So you’re looking for the best beginner left handed electric guitars, huh? Let’s see if I can get you started…
This article lists a number of quality beginner guitars that are still reasonably priced and should give you a solid introduction to your new hobby. As a good rule of thumb, if you stick with big name brands it is hard to go too far wrong. If you are buying for a child or would prefer a smaller guitar, check out my post on 3/4 sized left handed guitars.
As a beginner there really isn’t a lot you need to ponder over. Seriously. But just before we start looking at the guitars, there is one thing you might like to consider…
Do You Need Single-Coil or Humbucker Pickups?
The image above shows the two most common styles of electric guitar – on the left a Fender Stratocaster, and on the right a Gibson Les Paul. The thin pickups on the Stratocaster are called Single Coils, and the larger pickups on the Les Paul are Humbuckers.
Single-Coil – As you can probably guess from the name, these pickups are made using a single coil of wire. Typically they produce a bright, lively tone with low to moderate output which makes them better suited to clean or lower gain play styles. That’s not to say they can handle the heavier stuff, here’s a video of me using the Squier Strat shown above (and recommended below!) for some reasonably high gain music.
Humbuckers – These typically have a fatter sound and higher output than single-coil pickups, and are therefore a little more suited to styles of playing which use distortion. Although that’s not to say that they can’t handle cleaner tones as well – they just won’t be quite as bright and crisp sounding as a single-coil options.
I would suggest that for your first guitar, it really doesn’t matter too much what you pick. You will be able to play any style of music on either option. That is, unless you want to rip out some high gain metal as soon as possible. You sir, need humbuckers!
Enough talk! Let’s see the guitars!
Complete Packages Under $150
If you don’t have the time to pick and choose everything you need, then a package deal is going to give you the easiest route to getting started. There’s a couple of options I recommend, depending on whether you need a single-coil or humbucker equipped guitar. Let’s take a look…
Most of the kits listed below feature (Fender) Stratocaster style guitars. The Strat is the most popular guitar style in the world, and for good reason! It makes for a great first guitar because it is super versatile, has a comfortable contoured body, and is lightweight and easy to handle. Perfect!
On a tight budget, the package that I happily recommend is the SX RST kit shown below. This Stratocaster style package comes in a ton of different colors, and includes everything you need to get started. i.e. a Guitar, amplifier, tuner, gigbag, cable, lessons, strap and picks. For a mere $125 the value on offer here is nothing short of astonishing – how do they do it!? Check them out at the links below.
Main features on the guitars include a basswood body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, adjustable truss-rod, 3 single-coil pickups with 5-way selector switch, and a vintage style bridge with 6 adjustable saddles to ensure perfect intonation. The included amplifier is a 10-watt SX model with a 5.5″ speaker. The perfect size for bedroom practice, but also has a headphone jack for night time jamming. Click here for a great overview video from our friend (and fellow lefty!) Jon Way.
Another Strat (and Tele!) style bundle that I recommend is this similar package from Sawtooth (pictured below) which includes a few extra color combinations!
The Sawtooth kit is very similar to the SX RST bundle, and when you consider the free shipping, both kits end up at roughly the same price point. There’s also the choice of a great looking Telecaster style package. This package offers a few extras over the SX kits, such as quality Chromacast headstock tuner and picks, as well as a handy guitar stand. The Sawtooth kit gives you a few extra options such as maple fingerboards, matching headstock finish, black pickguards, and one black model even has a fancy mirrored scratchplate! When all is said and done, there isn’t much difference between the two kits , so pick whichever you think looks best!
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $200
- Squier Affinity Stratocaster
- Squier Affinity Telecaster
Neal Says: The Squier Affinity series is where most new electric guitarists on a budget will start out. They’re affordable, look fantastic, play great, and you’ve got that famous name on the headstock, which means that they’ll hold their value over time! Both guitars have an alder body coupled with a maple neck and your choice of maple or rosewood fingerboards. They will handle any genre of music comfortably, with the exception of heavy metal and other very high gain styles. For under $200 these two are definitely your best choice – pick whichever style you like best, as both are very similar sound-wise. All you need to ask yourself is whether you are a Strat or a Tele person.
