Black Guitars – The Scourge of the Left Handed Guitarist?

Is it just me, or is it safe to say that the majority of southpaws are sick to death of being force fed budget, gloss black guitars? Every time I post a new article which features the token range of black left handed guitars, 50% of the comments are along the lines of “oh great, just what we need, another black guitar!“.

Boring Left Handed Black Guitars

This opinion is seemingly unique to us left handed guitarists. 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 models to select from – who wouldn’t get frustrated 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 almost exclusively owned gloss 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.

Tonight I was browsing my Twitter feed and noticed that Sterling by Music Man had announced their new 2015 range. At present there is only one lefty electric, as well as a bass or two.  Here’s an image which shows the colors that the JP60 is available in.

Left Handed Sterling JP60

You’ve gotta laugh… Not only is it only available left handed in black – RIGHT HANDED PLAYERS CAN’T EVEN GET THE DAMN THING IN BLACK.  It’s exclusive to us.

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 ‘plain Jane’.  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…


One goal of paramount importance when playing live is to be MEMORABLE. If you’re standing in the back in your dark clothes with a black guitar you’re not making much of a remarkable impression as far as appearances are concerned, are you? 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.

I had a couple of digs at Ibanez in this article.  Recently they brought out the new RG721RWL, a guitar with a beautiful rosewood top and matching headstock veneer. At work we have plenty gloss black Ibanez on the walls – these new models sold out before they even arrived in the stores!

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?

81 replies
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  1. Ken Patching
    Ken Patching says:

    I agree with most mass produced guitars although Gibson are worse than fender and other Koren brands are just as bad with the only offering in base wood, which is low acoustic quality.
    My eye is on a £3,000 custom guitar with special left hand runs in certain years. If you search there are some very cherished used gibson’s that still command an upwards of £2000. price tag.

  2. Klyde Denton
    Klyde Denton says:

    I had to chuckle when i read this article – black lefty guitars. It’s so fucking true! I’m in Ukraine, major city, yet left-handed guitars, especially electric, don’t even exist in the music shops. After pouring over about 300 guitars online, i found a whopping 3 that were lefties. 2 black, 1 red. So…i love my new black Ibanez, RG370DXL, plays like a dream, although black was never my first color of choice. The guy posted it online and i bought it 3 minutes later. It’s sooooo nice to have the whammy bar UNDER the tremolo and the knobs down where they should be. Modifying righty guitars sux. The southpaw who owned it strung it heavy, like an acoustic (which he normally plays). Of course, it didn’t play well, and he left it untouched in its case for about 15 years! Mint condition! Not a smudge nor scratch. But yes, black is THE color for lefty guitars when the manufacturer decides what color is most neutral, most likely to sell. God forbid they should make more guitars and more variety for us freaks of nature. I DO like black as a color to detail, a foundation to paint on and get artistic. But my next guitar will be that red one, the Kramer, with the blond fretboard (love blonds). Just curious about it. Eddy Van Halen chose Kramer necks for years.

  3. solak
    solak says:

    yes it’s a bit problem to have a black color guitar but the quality is important too i bought an ibanez RG 370 DXL it was a horrible guitar i can’t play it for 10 minutes straight it has really low action so i sold it to 1/3 of the price and i spent the money on some computer hardwares and now i’m stock with right hand classic guitar which i can’t play because i’m lefty and it’s really challenging to play with picks but the worse part was my friend bought exact this model in right hand and his guitar was really good i think they even don’t quality control left hand guitars…and i had to mention in Iran price of guitars in some models are 10 time expensive than US or other countries.
    i hope this difficulties with left hand ends.

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