November 25, 2009

Lefty Guitar

I'm a 13 year old lefty. Recently, i developed an interest for acoustic guitar. Problem was, i was left handed. I've been told both ways, that restringing a guitar worked & didnt work. Living in an Islamic country (Malaysia, to be exact), it's hard to find a real left acoustic. There were models for lefty electric, but so far i havent found anything on lefty acoustic. I dont think my mum would let me go on Ebay, and just so you know, I picked up the guitar naturally left handed. Dont even consider me switching, firstly i love being left handed and want to show people i can play left handed, and secondly doing the right way just feels completely unnatural to me and i tried it quite a few times. Lefty way suits me best. Problem is, i dont know how to acquire a good lefty acoustic, and i need to find a good teacher who doesnt mind i'm left handed.

8 comments:

  1. A lot of left-handed players just take a right-handed guitar and learn to play it upside-down. I think Jimi Hendrix was an example of this approach. Others restring the guitar (note that the bridge will need to be flipped if you do this, since the grooves are sized to match the strings). There are companies that manufacture left-handed acoustic guitars, but it may be hard to find one locally. A good-quality guitar shop might be able to order one for you.

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  2. As a fellow lefty and a long-time guitarist, I know what you're trying to do. The process is more involved on an electric, but since you're using an acoustic, you only need to do two things to it.

    1. The actual bridge does not always need to be flipped, just the saddle (the white thing that the strings go across down by the pins). This isn't usually affixed to the bridge so just take the strings off and flip it over. The saddle is higher where the fat strings sit so if you don't flip the saddle it could affect intonation (how the guitar sounds in tune or out of tune when you fret a string).

    On some guitars, the slot the saddle sits in is routed to change the saddle height, but many saddles I've encountered were shaped while the slot was just routed equally, so flipping it will work fine. If the saddle slot on your guitar is cut out deeper on the side for the higher strings, you can still flip it and try it out for while. You may not notice any problems. If you do, you can have the bridge re-routed at a repair shop. This is the pricier of the two changes and could run around $50.

    The little string grooves on the saddle are created by wear and will work themselves out with time and, unless you use really heavy gauge stings, will not affect intonation.

    2. The nut (the white grooved piece up by the tuners that craddles the strings) will need flipped too, but it's glued to the neck/headstock. You can find a lot of information online about doing this yourself, but you don't feel up to this kind of guitar work, take to a local guitar shop and have them flip it. I don't know the exchange rate, but in the US this kind of job only costs about $20-$30.

    With these two simple changes you can string the guitar to play left handed. The tuners, the neck, the frets, everything else is symmetrical, so you shouldn't have any problem.

    Now, just to be clear, you said acoustic, so I assumed steel string. If it's a nylon string, or classical guitar, you may not need to do anything. Most classical guiar nuts have equal grooves to accomodate the fatter strings. And many classical bridges are string-through, where you need to tie the string to the bridge, so flipping the saddle is all you'd need to do.

    Hope this info helps. Happy playing!

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  3. i have the same problem as yours. it difficult for me to played the guitar. and it totally eliminate my dream to come true.

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  4. I am a lefty but strangely enough, I feel it much more easier playing a right-handed guitar. Somehow I feel that my left hand would do better concentrating shredding the frets than the right hand. That is because I think that the left hand should do more work than just strumming. According to Wikipedia, some studies have proved that a left-handed person can make much more advantage playing a right-handed guitar that right-handed people actually do, especially with modern music. So I think you should give right-handed guitar a try like I did and see if you could get used to it.

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  5. If you learn to play a right handed guitar flipped upside down then you can learn and use mandolin chords, and then just figure out also the B and e strings since mandolins don't have those, and their strings are like a flipped version of guitar strings. (But in different octaves, if one were to nit-pick.)

    It's been a year now; how did things end up going with your guitar playing?

    Cheers,
    Jonny

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  6. To clarify, mandolins *do* have E strings, but since a guitar has two separate E strings (and the mandolin has only one set together) there are some chords where you can't just use the same fret as you would for the mandolin on both E guitar strings - and then, there will be other chords where you will find that works fine.

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  7. Believe me, just play right handed, you get used to it, after playing for a bit, and you'll find most left handers (such as myself), do it this way.
    You'll also find that you'll be a lot better at the left hand finger work, as you use your left hand for fretting.

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  8. im a lefty guitar teacher from kl :D

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