Black Guitars – The Scourge of the Left Handed Guitarist?

Neal Beedie June 4, 2011 65

Black guitars are the scourge of the left handed guitar player – at least in my opinion they are. And judging by the feedback I get from you lovely readers I think that it would be fair to say that the majority of you feel more or less the same way. Every time I post a new article which features the token range of black left handed guitars I will get some type of comment along the lines of “oh great, just what we need, another black guitar!”.

Black Left Handed Guitar Boring Dull

This curse is unique to left handed guitarists as while right handed players can more often than not pick and choose from a variety of finishes, we lefties are quite often presented with black as the only option.  Walk into any small music store and more than likely you will only have a couple of black Strats and perhaps a few budget black Ibanez to select from – who wouldn’t get annoyed by this?

Thai food might be your cuisine of choice, but eat it every night and you will eventually grow tired of it right?  Well this is exactly how I feel about black guitars – they are force fed to us by so many big companies that I am now completely underwhelmed by them.  For the first five years of my guitar playing career I exclusively owned black guitars because of a lack of other options, and as a result I wouldn’t touch one with a bargepole now.  It may be a safe and inexpensive choice for these brands to make, but good god it’s also a boring one.

A Reflection On You

As far as I’m concerned your guitar should reflect you, it should be an extension of your personality. Black is dull and gloomy. Are you dull and gloomy?

Let’s take a look at a few synonyms that a thesaurus might spew out when you plug in the word ‘black’…

atrocious, bleak, depressing, depressive, dismal, dispiriting, distressing, doleful, dreary, foreboding, funereal, gloomy, horrible, lugubrious, mournful, ominous, oppressive, sad, sinister, sombre

Pretty uninspiring right?..

Don’t get me wrong, I think black guitars can look fantastic – they just need a little help to become less uninspiring. For example, the body could have a trans-black finish with a beautiful wood underneath, it could have a less common matte black finish, or it could have some white binding to help set it off. It’s the dull as ditch-water, plain gloss black guitars that I despise wholeheartedly…and unfortunately this is more often than not the sole option available to the oft forgotten southpaw guitarist – at least until you are willing to shell out more serious money…

Forgettable

One goal of paramount importance when playing live is to be MEMORABLE. If you’re standing in the back in your black clothes and black guitar you’re not making much of a remarkable impression as far as appearances are concerned. Hell, if the lighting at the venue is poor people might not remember you at all when the gig is over…

Black left handed guitars are boring

Misjudged Sales Results

I also feel that it can skew the manufacturer’s perception of market interest.  If you bring out a black left handed guitar and it doesn’t sell well you might assume that the demand just isn’t there and discontinue the model.  If that same guitar had been made in a color less despised by lefties it could have made all the difference and sold by the bucket load.  The point of view of the southpaw guitarist can differ greatly to that of a righty player – the brands who realise this are the brands who will have loyal left handed endorsers.

Do you agree with me, or am I alone in my quest to inject some color and interest into my guitar playing career? Leave a comment below with your own opinions. Are you bright and colourful, or dark and mysterious?

65 Comments »

  1. Tracy goldstein May 9, 2013 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Black is just plain ugly and scratches way too easy. Ugh!

  2. JJ June 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I agree completely. First strat in 1986, could only get black or white. Black or white are now last on the list for color choice. Finally got a lake placid blue strat, and cannot stop staring at it.

  3. antoine August 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: lefty guitars don’t sell. The shop keeper got his “mandatory” black cheap ibanez and squiers (one black strat, and one black tele OR one sunburst other strat…) and don’t sell it. Lefty guitarists like the others often buy guitars on a “love at first sight” basis. And won’t fall in love in love easily with the aforementioned. The shopkeeper offer to take an order, but it’s not the same…the mojo is not there, and neither the urge to pay for the object of desire ( …and it’s cheaper on the Internet …). Ugly guitar don’t sell

  4. Don December 1, 2013 at 12:19 am - Reply

    I have a LH black strat, a black schecter. When I got my wine LP I had to praise God because it was my first non-black LH guitar. My Epi SG is also red but also a budget guitar. I had to order all but my strat online.

  5. terryprokopjr February 20, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I wouldnt by my first strat until I found a non black one! Found one in blue picked it up just becuse it was not black. What sucks not as color choses is we cant sit &play a lot of thrm till we find one that lets just say speaks to us. It was not till 2008 that I got to go around &play a whole 8 different strats to find one that felt & had the tone that spoke to me! By the way had to hit 8 different GC’s to play them & everyone of them were white!

  6. Debs February 24, 2014 at 7:21 am - Reply

    I know, I know, black black. I want wood zebra 4 string! Still looking! sigh……

  7. mike April 8, 2014 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Yes and they all have cheap pickups etc.(GC) Dusty black or white Strats with right handed whammy bars on some of them. No respect.
    Just picked up a lefty 314ce taylor (sam ash).After 2 different taylors gtrs 144ce,214ce where delivered and returned.None in black lol!

  8. Rhitosparsh April 13, 2014 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Well, I like black guitars a lot! But still, I feel pretty bored to see guitars which are black, black, black, black…………!!!

    Also, if the guitar doesn’t have a pickguard (most Ibanezes), they get scratched and finger marks quite easily!!

    Also, with lack of too many options and not-very-great budget for guitars of people like me, you’d get only black!!

    But, I’d really like to credit Greg Bennett! They have quite many options, and have other colours too!

  9. Folken June 26, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    at least you can find lefty guitars, where I live the only option is to pick a right-handed one and transform it…

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