Left Handed Electric Guitars

Buy a left handed electric guitar at Zzounds and save!

If you’re a left-handed guitar player like me who cannot play right-handed guitar like many lefties can, finding a left handed guitar is an exercise in frustration. Most brick and mortar music stores carry maybe one or two left-handed electric guitars and perhaps one or two left handed acoustic guitars. If trying a guitar before buying it isn’t a priority, then there’s more success to be had browsing an online music store like Musician’s Friend, Guitar Center, or Zzounds.

Then there’s selection. Right-handed guitar players have a wide variety of guitar models to choose from, while we lefties have but a select few. Adding insult to injury, some guitar manufacturers raise the price on whatever left handed guitars they do offer.

One option lefties have is to restring a right handed guitar and play it left handed. You can learn more by going here: How To Play a Right Handed Guitar Left Handed

So what choices do left handed guitars players have when it comes to electric guitars?

Fender left-handed electric guitars: A non-USA left-handed Fender Stratocaster is the most likely left handed guitar you’ll come across in a brick and mortar music store, or a Squier. As I mentioned, my first guitar was a used left handed Fender Telecaster, which are fairly common as left handed guitars go. As far as the American-made. models, you have a standard American Telecaster and a standard American Strat plus a handful of vintage models. Models like the VG Stratocaster and the HSS Stratocaster are right-handed models only. The nice thing about Fender is there is no price difference between right and left handed guitars.

Epiphone electric guitars: Epiphone is pretty good about putting out left handed models. You can buy a couple of Epiphone Les Paul models, the G-400, the Epiphone Sheraton II and the Epiphone Dot.

Gibson electric guitars: Gibson offers left handed versions of the Les Paul Standard, Les Paul traditional and Les Paul Studio as well as some custom models. You can also get a left-handed Gibson SG Standard and a couple of reissues. Sadly, you will pay extra for left handed models. And some of the cooler guitars like the EDS-1275 Doubleneck are not sold left-handed. If you want to be the left handed Jimmy Page, sorry.

Beyond those three, Ibanez, Hamer, Jackson, Gretsch, Guild, Taylo, Paul Reed Smith, and Schecter offer several left handed electric guitar models, but they aren’t many places that sell them. And again, the model selection is a fraction of what’s available to right-handed guitar players.

What I finally did was go the custom guitar route. I own a left handed Carvin SC-90 electric guitar and a left-handed Carvin AC375 . Carvin’s custom guitars are affordable, high quality and enjoy a fantastic reputation. The downer is it takes up to eight weeks to get your guitar and the first time you play it is when you receive it, so there’s a chance you won’t know until then if you like the guitar or not. However, custom guitars can get quite expensive, and you’d have to be a rock start to get Gibson or Fender to make a custom guitar to spec for you. Not to mention you’d have a rock star’s wealth to buy it. But you can also can a high-quality custom guitar for a good price. Plus, it’s kind of cool knowing that your guitar is literally one of a kind.

So you have options when buying a left-handed electric guitar, but not as many. Online music stores are your best bet in terms of finding thre greatest selection of left handed guitars. The reality is unless moms and dads start producing more lefties, there just aren’t enough of us out there to justify a company producing more left-handed guitars. It just isn’t right.

A Quick Guide to Epiphone Electric Guitars

Buy an Epiphone Electric Guitar at Zzounds.

Anybody who has ever looked in to buying a Gibson Les Paul or SG quickly finds out they aren’t cheap electric guitars. For whose wallets are cash-challenged, the Epiphone versions of these guitar models might be the answer.

When Gibson acquired Epiphone in 1958, Epiphone was marketed as a budget-friendly version of some of Gibson’s existing guitars. The two companies had been rivals for much of the first half of the 20th century until Epiphone fell on financial hard times and had to be rescued. They weren’t only competitors in guitars, but also violins and upright basses, too. Epiphone started out making lutes, violins, and lioutos, but became famous for its banjoes and was at one point known as the Epiphone Banjo Company. Epiphone ventured into making guitars in 1928 and its guitars quickly gained a reputation for being among the world’s best.

Epiphone would not just manufacture Gibson guitars, but reintroduced some its own classic guitars like the Emperor. Epiphone hit the jackpot in the 1960s with its Epiphone Casino, an arch top electric guitar that became favorites of the Beatles, especially John Lennon who can be seen playing an Epiphone Casino during a live performance of “Revolution.”

During the 1970s, Epiphone moved its guitar production to Japan, and in 1983 moved it again, this time to Korea where Epiphone guitars are made today.

Today much of the Epiphone electric guitar line remains based on Gibson guitar models, including several reissue and custom versions.

Epiphone Electric Guitars:

Click any of the links below to buy or learn more about each guitar.

Epiphone Les Paul:

Epiphone SG:

Epiphone offers an arch top series of electric guitars comprised of several models.

