Newbie Series Part 2 : Lefty Beginner Electric Guitars

Neal August 22, 2011 33

So you want to learn electric guitar 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. Types of woods used, number of frets, type of tuners – these are really non-issues for now. Just buy something (preferably from the list below) that you like the looks of and dive in. But just before we start looking at the guitars, there are a couple of things you might like to consider…

The Anatomy of a Left Handed Electric GuitarSingle-Coil vs Humbucker Pickups

Single-Coil – Check out the image at the bottom of this article.  Notice the slimmer looking pickups on the 3rd and 4th guitars? Those are single-coils. 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. A traditional single-coil pickup does not have the ability to reject noise or hum from being picked up along with the vibration from the string. This may mean that you notice a subtle humming noise when playing, however this is a small trade-off to gain the sought after tones which only single-coils can produce.

Humbuckers – These are so called because of their ability to ‘buck the hum’, unlike single-coil designs.  The Gibson Les Paul in the image above features humbuckers. They typically have a fatter sound and higher output than single-coil pickups and are therefore a little more suited to overdriven styles of playing. Although that’s not to say that they can’t handle cleaner tones as well – they just won’t be quite as bright and jangly sounding as a single-coil.

I would suggest that for your first guitar, it really doesn’t matter too much what you pick. That is, unless you want to rip out some high gain metal as soon as possible. You sir, need humbuckers!

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, most Gibson style guitars (1 and 5 in the image below) will utilise the shorter 24 3/4 inch length, while Fender style guitars (2, 3 & 4 below) will generally use 25 1/2 inches.

Guitar Scale Length DiagramAll 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! 

Best Beginner Left Handed Electric GuitarsComplete Packages Under $200

Although I don’t generally recommend beginner packages, sometimes it just has to be done if you are on a tight budget. A cheap guitar is better than no guitar! If you look carefully you should be able to find a full starter kit for as little as $100. The big name brands don’t really offer left handed starter kits, but your local store may be able to put together a special bundle for you if you ask nicely.

  1. Various Left Handed Beginner Packages – link
  2. Sawtooth Beginner Packages – link
  3. SX Beginner Packages – link

Popular Left Handed Guitars Under $200

  1. ESP Ltd M-10 – link
  2. Jay Turser 300 – link
  3. Squier Affinity Stratocaster – link
  4. Squier Affinity Telecaster – link
  5. Stagg S300 – black or sunburst

Popular Left Handed Guitars Under $300

  1. Agile AL Series Guitars – link link2
  2. ESP Ltd EC-50 – link
  3. ESP Ltd F-50 – link
  4. ESP Ltd M-50 – link
  5. Ibanez GRG120 – link
  6. Ibanez GRX70 – link
  7. Jackson JS22L – link
  8. Oscar Schmidt Delta King Semi Hollow – link
  9. Squier Standard Stratocaster – antique burst or black
  10. Stagg G300 – link
  11. Yamaha Pacifica 112 – link

Popular Left Handed Guitars Under $400

  1. Epiphone G-400 Pro – link
  2. ESP Ltd EC-256FM – link
  3. Schecter Omen 6 – link
  4. Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster – link
  5. Squier Classic Vibe 50s Stratocaster – link
  6. Squier Classic Vibe 60s Stratocaster – link

Popular Left Handed Guitars Under $500

  1. Epiphone Les Paul Standard – link link2
  2. Fender Standard Stratocaster – link
  3. Fender Standard Telecaster – link
  4. Ibanez RG450 – link
  5. Vintage V100 Lemon Drop – link

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.

In my personal opinion, the best ‘bang for your buck’ guitars on this list are the Squier Classic Vibes. I have two of them myself and cannot recommend them enough – if your budget allows for it, these 3 should be high on your list of potentials.

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

33 Comments »

  1. Josh @ Fretterverse August 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Great post. My main jazz axe is an Epiphone. I really like what they've been coming out with the past few years. And I have my eyes on an Agile 8-string; I hear their stuff is very good, too!

