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  #1  
Old 07-26-2021, 06:11 PM
scopeland8 scopeland8 is offline
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Default Finding the right guitar… for a lefty

My friend and long time band mate is looking for a new main acoustic and I’m trying to help but there’s an increasingly significant challenge we’re running into… he’s a lefty.

For all the southpaws out there, what strategies do you have for finding the right acoustic for you? Are you buying and selling often until you find the right thing? Used or new? Where do you go to try different things?

For reference, he played an Epiphone jumbo for a long time and now plays a Taylor 114.
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Old 07-26-2021, 09:00 PM
sinistral sinistral is online now
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Not an easy time to be a lefty guitar player. The pandemic has really wiped out supply and, speaking to a number of shops, it seems as if manufacturers are focusing on making right-handed guitars to replenish inventories.

I recently went through the process of looking for left-handed acoustics to try out in person, and the pickings (no pun intended) were slim. I’m in the NYC area, and I think I tried the dozen or so nicer acoustics in the area. The best “collection” in the city is at 30th St. Guitars. They currently have four very nice used lefties—a Collings (Brazilian rosewood no less), Taylor, Martin and Gibson. The Music Zoo actually has a very good selection of lefty acoustic guitars in stock, but unfortunately their showroom isn’t open. I did end up getting a Taylor from them that they shipped to me.

Shipping is your (friend’s) friend. Most shops have a reasonable trial period. I found that the Music Zoo, Southpaw Guitars and Musician’s Friend currently have the best selection. Or if your friend wants something higher end, there’s Lefty Guitars Only. Of course, there are lots of used guitars available from private sellers (Reverb, etc.), but you can’t just try them out and return them if you don’t like them.

Last edited by sinistral; 07-26-2021 at 09:17 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2021, 04:35 AM
LeftyKev LeftyKev is offline
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Ha! Not just lefties, not a good time to be a righty either. Stocks are depleted everywhere at present. over there you have the brilliant Southpaw guitars in texas, and also Adirondack guitars https://www.adkguitar.com/collections/left-handed are very good for lefties. Plus any other store with left handed stock.

It's the same everywhere really, the stores are usually closed due to covid, so ordering online and returning if not suitable is the way to go.

I don't know about the US but over here in UK it does vary, some stores are open and some are just for click and collect. Shop around is my advice, it shouldn't be too hard.
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:58 AM
sinistral sinistral is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeftyKev View Post
Ha! Not just lefties, not a good time to be a righty either. Stocks are depleted everywhere at present. over there you have the brilliant Southpaw guitars in texas, and also Adirondack guitars https://www.adkguitar.com/collections/left-handed are very good for lefties. Plus any other store with left handed stock.

It's the same everywhere really, the stores are usually closed due to covid, so ordering online and returning if not suitable is the way to go.

I don't know about the US but over here in UK it does vary, some stores are open and some are just for click and collect. Shop around is my advice, it shouldn't be too hard.
I left out (again, no pun intended) Adirondack, and I just bought a 000-15ML from them! They’re about 3 hours’ drive from me—I’m tempted to spend a weekend in Saratoga/Glen Falls just so I can pass some time in the store.

To the OP, there’s a pawn shop in Crystal City—Royal Pawn—that is helping an estate sell a large collection of mostly left-handed guitars, as in a couple of houses’ worth. I think there are more electrics that acoustics, but it may be worth it for your friend to give them a call.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:16 AM
EZYPIKINS EZYPIKINS is offline
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I played with a lefty for a long time. He never had much of a budget.

He was always disappointed in the selection of lefty guitars.

Said If I could go back and do it again. I'd learn how to play right handed.

P.S.
He settled on a Crafter.
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Old 07-27-2021, 07:23 AM
Sammmydee Sammmydee is offline
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I’m a lefty but I’m over in Singapore. Only thing I can do is just buy online and hope it’s good. That’s the way it’s always been and will be.