Epiphone Casino

Epiphone Dot: The Epiphone Dot is based on the Gibson ES-series.
Epiphone Arch Tops:
Miscellaenous Epiphone electric guitar models:

Once upon a time I owned a black left-handed Epiphone SG (can’t remember if it was the G-310 or the G-400), but I didn’t find it particularly comfortable to play, particularly the action. I bought it on a whim because it’s not often I come across a left-handed electric guitar in a music store, especially one that isn’t a Fender. As I mentioned earlier, Epiphones are made in Korea, and I have this preconceived notion about the quality of non-American guitars that no doubt influenced my opinion, unfairly at that. The fact is Epiphone makes excellent instruments and any Epiphone electric guitar is superior to the electric guitars you can buy at Sears or Wal-mart.

Shopping for Electric Guitars Online

When buying an electric guitar, it's always a good idea to compare prices to find the best deal out there. Shopping online is an excellent way to do your research. What I like to do when I'm looking to buy an electric guitar or some other piece of musical equipment is to check out various online music sites, find the best price, and go to my local music store to see if they will match the price. Quite often they will.

I've put together a list of music stores online that in most cases either I or a friend have bought from and included a list of the guitar companies whose electric guitars they carry. I'm not endorsing one site over another, and it's up to you do the research and do business with the music store with whom you feel the most comfortable.

The list of online music stores:

Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Dean, Jackson, Washburn, Yamaha, Taylor, Peavey, Schecter

Musician's Friend (www.musiciansfriend.com)

Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Dean, Paul Reed Smith, Fernandes, BC Rich, Godin, Jackson, Kramer, Music Man, Washburn, Yamaha, Taylor, Peavey, Schecter, Hamer

Guitar Center (www.guitarcenter.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Dean, Paul Reed Smith, BC Rich, Godin, Jackson, Music Man, Washburn, Yamaha, Taylor, Peavey, Schecter

Music123 (www.music123.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Dean, Paul Reed Smith, G&L, Fernandes, BC Rich, Godin, Jackson, Kramer, Music Man, Washburn, Yamaha, Taylor, Peavey, Schecter, Hamer

American Musical Supply (www.americanmusical.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Dean, Paul Reed Smith, Jackson, Washburn, Yamaha, Peavey, Schecter

Sweetwater (www.sweetwater.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, Ibanez, Gretsch, Charvel, Paul Reed Smith, Jackson, Peavey, Taylor

World Music Supply (www.worldmusicsupply.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Fender, ESP, Dean, BC Rich, Jackson, Washburn, Yamaha, Taylor, Schecter, Hamer

Same Day Music (www.samedaymusic.com)
Electric guitar manufacturers carried: Gibson, Fender, Epiphone, ESP, Ibanez, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Dean, Jackson, Washburn, Yamaha, Peavey, Schecter

A Guide to Gibson Electric Guitars

A Little Bit About Gibson Guitars.

Gibson electric guitars
are to rock what apples are to apple pie. Fender is the only other electric guitar manufacturer in the world of rock that equals Gibson in name recognition and identity. Gibson started out in the 19th century as an acoustic guitar manufacturer and initially wasn’t interested in Les Paul’s ideas for producing a solid-body electric guitar when he approached them. But Fender’s introduction of its first electric guitar in 1948 may have changed Gibson mind. In 1950 Gibson brought Les Paul on board to develop his ideas for the electric guitar, and in 1952 debuted the Les Paul. Ever worried about its reputation as an acoustic guitar manufacturer, Gibson refused to put its name on the guitar at first. Not long after, the company changed its mind and the rest, as they say, is rock history.

Gibson did not stop at the Les Paul and went on to develop several electric guitar models it still manufacturers today, either as part of its regular line of electric guitars or as reissues or limited editions.

Gibson Electric Guitars:

Gibson Les Paul: The Gibson Les Paul is the electric guitar synonymous with classic rock thanks to Jimmy Page. The first Gibson Les Pauls featured single-coil pickups, but the switch to dual humbuckers in 1960 gave the Les Paul its trademark sound.

Today Gibson offers several versions of its Les Paul electric guitar line: the Les Paul Standard and Les Paul Studio are the most common with the latter being a cheaper model. Gibson also offers several more expensive signature series Les Paul electric guitars such as the Slash Les Paul and the Joe Perry Les Paul. There are also various reissues of older models, limited edition and custom models of this guitar as well.

Gibson SG: The Gibson SG electric guitar came out in 1958 and is most associated with Angus Young . Naturally Gibson offers a signature Angus Young SG. Reissues of older SG models are also available as well as the SG Standard. The Gibson SG has a double-cutaway shape and a thinner body than a Les Paul.

Gibson EDS-1275: Yet another Gibson electric guitar made famous by Jimmy Page. The EDS is the dual-necked 6 and 12-string electric guitar Page used to play "Stairway to Heaven" during concerts. This guitar isn't cheap.

Gibson Flying V: This electric guitar with a V-shaped body came out in 1958 and has become popular among heavy metal guitarists.

Gibson Explorer: Gibson first released this electric guitar in 1959. It featured a futuristic design (for the time) that led to poor sales. Today’s Explorers are reissues of the original and are not very common. Another guitar most often seen in heavy metal.

