out their other categories of instruments, but the AR910CE Classic (and it’s case) is the most beautiful thing in jazz guitars I could ever imagine owning. It was Jerry’s last one.

I was so frustrated a few weeks ago I just had to share that change of luck too. Not only to mention Eastman guitars as a possible avenue but to say that the right left handed guitar could be just around the next corner, left or right.


steeler on Left Handed Guitar Woe
September 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

im right handed but feel more comfortable with a left handed guitar ive only been playin 6 months and i was just browsing when i came across this page and i just thought i should comment that my girlfriend bought me a 2nd hand left handed westfield guitar with amp and lead for £50 hows that for a bargin just to show if u shop about there are bargins

Brian on Left Handed Guitar Woe
September 13, 2009 at 4:22 am

Yes you’re right steeler, keep looking.

The important thing, as I see it is not to be put off.

Left handedness can not be totally reversed, though some can live with reversing the actions of playing guitar.

I.e. Hendrix playing a righty guitar upside, or if the rumour that Eric Clapton (who plays a righty) was south paw is correct, then playing a righty the right handed way.

Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages.

For example Hendrix has hard to imitate techniques unless one uses the same orientation and Eric would have the advantage of having his best hand for fretting the strings, giving advantage to “hammering on”, “pulling off” and sliding the strings if he is left handed.

For me, I felt I had to have the same arrangement in rhythm and pitch actions as right handed players, {pre-Hendrix} so had to have a left handed guitar, i.e. use my left hand for rhythm.

I’ve never come across someone wanting to play upside down but Hendrix proves not only that it is possible, but that one can excel.

Skill on the neck would be the temptation to try with the hand’s actions reversed. But I think it is true that the human being can adapt and feel natural with whatever one starts and continues with: which brings me back to my opening thought; — Not to be put off or give up.

One should try other people’s guitars perhaps in deciding what to do.. Jerry at Lefty’s guitars in Florida was a right handed guitar player who unfortunately injured his left hand and has managed to reverse his thinking and play lefty so that his right hand can fret the strings.

He can still sound the strings with his left hand.
Hat’s off to him for deciding to dedicate himself to the cause of left handed players.

Good to hear of other good Lefty shops I’ll check out Texas Southpaw, but I must stop myself from buying any more guitars…. although …..

Debbie Barak on Left Handed Guitar Woe
October 14, 2009 at 9:49 am

In our new Left Handed Guitar shop we are trying to fix this discrimination felt by many left hand players, by distributing good left hand guitars. Check out our website, we are still building our store and continue to add models to it all the time. Feel free to suggest other models you find missing.

Shaun Thresher on Left Handed Guitar Woe
February 10, 2010 at 6:02 am

Hey guys,

I have some killer left handed guitars you might want to take a look at.

If you are looking for an original piece check out the aluminum NORMANDY guitars. Jim is always a hit an NAMM.

Or for something a little more toned down look at either the US Masters or the Luna guitar.

In fact, Luna made the guitar for American Idol finalist David Cook.

If you email me before your complete your order I will take 10% off your first order.

Keep it rokin’ leftys.

Sinner on Left Handed Guitar Woe
January 2, 2011 at 5:57 am

I’m right handed but I have some left handed tendancies. When I first started to play guitar I wanted to play left handed but my parents bought me a right handed guitar. And you know what – I’m so glad they did. There is absolutely no advantage in playing left handed and tons of disadvantages.
I have played in a band with a left handed guitarist and it was a nuisance, I couldn’t use his equipment and he couldn’t do anything apart from play his guitar, whereas I could swap instruments and play bass when the bass player wanted to sing or play keyboards.
Because the choice exists people take that choice and hamstring themselves later on. You don’t see “left handed pianos”. You don’t hear pianists complaining that “oh I must play the melody with my left hand – I just can’t cope otherwise”. Yes I’m sure that the usual “what about Hendrix, McCartney etc” will be rolled out but they are irrelevent arguments. Playing guitar requires dexterity in both hands so you might as well go with the majority and make things easier for yourself.

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