I’ve bought guitars from both southpaw and Adirondack. Nothing but great experiences. Unless you’re living near these places, it’s really hard to try them.
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Old 07-27-2021, 07:23 AM
bfm612 bfm612 is offline
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A quick question that I hope doesn't hijack the thread: what makes a guitar left aside from a pickguard and a cutaway? I know lefties like Cobain have played righty guitars with the pickguard above the soundhole. I didn't know it was so difficult to find a lefty since I assumed a lot of guitars can just be flipped, and I know electrics are a whole other story ergonomically.
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Old 07-27-2021, 09:55 AM
Mazian Mazian is offline
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As a lefty, I learned to just deal with a lot of stuff. I'm not too particular on any neck profile for instance. I think about what I want, gather a lot of info, do a lot of listening. And as has been mentioned before, return policy. Where I live, there's a mandatory 14 day return window, no questions asked. The internet certainly makes things easier.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:21 PM
scopeland8 scopeland8 is offline
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Thanks for the input everyone! Will definitely be checking out these suggestions!
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:15 PM
Misifus Misifus is offline
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Some years ago, I was spending time in a high end guitar shop not far from Austin. At the time the owner had a good relationship with Collings. I went in one day and the owner asked my if I could stick around for a while. He had a customer coming in from East Texas (this would have been right after hurricane Rita). The customer was a lefty and preferred playing fingerstyle. Since he, the owner, didn’t play fingerstyle what he wanted from me was to demo all the different Collings models he had on hand so that the customer could decide which one he wanted. We did it, and it worked a treat. The man picked a C10 in a red finish that I liked quite well myself.

This particular setup might not be exactly what would work for you, but perhaps you could arrange a demo of a right handed player demoing the models you’re interested in to help you decide.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:49 PM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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Have an idea what you want - super easy action, fast neck, chord/melody focus.

Have an idea what you need - feedback resistance, mixes well.

Budget?
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:29 AM
NotveryGood NotveryGood is offline
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In many ways there has never been a better time to be a lefty. In the Seventies in the UK , a guitar store would have just one left handed guitar, (if any). It was usually a crappy one so no one bought it. The store owner wouldn't stock any more because "no one has bought that one, therefore there is no demand for them". Luckily I eventually discovered that Yamaha produced a good, playable budget lefty which kept me interested in learning to play.
Now online we can now read reviews, view specs and if we know what we are looking for, (body size, neck width etc ) there is choice to be had. The stores I deal with have usually agreed a return policy if I don't like the guitar if bought by mail sight unseen.
It will never be a level playing field , but most manufactures offer a choice of lefties now, at all price points which wasn't always the case so its much better than those dark days when being left handed was "the mark of the Devil" as my old teacher used to say, and viewed as some sort of deformity that needed correction!

Last edited by NotveryGood; 07-29-2021 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 07-29-2021, 05:59 AM
sinistral sinistral is online now
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Indeed—“sinister” comes from the Latin, “sinistra,” which means “left.”
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:26 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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He seems to be shopping in the lower price range, which probably makes converting a right-handed guitar a bad choice.

Ordering one from a store with a reasonable return policy would be a very good idea. He could travel with you to a reasonably sized store and listen to a bunch of guitars for ideas, but in this case I would imagine the best policy would be to order from a manufacturer known for consistency (maybe Yamaha or Taylor).
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:02 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfm612 View Post
...what makes a guitar left aside from a pickguard and a cutaway? I know lefties like Cobain have played righty guitars with the pickguard above the soundhole. I didn't know it was so difficult to find a lefty since I assumed a lot of guitars can just be flipped, and I know electrics are a whole other story ergonomically.
Simply put, if you've ever looked at the underside of a typical (flattop) acoustic guitar top you'll notice that the bracing is asymmetrical, in order to allow the top to selectively emphasize specific frequency ranges (which is one reason experienced players will often prefer Gibson/Taylor/Martin tone), control unwanted resonances, and add strength. Once you flip and restring the guitar you've significantly changed the relationships, and while you know what you're getting when it's strung in a conventional manner you're essentially making it a crap shoot (one reason some lefties who flip their instruments will keep right-handed stringing); if you're not so inclined, I'm thinking the best option (short of learning to play righty) would be to save up for a "lifetime" guitar made to your needs - IMO you'll be better off in the long run...
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