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Right-Handed vs Left-Handed Guitars – Differences

The strings on the two guitars are reversed in order of thickness, which is the primary distinction between a left and right handed guitar. If the thickest string is on the left while looking at the guitar, it is a right-handed instrument. Left-handed guitar is played when the thickest string is on the right. Naturally, this means that each play entirely distinct games and are correspondingly set up differently.

Only 3% of people worldwide who identify as entirely (or strongly) left-handed, according to statistics, are left-handed. Because of this, there is a low demand for left-handed instruments, and lefties frequently question whether a guitar is any different than a pair of scissors because neither is constructed with any awareness of their unique nature.

Thankfully, we have witnessed left-handed acoustics, flipped Stratocasters, and a rich lineage of icons like Cobain, Hendrix, and Dick Dale during the last few decades. To honor their southpaw spirit, we’ll discuss the difference between left and right handed guitars as well as other often asked concerns about the topic.

Left and Right Handed Guitars: What is the Difference?

It’s not always as straightforward to compare left handed guitar vs right handed just because the strings are arranged differently. The player’s orientation changes as a result of the thickness change, which also affects balance.

The direction of the strings on right- and left-handed guitars is the first and most noticeable distinction between them. The thickest string on each model of guitar will be on the opposite end when viewed vertically. You can easily overcome this disparity by stringing the guitar backwards (or the other way around).

Any guitar’s orientation will be immediately categorized by the pickguard. To avoid scuffmarks from the guitar pick as you strumming, right-handed models have it to the right. When facing a left-handed guitar, the pickguard will be on the left. Fretboard inlays, or the little white dots on the neck of most guitars, assist you remember which fret you are currently playing. But you may also come across guitars with side markers at the top, near the side of the fretboard.

Left and Right Handed Guitars: Which is better?

Rarely do new or used markets see left-handed guitars. Not just guitars; the majority of commonly used instruments, such as pianos, drumsets, violins, and brass instruments, are designed exclusively for right-handed users. As a result, left-handed guitarists are left in the dark, and for many, switching to a right-handed guitar is the simplest solution.

In order to do this, a right-handed guitar’s nut must be turned 180 degrees, and the strings must be installed backwards, just like Jimi Hendrix’s renowned CBS-era Fender Stratocasters. Along with this conversion procedure, it’s important to keep in mind that some other left-handed guitarists of the time preferred to play upside-down guitars with less modification.

Left-handed guitarists Albert King, Elizabeth Cotton, and Dick Dale all chose to play right-handed guitars that were naturally strung in the right direction. Simply turning the guitar upside down such that the unwound strings are on the opposite side of the fretboard from the treble strings. Despite these options, guitar instructors frequently advise left-handed players to buy a left-handed-specific instrument.