There is not much love for left handed guitarists in the market. Left handed guitars are very rare to find. And to be honest, most of the guitar shops do not even keep one. The ones you can find online are expensive. In short, for a left-handed person, there are not many options. So, what can you do about that?
The simplest and the easiest way for a left-handed person to play a right-handed guitar is by flipping the guitar upside down and then play it.
However, there are ways to convert a right-handed guitar into a left-handed guitar as well. I would not recommend this, especially for a beginner guitarist who was just gifted a classical guitar – sadly a right handed one. Therefore, if you are new to the game, just flip the guitar and play it.
One might ask what should he restring the guitar as well? The short answer is yes. However, the real question is should you restring it? Personally, I do not recommend it. Not only it is a very time-consuming process, but playing with your guitar like this can significantly reduce its resale value.
If you still believe that you have to restring it – I have written down the entire process below which you can follow.
Fix the Nut Position
The first thing you would want to fix is the guitar’s nut. The guitar nut is placed at the end of the fingerboard. It is used to control sting spacing, and its height above the first fret.
These nuts are designed to accommodate specific strings. Therefore, if you restring the guitar upside down, then you would need to sort out the nuts as well. If you do not do so, then the strings would be strung in the incorrect nut slots.
One of the most common problem is that you will be unable to pass some strings through the nut. As the end of the strings are thick – the nut would be unable to let that string pass through.
To fix this problem, you can either do one of the two things; flip your current nuts around or simply purchase a left handed nut. You can get the left-handed nuts on Amazon from this link.
Switch the Bridge:
The next step is to fix the bridge. Bridge is basically the component in the guitar which helps to transmit the vibrations of the strings to other parts of the guitar.
Just like nuts, the bridge is designed to accommodate the strings as well. Therefore, it is essential that the string goes in its appropriate bridge compartment.
Guitars like Fender Starts are the easiest to adjust. As Fender guitar’s bridge are placed in a straight line over the guitar body. Therefore, when it is flipped over, the inherent intonations points of the bridge do not change. Therefore, for Fender Strat guitars, simply unscrew the bridge, flip it over (rotate it 180 degrees), then screw them back.
Although, guitars such as Gibson guitars may have bridges that are slightly tilted. This makes the whole restringing process quite tedious and a pain some process. For some of the guitars, when you flip their slanted bridges, it might become impossible for you to tune the guitar. The same problem is concerned with acoustic guitars. As acoustic guitars saddle is also usually placed at an angle as well.
Hence, if you have an acoustic or a guitar with a slanted saddle, then it would be best for you to buy a left-handed saddle. You can get one online from over here.
Problems with Electric Guitars:
If you want to convert a right handed electric guitar to a left handed electric guitar, then you might face some unique problems.
If you hold an electric guitar upside down, then pots will be under your forearm. As well as the pickup selector switch. Furthermore, your tremolo bar will be placed on the opposite side . This can cause a few issues. For example, you might accidentally move the knobs while playing the guitar. Furthermore, it will cause the front strap peg to be placed on the wrong side of the guitar. Therefore, you will be required to remove it in order to play the guitar.
Thus, the pots on the will play in the wrong direction. This can be easily fixed by simple rewiring – however I would suggest you to buy the specific left-handed pots. You can get them from Amazon as well from over here.
Remember, You Will Not Be Able to Sell Your Guitar Anymore
If you mess up the layout of the guitar, then you might not be even able to sell it.
For example, if you tamper with the pegs, the bridge and the nuts, then you will not be able to sell your guitar to your local guitar shop. You might find some luck selling it some left handed person you know or online. Just remember, that playing with your guitar like this would decrease its resale value significantly.
There are several issues with converting a left-handed guitar to a right-handed guitar. Not only you decrease its resale value, but there is a possibility that you might damage the guitar itself.
Personally, I would hassle and spend my time and money to make a guitar according to my hand orientation. Although, right handed guitars are slightly cheaper than left handed guitars, but honestly, compared to the entire process, it isn’t that much.
I would recommend you to simply buy a left-handed guitar. If you really want to play that right-handed guitar, then simply flip it over. Restringing a right-handed guitar to a left-handed guitar would never make a ‘perfect’ left-handed guitar.
If you are a left-handed person, and the guitar you are given is a right-handed one and is your first guitar, then you might want to read my article on can left-handed people can play right-handed guitar. In my opinion, a left-handed person can easily play a right-handed guitar.
However, if you want to play it with your left hand exclusively. Then you can go through the entire process and get the feel of a left-handed guitar. If you like what you feel while playing with a fully converted guitar. Then I would recommend buying a left-handed guitar.
In the end, it all depends on what is more fun and comfortable for you. And that is what playing the guitar should be all about.