Is a Left-Handed Guitar Worth It? What You Need to Know Before You Buy
If you’re thinking of learning guitar, you’ll need to decide whether you want to learn on a left-handed or right-handed guitar. This might seem like a minor decision, but once you begin learning with one type of instrument, it’s actually quite difficult to switch to the other. This is why it’s so important to consider your options very carefully before choosing from our range of Ibanez guitars. If you are right-handed, the choice is easy: a right-handed guitar is best. Ambidextrous individuals are encouraged to choose right-handed guitars as well. If you’re left handed, a left-handed guitar is generally considered the right choice. There are, however, several factors you should consider before taking the leap. For some musicians, the upsides of buying a left-handed guitar might not outweigh the downsides.
What Guitar Should a Left-Handed Person Play?
Most experienced guitarists would recommend that a left-handed person play a left-handed guitar. The benefits of playing a left-handed guitar might not seem obvious to left-handed players at first, but eventually the reasons for this will become clear. When people first start learning the guitar, they will likely spend a lot of time struggling to put together chords, learn scales, learn sequences of notes and wrap their heads around techniques like bends and hammer-ons. These techniques are performed by the fretting hand which, on a right-handed guitar, is the left hand. So while the other hand—the plucking hand—is actually more important in the long run, it can seem inconsequential to beginners. As a result, left-handed players might prefer a right-handed guitar at first. Over time, as the plucking hand becomes more important, players will understand why they need their dominant hand for this role and furthermore why a left-handed guitar is the better option.
What Are the Benefits of a Left-Handed Guitar?
Comfort & Convenience
Left-handed guitars are specifically designed to suit the body of a left-handed guitarist. This means they offer a more comfortable body shape with belly cuts and arm contours that fit easily against the body of a left-handed musician. In the case of electric guitars, controls and tremolo bars are positioned lower against the guitarist’s body for quick and convenient access. Other more minor things, such as the location of the input jack and strap button, have also been adjusted for the sake of a left-handed player.
Less Competition When Buying Second-Hand
As many musicians will tell you, there’s nothing worse than being in a bidding war on Ebay over an amazing guitar. Unfortunately, this is a process most guitarists have to go through if they want to get a good deal on something second-hand. Left-handed guitars, however, are much less sought out. This means that if you find a great second-hand option, you’ll have very little competition and should be able to snag it pretty easily.
Fewer People Will Play Your Guitar (Without Permission)
Another grievance often expressed by guitarists is that people always want to play their instrument. There’s something so tempting about a guitar sitting in its stand at a party, especially if it’s shiny and new. If you have a left-handed guitar, however, you probably won’t face this problem. Since few to no other people would be able to play your guitar, you likely wouldn’t have to worry about awkwardly asking people not to touch or wiping away fingerprints at the end of the night.
This might sound strange, but there is a significant visual benefit to having a left-handed guitarist in a band. If you have a right-handed bass player or second guitarist on the right side of the stage, you can have your left-handed guitarist on the left-hand side to create a great visual effect. From the audience’s perspective, you’ve achieved perfect symmetry.
What Are the Downsides of a Left-Handed Guitar?
Since there is a lower demand for left-handed guitars, they are produced at a lower volume. This means that every component of a left-handed guitar, such as the inline tuners, bridge, tailpieces and pickguards, are also going to be produced at a fairly low rate. Low demand causes increased manufacturing costs, which furthermore leads to the guitars themselves being priced quite highly. While the price of a left-handed guitar varies, it will generally be around 10% higher than that of a right-hand guitar.
Since there is less demand for left-handed guitars, there are obviously going to be fewer options to choose from. This can be frustrating if you have something specific in mind that you can’t find. Furthermore, with fewer options available, there may be less opportunity for quality control. Left-handed guitars used to be lower-quality, although today there isn’t a lot of difference in the automation process.
Difficulty Finding Resources
If you’re learning the guitar for the first time, being left-handed might bring about an extra hurtle for you. For instance, most educational diagrams are usually made with right-handed players in mind, and the majority of guitar instructors teach with right-handed guitars—as do most of the amateur teachers you’ll find online. Your first few times watching an instructor might have you feeling a little disoriented as you learn to mimic their actions without the convenient mirroring right-handed players enjoy, but once you get into the rhythm, you won’t notice the difference. Ultimately, learning to play guitar left-handed means needing to be a little pickier with your go-to resources or adapting those you find, but you’ll quickly overcome this and get caught up in the magic of learning guitar.
Is a Left-Handed Guitar Worth It?
If you’re left-handed, a left-handed guitar is definitely worth it. However, learning on a right-handed guitar is perfectly doable, even if it is more work. At the end of the day, make the decision that suits you and what you want out of your guitar. For a comprehensive range of left- and right-handed Ibanez electric guitars and acoustic or bass guitars, visit Angkor Music’s online store. We pride ourselves on offering beautifully crafted guitars for all types of musicians. Shop today!