  2. Jose August 15, 2010 at 10:20 am - Reply

    i'm really close to deciding which guitar to buy, i'm often getting discouraged by some righties and even left handed people ( in my local store) to start with right-handed. but i'm really leaning towards left handed, would a left-handed fender stratocaster (new) going for $500 be a good starter guitar?

    • LeftyFretz August 15, 2010 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Hi Jose. A real Fender would give you a perfect start to learning guitar. The idea behind my newbie guide was to help people avoid getting a poor first guitar, but your Fender would be a notch above the choices I gave here.

  3. Jose August 15, 2010 at 11:56 am - Reply

    i'm thinking about this one http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender-Standard-Strat… ; i'm wondering if this one of good enough to last me through basic learning to advanced playing of multiple styles (blues, classic, metal, alternative). I want to know if it would last me through the years for whatever I would be playing? thanks in advance

    • LeftyFretz August 15, 2010 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      Something like that would last you potentially your entire guitar playing career. It's a great guitar and what a fantastic price, here in the UK we'd probably pay near double that.

  4. Anonymous September 14, 2010 at 6:17 am - Reply

    Hi dude, I’m just wondering where can I check the available colours for the Yamaha Pacifica 112L?

    Thanks.

    • LeftyFretz September 14, 2010 at 9:52 am - Reply

      It's available in Yellow Natural Satin (the natural finish shown above) or black, it's most common in YNS. Your best bet is probably to check eBay.

  5. CM September 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    HI,what do you think of Ibanez as73 for a first guitar? thanks

  6. Tim San 55 December 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Adding to the list of guitars here, I would also recommend the Squier Affinity left hand Telecaster copy, I just bought one and it is great.

    • Neal December 29, 2011 at 11:33 pm - Reply

      Absolutely – I’ll need to give this series a bit of a refresh soon! :)

  7. Rooney September 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Hey I’m a beginner lefty and I was wondering if the epiphone lp 100 is any good?
    Also I’m planning on buying a Marshall 100W dfx amp…again opinions on this. I’m 14 if this helps

  8. Pranshu December 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    What About a Cort X-2 Lefty? It’s a Versatile economic guitar with good tones.

  9. james January 2, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    im a lefty and my friend has a bc rich vg1 and i love it, he got it for under 300.00 new but they dont makem for a left handed guy, is there anything thats close to it in sound / specs for the 300.00 and under price range for a lefty? thanks

    • Neal January 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      If you’re in the States try contacting David at Xtreme Lefty Guitars. They quite often commission small runs of otherwise unavailable BC Rich guitars. He might have something in the pipeline. http://xlguitars.com/products-page/bc-rich-guitars/

  10. Anne Marie March 7, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I fell in love with the Jaxville Hades electric guitar and wanted it, I am left handed and they only do right handed ones in the Hades guitar. So unfair as it is the one I really wanted.

  11. Alvin October 9, 2013 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Great article, but it might be helpful to say a few words about lefties making the transition to guitar from bass, like I may look to do at some point. I play a Fender Jazz and a Martin Acoustic, and may look at getting a guitar. Any good lefty suggestions for making that jump?

  12. S Wolf March 30, 2014 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Great article. I play a Squier Affinity Strat – it’s not fancy, but it sure does its job. I’d like to get another one at some point, but it’s definitely a quality instrument.

    I think Agile is really neat because they make lefty 7-, 8-, and 12-strings at great prices, but I like to try guitars out before I decide to buy one, and I can’t find them in stores. Anyone know where I can find one in New York?

    • Neal October 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      As far as i’m aware, RondoMusic is the only place you can buy Agile, as it is their own brand. See if you can find used examples on eBay, that way if you don’t like them you should be able to sell it on for more or less what you paid.

  13. Paul August 12, 2014 at 11:21 am - Reply

    epiphone doesn’t make the les paul 2 for lefties anymore :( why?

    • Neal October 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm - Reply

      I guess they didn’t sell well enough Paul. Which is surprising to me – there isn’t really a lot else in that price bracket.

  14. nikita October 19, 2014 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I am an intermediate player and want a good left handed electric guitar package upto 130$.please recommend one to me…….

    • Neal October 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Nikita. Please see the links to kits listed above under the “Complete Packages Under $200″ heading.

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