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $300
- Squier Standard Stratocaster Black
- Squier Standard Strat Antique Burst
- ESP Ltd EC-50
- ESP Ltd M-50
- Jackson JS32L Dinky
Neal Says: Once again I’ve placed a Squier at the top of the list! The Standard Series is a step above the Affinity models mentioned in the previous price bracket. You just can’t go wrong with one of these little gems. They are available in black, or an eye-catching antiqueburst finish, and feature an agathis body coupled with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. One of these is going to be a very versatile choice in this price bracket.
Although! If you are looking to rock out that little bit harder, you’ll probably need some powerful humbucker pickups, right? In this case, you’ll want to take a look at the EC-50 from ESP Ltd. The M-50 and Jackson JS32 are also excellent picks, but the fixed bridge (no whammy bar) on the ESP makes it a little more beginner friendly. Think about whether or not you need a whammy bar.
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $400
- Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster
- Squier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster
- Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster
- Epiphone G-400 Pro
- ESP Ltd EC-256FM
Neal Says: Are you starting to see a trend here? Squier once again claims the top spot. In my humble opinion, the Classic Vibe series from Squier are the best value electric guitars available – period. I have the 50s Strat (cheesy video) and Tele myself, and honestly prefer them over my USA Fenders which cost 3-4 times the price. One of these could potentially be your main guitar for life. As a beginner, you just aren’t going to notice the marginal difference in sound between the 50s and 60s models – pick whichever looks the best to you. You’ll thank me later..honest!
For a thicker sound check out the humbucker equipped Epiphone G-400 Pro or ESP Ltd EC-256. The Epiphone has a neat little trick up its sleeve – you can ‘split’ the humbucker coils to give a brighter single-coil sound. The best of both worlds!
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Around $400-$600
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard (ebony or cherry burst) – link
- Fender Standard Stratocaster (various colors) – link
- Fender Standard Telecaster (various colors) – link
- Epiphone Les Paul Custom – link
- Ibanez RG450 – link
Neal Says: These are all really solid choices. For under $600 you can get yourself a bona fide Fender Strat or Tele, and these guitars come in a huge number of color choices to sweeten the deal. You get a lot of bragging rights by having that logo on your headstock too! These are definitely your best choice if you need a single-coil equipped guitar.
Alternatively, the Epiphones will give you that authentically beefy sound that only a Les Paul can produce. Everyone looks cool wearing a Les Paul! If you’re wondering why the Heritage Cherry Les Paul Standard costs a little more than the Ebony, it’s because it’s a slightly different model. The Heritage Cherry comes with a fancy flamed maple top, pickup upgrades, and the ability to coil tap. This basically means that you can ‘split’ the humbucker pickups to give a more jangly, singlecoil sound if desired – pretty cool! Or for the ultimate in class, check out the Les Paul Custom, with it’s sleek black finish and all gold hardware.
Finally. the Ibanez will be the best choice for those of you wanting to become the next shred maestro or heavy metal monster! Its fast, thin neck, powerful humbucker pickups and aggressive styling makes the RG the world’s favorite precision instrument.
Any one of these will make a great starter guitar, but obviously if you are willing to drop a little more coin then things can only get better! As a beginner left handed guitarist the choice isn’t exactly overwhelming, but don’t worry, things get much better later on. And hey, it makes your decision right now much easier!
A Note on Scale Length
Scale length is defined as the distance between where the strings contact the nut and where they contact the bridge, i.e. the length of the string that will vibrate to produce a sound. Typically there are two common scale lengths – 24 3/4 inches and 25 1/2 inches. For the most part, Gibson style guitars (Les Pauls, SGs etc..) will utilise the shorter 24 3/4 inch length, while most other guitars will generally use the more common 25 1/2 inches.
All other things being equal, a longer scale length will result in increased string tension. This will give a slightly brighter sound with a tighter bottom end. The added tension will also make it slightly more difficult to bend strings. Shorter scale lengths will give a thicker, chunky lower end, and make string bending a little easier.
If you have smaller hands you may prefer to start with a 24 3/4 inch guitar such as a Les Paul or SG type due to the slightly shorter stretches required. Otherwise, don’t worry about it too much for now.
Still have questions? Feel free to send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Beginner Classical Guitars
Part Six : Amps
Part Seven : Effects
Part Eight : Accessories
Part Nine : Lessons