So you want to get into playing electric guitar? You need a guitar to get started but don’t know where to start. To compound it even more you are left handed! I will try to clear up some of the issues you may be facing when it comes to picking a guitar. If you are an experienced player looking to buy another guitar you may find some new info. Even if you are a serious right handed player and have been asked by a lefty to pick out a guitar but realised you don’t know anything left handed players then you too are in the right place.

To get started I would like to just say something that may seem rather obvious. Make sure you actually play left handed! I know, I know! You are screaming at me right now, “Of course I play left handed! I am a left handed person”. But just bear with me for a bit, not all left handed people play the electric guitar left handed. Some notable players fall into this category, Paul Simon from Simon and Garfunkel is a good example and maybe the best example is Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits who is considered by many to be one of the best players to ever have graced his fingers across the fingerboard of a six string. Just pick up the guitar and set it on your lap with the neck pointing straight up to the ceiling and let the guitar fall to the side that feels most natural. For those of you helping someone else to pick out a left handed electric guitar get them to do this, maybe with one of your guitars, otherwise this can be done with any guitar you can get your hands onto.

You may be surprised by the above exercise. Sometimes people who do everything in their life left handed find that they actually play right handed. No point spending some hard earned money on your very first electric guitar; left handed too, just too suit you. Just to find that you in fact play right handed. That is an unnecessary hurdle very early on into your guitar journey.


Difference between right and left handed guitar

Ok, now that that is out the way we can start to get into some specifics. What are the differences between right and left handed guitars? As you know some things can be used with either hand and others are specific, like scissors. As I’m sure all the lefties are very aware of. Guitars are unfortunately one such item. Having said that it is possible to play a right handed guitar upside down or restrung to fit a left handed player, and this has been done by players no less than Jimi Hendrix. But this style creates many possible issues down the line and is a best to avoid.

Jimi had to use the right handed guitar upside down as in those days left handed guitars where not common and if you could in fact track one down it would have cost significantly more than an equivalent right handed guitar. The lefties made do the best they could with what they had available to them then. Fortunately for you, you are spoilt for choice in the market of left handed electric guitars these days.


Where to Buy Cheap Left Handed Guitar

A good tip I have for left handed players is to look for second hand guitar somewhere online or in your local area. The reason I say to look for second hand guitar is that not many people are looking for left handed guitars as only about 10-15% of the population is left handed and even less of them actually play guitar. Because of this the competition for such items is generally relatively low so you can often pick up a very electric guitar for a surprisingly good price.


General Buying Tips

As a general rule when buying guitars in general not just electric guitars and not just left handed guitars is to keep it simple. You do not need an all bells and whistles guitar that is capable of doing all sort of different things and of course for such an instrument you will pay a higher price and in general they will not always be that good at any one thing even though the marketers tell you it can be used for so many things. These things with electric guitar can be such things as special pickups that are modified or designed to work better for certain genres. While some of these custom builds can be great they are not a good idea if you are just learning the instrument. You only need something with 6 strings and some frets to learn the basic mechanics of the instrument.


Best Electric Guitar for Left Handed Players

To go into specifics of the guitars that you may look into buying as a left handed player I could make a few recommendations.


Yamaha Pacifica

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I have a great love for the Yamaha Pacifica range of guitars for beginners. They are very affordable and are great guitars for any purpose a beginner may have. Yamaha have also released a beautiful left handed version of the guitar at a similar price and can be picked up for incredibly low prices if you search around for a second hand one. If you are looking to get into playing electric guitar and come across a Yamaha pacifica guitar definitely pick it up, you will not regret it. It will be a guitar that sticks with you for the long term.

Moving onto more good options for those left handed players of the guitar world:

Epiphone Les Paul special left handed edition

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Epiphone is a greatly respected guitar maker at really affordable prices and the quality is very high. These are widely played guitars from amateurs to serious players and every one in between. They are real work horses within your guitar arsenal. The Les Paul Special has been released in a left handed edition to continue the great work and widen the usage of these great instruments into the left handed community. If you play more heavy music or you just prefer to not play a “strat” copy guitar like every other person learning electric guitar then this may be the guitar for you.


In general choosing a left handed guitar these days isn’t that great of a struggle compared to how it used to be several years ago but it can be easy to get lost as the available information tends to be unfairly weighted towards the right handed players in the world. But this is not an issue and once you see the forest for all the trees then picking out the perfect guitar for you can be a painless task and you can spend all your time playing this wonderful instrument we call our own.

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