Gibson Firebird: This electric guitar was released in 1963. After a Fender lawsuit over body design, Gibson changed the guitar’s shape, so any Gibson Firebird guitars manufactured between 1963-1965 are known as “reverse bodies.”

Gibson ES-335: The ES-335 is one of several semi-solid electric guitars in Gibson’s “300” series, which also includes the ES-325, ES-345 and ES-355. The ES-335, however, was the first electric guitar in the series when it came out in 1958. B.B. King’s “Lucille” is an ES-335 and the 335 was also Chuck Berry’s guitar of choice.

Gibson Melody Maker: This Gibson electric guitar has been resurrected these days in a Les Paul body and closely resembles the 1959 model. It’s often viewed as a student guitar given its affordable price. For a time the Melody Maker took on the SG shape with rounded doubled cutaways. The Joan Jett signature Melody Maker electric guitar features this shape.

11 Tips for Buying a Used Electric Guitar

Questions to Ask Yourself and the Seller When Buying a Used Electric Guitar

Buying a used electric guitar is in many ways no different than buying a new one in that there are many fine used guitars for sale, and you want to find the guitar that is right for you in terms of look, sound, price, ease of play, and comfort. The biggest difference, of course, is that with a used electric guitar you are buying a guitar with a past, and if you aren’t careful you could end up buying a lemon.

For experienced guitar players this isn’t so much of a problem, but first time guitar buyers risk making an unwise purchase if they aren’t prepared.

Generally buying an electric guitar from a local music store is far less risky than buying from a stranger, especially if the store has been in business for a while and has a good reputation. If a business has spent years of hard work building up a business and developing a positive reputation, it isn’t too likely they’ve achieved that by selling customers second-hand electric guitars that are in poor condition

With strangers, the trust factor is virtually nil, at least to start. While there are many honest people out there selling used electric guitars in good condition, there are many who aren’t honest. That’s why knowledge is power and protection. If you are buying a used electric guitar for the first time – from a stranger, a music store or wherever, -- prepare yourself ahead of time with the following tips and you’ll decrease the chances of you making a bad purchase.

As you read the tips below, keep in mind that some problems like intonation or slight bowing occur in virtually every guitar at some point. Luckily having an electric guitar serviced isn’t that expensive: where I live in Maine it costs about $20-$30 and includes minor adjustments to the neck, frets, action, and intonation if needed. In fact, any time you buy a used electric guitar, it’s a good idea to have it serviced.

Having said that— the tips.

1. Check the guitar for cracks, especially along the neck and the area between the neck and the head, which is the weakest spot on an electric guitar. Cracks in the finish are cosmetic and aside from their unsightliness, not a big concern. Structural cracks could result in the neck completely breaking. Finish cracks can run in any direction, but structural cracks tend to follow the grain of the wood and may fissure.

Realize that scratches, dents and wear to the finish are normal: the guitar is used after all. If you watched the Super Bowl halftime show, you might have noticed the finish on the back of Bruce Springsteen’s Fender Telecaster is worn to the wood. Unless such flaws bother you aesthetically, they don’t pose a problem.

2. Sight check the guitar’s neck to make sure it isn’t warped or bowed. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to hold the guitar at eye-level, once with the guitar’s body closest to you and again with the neck head closest to you, and look down either side of the neck. It should be straight. If the guitar neck is slightly bowed or warped, adjusting the truss rod should fix the problem and absent any other problems, isn’t a major concern. In fact, it’s a common problem. If the warping or bowing is pronounced and has been that way for some time, the neck may need to be replaced.

3. Check the intonation. This is tricky for beginner guitar players who haven’t yet learned how to play harmonics. Play a harmonic at the 12 fret and then on the same string, play the note at the 12 fret and compare. If one sounds higher or lower than the other, the intonation is off. Do this for every string. For accuracy, it’s best to use a guitar tuner to compare.

4. Check the action. For electric guitar, standard action is 6/64 in. on the sixth string and 4/64 in. on the first string (measured from the bottom of the string to the top of the fret.) You won’t be able to judge this with your eye, so just be aware the strings should not touch the frets, nor should they be so high it hurts your hand to fret the notes.

5. The strings should not rattle, buzz, or mute when played, no matter if the guitar is plugged or unplugged. The frets should not be loose.

6. Plug in to make sure the pick-ups and the pick-up selector switch work as well as the tone and volume knobs. There shouldn’t be any pops or humming, nor should the sound cut in and out.

7. Ask the seller how long he’s owned the guitar and if he bought it new or used.

8. Ask if the guitar is still under warranty, and if so, is that warranty transferable.

9. Ask the seller if any work has been done on the guitar, and if so, why.

10. Before checking out the guitar, do some research on the make and model. Is it still available or has it been discontinued? Read customer reviews. Check e-bay, Craigslist, and any other classified venues to see if anyone else is selling the same make and model and for how much. This will help you determine if the seller’s asking price is too much (don’t be afraid to negotiate), too little (good deal!) or at market value.

11. Last, remember what I said in tip #1. Used electric guitars are going to show varying degrees of wear and tear and may need minor adjustments. If you find an electric guitar that has no major problems and feels and plays like it belongs in your hands, buy it!