It doesn’t matter if it’s a ukulele, acoustic or electric guitar – when you play left-handed, from the minute you pick up your instrument, you’re faced with a challenge.
It can be quite soul destroying for anyone left-handed wanting to play guitar. Imagine walking into a first lesson or wanting to learn to play but you can’t get to grips with your instrument. Talk about an immediate confidence-knock.
Do you flip your guitar and play upside down? Do you try your hardest to do the opposite of what your body knows and play right-handed? Or do you go out there and try to find a decent left-handed guitar?
The dilemma is nothing new to left-handed players, even when you consider some of the most famous lefties over the course of music history. There’s an interesting story behind each and every one.
Take Jimi Hendrix for example, who was naturally left-handed but was forced to play right-handed by his father. Jimi re-strung and converted his first right-handed guitar to a lefty to play where he was most comfortable, but used to flip it over and play right-handed when his Dad was around. Left, right, upside down, Jimi could play any which way and brilliantly too.
It’s a numbers game
The reality is it all comes down to numbers. With an estimated figure of less than 25% of people being left-handed, it’s understandable there are more right-handed guitars available in shops and online, than left. Manufacturers and shops need to be profitable and therefore will always cater for the mass audience. So, it’s no wonder there are fewer left-handed guitars made. And not just that, but sometimes they aren’t made as well and often they are a lot more expensive.
I myself am a natural born lefty and have been through all the frustrations mentioned in this blog. But my decision was to stay and play left-handed so have always looked to buy lefties.
I’ve been in specialist guitar shops and asked what left-handed guitars they have available. Often, someone has to go out the back to get them, wiping off the dust as they bring them to me. You can browse a vast array of right-handed guitars in the shop, but you can count on one hand how many left-handed ones they have.
So, borne from my frustration over the lack of really decent, quality left-handed guitars, came Left for Dead.
What do people want?
Lefties just want the same choice of guitar as righties – for both quality and price.
Comfort is a major must-have; the limited choice out there often makes it difficult to find something that fits snug, that you enjoy playing. And then there’s the tone, it needs to have vibe – after all, once you have taken the time to learn to play, you want to jam with something that actually sounds good.
With Left for Dead, I have taken the time to source left-handed models that fit these criteria, so there is that choice. Everything sold on the website is played and tested first - if I don’t like it, I won’t sell it.
One of the hardest things for lefties is to find the ultimate guitar – the one you want to keep for a very long time, the one you could take to bed at night. I have spent many years buying lefty guitars online, thinking they were going to be the best thing to play, but soon being disappointed with my purchase.
It’s a big financial commitment, so it needs to be right.
A lot of lefties love to collect left-handed guitars, driven by the lack of choice and the fact only a few of some of the most famous guitar models have been made left-handed. It’s the vintage, collector models available with Left for Dead that are the most popular.
And when it comes to something really special, I work with professional luthiers to relic models and breathe new life into them. After all, to say you have a lefty that not only plays fantastically but is truly unique to you, is a wonderful thing.
Check out the left-handed acoustic and electric guitars I have for sale.
And I am happy to answer any questions you have about playing as a lefty, I’ve been there!
Just remember - lefties rock!