Saturday, September 3, 2011

Should I Play A Right Handed Guitar Left Handed?

Should I play a right handed guitar left handed ? I can't answer that question. That is up to you. All I can do is offer my experience with being a left handed guitar playing a right handed guitar. Why would you want to when you are left handed and just beginning to learn guitar? I explained earlier that my reason was economic. When I was learning I had to borrow someone else's guitar because I couldn't afford one of my own. Of course the guitar that I borrowed was a right handed guitar and I couldn't change the strings around because it didn't belong to me. If you want to do it to be different than I see no problem with that. The more of us odd balls out there the better.
Should I change the strings around on a right handed guitar? You can do anything you want to but I wouldn't and here's why. You may start out with a cheap $100 guitar, switch the strings to make it left handed and it's no big deal. What about when you graduate to a more expensive acoustic, say in the $1000 to $5000 range, or one that has a life time warranty? I recently contacted a major guitar manufacturer with the question: Would changing the strings on a guitar harm the instrument. Here is the answer:" We don't recommend anyone to switch strings, since bracing, bridges, and tone bar are set up for right-handed players. It is better to play it upside down. Otherwise, it could be harmful to the structure of the guitar". Not to mention that you just blew your warranty if something warps inside. I can't comment on the effects of an electric guitar with a solid body but I know that the bridge, nut, and saddle might be a problem. As far as the pick guard is concerned, you would either have to avoid "scrubbing" the strings or have one fitted on the other side of the sound hole. I personally leave the pick guard as it is. When the instrument shows scratches on the other side it becomes a left handed guitar and that makes it unique. One modification that I have made was placement of the strap buttons. There is one located on the top of the guitar. That one is ambidextrous and no problem. The other is usually located on the heel where the neck joins the body. If it is in the back facing your body or pointing to the right than there is no problem. If it is on top than we have a problem. Because of its location your strap will most likely slip off. Remove it and put one either in the back, to the right or on the bottom facing down. Most higher end guitars do not come with one and it is up to you to have it installed. It's easy to do and only requires a drill and small bit. I hope this helps you out in making a decision on playing a right handed guitar left handed. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me at

Ben Willis demonstrating the "left handed upside down guitar method".

A chord

B Chord

C Chord

D Chord

E Chord

F Chord

G Chord

B Barre Chord

D Barre Chord

Contact Info

E-mail Ben Willis at