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 are a couple of things you might like to consider…
Single-Coil vs 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!
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.
Enough talk! Let’s see the guitars!
I have arranged the guitars into different price brackets so that you can quickly find something suited to your budget. The guitars are also listed in order of my personal preference.
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 fastest 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…
On a tight budget, the package that I happily recommend is the SX RST kit shown above. This Stratocaster style package comes in a wide variety 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.
While the SX package above is going to be ideal for most styles of music, what about if you want to tackle some heavier styles of rock and metal? Well for you, I recommend the humbucker equipped packages by Davison or Sawtooth shown below. Both of these packages are essentially the same guitar with slightly different accessories included – pick your favorite color!
Again, this package comes with everything you need to get started. This no-frills guitar is designed to be as simple as possible, with just a single humbucker pickup in the bridge position. It’s unlikely you’ll miss having a neck pickup, as if you’re into heavier music the bridge humbucker is what you’ll use 90% of the time anyway. At just $100-$110 this little gem of a package will get you rocking out in no time at all.
- Davison/Sawtooth Guitar Package – link
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $200
- Squier Affinity Stratocaster – link
- Squier Affinity Telecaster – link
- Jay Turser 300 – link
- Stagg S300 – black or sunburst
- Jay Turser JT50 – link
Neal Says: The Squier Affinity series is probably where most new guitarists on a budget will start out. They’re affordable, look great, play great, and you’ve got that famous name on the headstock, which means that they’ll hold their value over time! They will handle any genre of music comfortably, with the exception of heavy metal. For under $200 these two are your best choice – pick whichever style you like best, as both are very similar guitars. Players looking for a fatter, heavier sound will probably like to consider the humbucker equipped Jay Turser!
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $300
- Squier Standard Stratocaster – antique burst or black
- ESP Ltd EC-100 – link
- ESP Ltd EC-50 – black or silver burst
- Ibanez GRG120 – link
- ESP Ltd M-50 – link
- ESP Ltd MH-50 – link
Neal Says: Once again I’ve put the Squiers 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.
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-100 and EC-50 from ESP Ltd. The EC-100 is basically the same as the EC-50 but with a fancier quilted maple top. The Ibanez and other 2 ESPS are also fine choices, but the fixed bridges (no whammy bar) on the first 2 ESPs make them a little more beginner friendly.
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $400
- Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster – link
- Squier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster – link
- Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster – link
- Epiphone G-400 Pro – link
- ESP Ltd EC-256FM – link
- ESP Ltd M-100FM – link
- Schecter Omen 6 – link
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 and Tele myself, and 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.
For a heavier sound check out the humbucker equipped Epiphone G-400 or ESP Ltd EC-256. Metal and hard rock fans will love the ESP M-100FM or Schecter Omen for a higher gain sound.
Popular Left Handed Electric Guitars Under $400-$600
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard – ebony or cherry
- Fender Standard Stratocaster (various colors) – link
- Fender Standard Telecaster (various colors) – link
- Ibanez RG450 – link
- Gretsch Pro Jet – silver or black
Neal Says: These are all really solid choices. For under $600 you can get that famous Fender quality, 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!
Alternatively, the Epiphone 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 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!
The Ibanez will be the best choice for those of you wanting to become the next shred maestro or heavy metal monster! Lastly, I’ve thrown in the Gretsch just to give you the option of something a little different. In terms of sound, the Gretsch falls somewhere in between the Fenders and the Epiphone – but most importantly, its retro vibe looks the absolute business!
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!
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