Looking for your first acoustic or classical left handed guitar? This article should serve as a good primer to help you understand the various different styles of acoustic guitars. Head to the bottom of the page for an in-depth list of excellent beginner left handed acoustics, sorted by price bracket.
If you’re looking to buy for a child or just have smaller hands, you may like to check out my article on 3/4 Sized Left Handed Acoustic Guitars.
Acoustic or Electro-Acoustic Guitar ?
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide whether you want a traditional acoustic or an electro-acoustic guitar. The main difference between the two being that you can plug your electro-acoustic directly into an amp, whereas with a traditional acoustic you will need to use a microphone to amplify the sound when playing live.
A great advantage to starting out with an electro-acoustic guitar is that many will come with a built-in tuner. If your guitar doesn’t come with a tuner I highly recommend a clip-on headstock tuner such as a Snark – find out more about these in Part 7 of the Newbie Guide.
After reading this you may be thinking of just buying an electro-acoustic. Hell, it’s the same as an acoustic with a few extra bells and whistles right? This is true, but these extra gadgets obviously come at a price. Think carefully about what you need.
Acoustic guitars come in a seemingly endless variety of different shapes and sizes and you’ll want to take this into deliberation when buying your first guitar. Various shapes and styles are suited to different genres and so this can be an important consideration to make. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common shapes.
The most popular acoustic guitar body shape. Dreadnought guitars have large body shapes which will equate to a louder sound being produced. Due to the deeper soundbox the Dreadnought style will produce a very bassy, boomy sound. For the average player, this is the right style of guitar to go for. This is however a fairly large guitar and may be a handful for a smaller framed individual.
Grand Concert Guitars
The Grand Concert (GC) body style is the major body style most directly derived from the classical guitar. It has the thinnest soundbox and the smallest overall size of the major styles, making it very comfortable to play but also one of the quietest. Its smaller size makes it suitable for younger or smaller-framed players.
Grand Auditorium Guitars
The Grand Auditorium (GA) is very similar in design to the Grand Concert, but slightly wider and deeper. Many GA-style guitars also have a convex back panel to increase the volume of space in the soundbox without making the soundbox deeper at the edges, which would affect comfort and playability. The result is a very balanced tone, comparable to the GC but with greater volume and dynamic range and slightly more low-end response, without sacrificing the ergonomics of the classical style, making these body styles very popular.
Jumbo Guitars are designed to be loud and full of bass. It’s basically similar in function and usage to the dreadnaught. In some situations, the mid frequencies get lost, overpowered by the bass. Again, due to its size, it may not be right for a beginner player, or a small framed person. Ideal for use in large open environments where sound projection is important.
Classical Nylon String Guitars
Classical guitars are characterized by the use of nylon strings. Typically, these instruments have a wide neck and a very flat fingerboard. Some “old school” instructors feel that this is the only guitar a beginning guitarist should consider as the lighter string tension and nylon material are easy on the fingers.
Travel Guitars / Small Scale Guitars
If you need something to learn with on the road then these more compact guitars are an ideal choice. Likewise, if you are a smaller individual a travel guitar can be much easier to tame than the more sizeable options. Check out our list of 3/4 Sized Left Handed Guitars. Keep in mind that these smaller guitars will also have a much smaller ‘voice’ than their full bodied cousins.
All of the body styles listed above can have a portion of the body ‘cut away’ on the bottom side to allow easier access to the upper frets. The cutaway will affect the tone of the guitar to a degree.This type of guitar tends to be favored by players who are more into a fingerstyle type of playing due to the better access to higher frets. Most manufacturers will differentiate between full body and cutaway guitars by adding ‘CE’ to the end of the model name.
Types of Wood
The main element which will affect the sound coming from your guitar besides the shape is the wood that it is made from. However, as a beginner this is not something you should be desperately concerned about. To an untrained ear most acoustics will sound more or less the same!
Enough chat, let’s look at a few good examples of left handed acoustic guitars…
Popular Left Handed Acoustic Guitars Under $100
Popular Left Handed Acoustic Guitars Under $200
- Ibanez PF15L – link
- Jay Turser JTA424 – link
- Kona K2 Sunburst – Sunburst or Natural
- Oscar Schmidt OC11CE Classical – link
- Oscar Schmidt OG2 Package – link
- Stagg C546 Classical- link
- Stagg SA30D – black natural
- SX Mentor S CE – link
Neal Says: I’ve placed the Ibanez at the top of this list because if it were were my cash dollars on the line, this is the one I’d go for personally. They look good, sound good, and because of the name on the headstock, resale value is high if you decide to upgrade later on.
Popular Left Handed Acoustic Guitars Under $300
- Fender CD-100 – link
- Ibanez AEG10L Black – link
- Ibanez AW400L – link
- Lag TNL66ACE Classical – link
- Stagg C546 Classical – link
- Stagg SA30 CE Black – link
- Tanglewood TW28 – link
- Takamine GD30 – link
- Taylor BT-1 Baby – link
- Taylor BT-2 Baby – link
Neal Says: The Fender CD-100 is pretty much the go-to beginner guitar for southpaw players – it’s affordable, you’ve got the big name on the headstock and it sounds great. In my opinion it’s the best buy in this price bracket, but honestly you cannot go wrong with any of the guitars mentioned here.
Popular Left Handed Acoustic Guitars Under $400
- Cort MR710 – link
- Dean Espana Classical – link
- Dean Exotica Quilt – link
- Dean Performer – Black or Natural
- La Patrie Etude Classical – link
- Lag TNL66 Classical – link
- Yamaha FG720SL – link
- Fender CD-100CE – link
- Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat – link
- Martin LXME – link
- Recording King Classic 12 – link
- Taylor BBT Big Baby – link
Neal Says: In the previous price bracket I picked the Fender CD-100 as the best buy. For a little bit extra cash here, the CD-100CE adds electronics and a cutaway for improved upper fret access – once again the Fender is a great choice. Another top pick in this bracket is the FG720SL – Yamaha is famed for producing guitars that seem to punch well above their price – and this model is no exception. If you’re after something with a little wow factor, take a look at the stunning wood tops on the Deans.
Popular Left Handed Acoustic Guitars Under $500
- Cordoba C5 Classical – link
- Dean Exotica Bubinga – link
- Epiphone ’64 Texan Limited Edition – link
- Epiphone EJ-200SCE Limited Edition – Natural Sunburst
- Fender Sonoran SCE – link
- La Patrie Etude Classical – link
- Lag TL00D – link
- Seagull S6 – link link2
- Taylor GS Mini – Sapele Mahogany
Neal Says: Now we’re getting into the real quality picks – anything here will potentially last you for life. Personally, I would take the Taylor GS Mini (in fact, I did! I have one hanging on my wall right now!). These guitars are slightly smaller than usual, making them ideal for new players – but they sound every inch as big as a full sized acoustic. In my opinion, the GS Mini is the best beginner acoustic guitar – period. If you can afford it, you will not be disappointed. The Epiphones are both limited editions, so these will make a nice investment if you’re looking for something a little bit more special. My personal choices aside, you cannot go wrong with any of the guitars in this list.
If you have any further questions, please leave a comment below.
Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Amps
Part Six : Effects
Part Seven : Accessories
Part Eight : Lessons