Why Isn’t There An Ambidextrous Guitar?

Last month I wrote an article describing why restringing a right handed guitar for a lefty was a bad idea.  I received a handful of amusing comments back from readers who recalled many of the troubles they had when they first started playing guitar and restrung their dad’s old right handed model upside down.  These comments got me thinking…

How hard could it be to design a guitar that could be played by both left and right handed players?  It’s probably the most rediculous idea I’ve ever had, but hey, wouldn’t it be fun to try and design something like that?!  Well I spent a lonely evening in Photoshop and came up with the ‘2-in-1’ .  Please don’t take this idea too seriously, it’s just a bit of fun…

The Premise

This is a guitar that through some very minor adjustments could be set up for either left handed or right handed players.  It would be aimed purely at beginner players and would be the only left handed guitar in the world that any store would be happy to stock more than one of.  The guitar would be mass produced and would be priced at the lower end of the market to make it appealable to new players who don’t neccessarily want to spend too much on a new hobby.

Imagine walking into a music store as a new lefty player and asking the salesman what left handed guitars he has in stock. “Oh, well I’ve got a couple of Strat copies in black, a Les Paul copy in black, and I think there’s a Tele copy somewhere, it’s black “.  Your heart sinks.  “But wait, I’ve also got these 2-in-1 models, if you give me 5 minutes I can switch them to being left handed and you can have one in any of these 10 colors I have in today “.  Woot!

Gaskell Guitars : Left Handed Guitars 2010

This week we’re looking at the rather exceptional guitar brand Gaskell Guitars which is based in Sydney, Australia.  Gaskell Guitars is the only company in the world that specializes in building left handed guitars exclusively!

As a frustrated lefty player, owner Kevin Gaskell saw an opportunity to provide the fine left handed people of the world with guitars and basses that would otherwise be unavailable to them.  Gaskell Guitars is the end result of his vision and since officially opening in 2006 the company has steadily been gaining a reputation for itself through the high quality of its product.

It’s a refreshingly pleasant sensation browsing through a guitar website and not having to look for the small print to distinguish if certain models are available left handed!  As all of their guitars are left handed this article will be fairly lengthy, so strap in and let’s give these guys the kudos they so rightly deserve.

All Gaskell guitars will come to you having been professionally setup to a level that any player would be absolutely satisfied with.  However, for the ultimate in playing perfection Gaskell also offer their ‘Platinum Setup Service’ which will attend to every detail of your guitar at an almost microscopic level to ensure that it is as flawless as humanly possible.  This service is an absolute steal at only $250 when you consider the amount of extra labour that goes into this pro-level setup.

Let’s take a look at the current line-up…

Gaskell Left Handed Guitars Lefty

PRS : Left Handed Guitars 2010

PRS halted regular production of lefty guitars roughly 8 years ago and as such if you wanted one now you’d need to resort to finding one second-hand or begging the custom shop to make one for you at huge expense. If you did manage to unearth a lefty the price would most likely be astronomical due to their scarcity.  In 2010 the prices are still out of this world but they are a little less scarce…

This year PRS have released a very limited edition run of 100 lefty models to the UK and Canadian markets, specifically 50 Custom 22s and 50 McCartys.  The guitars come in 5 different finish options with each color being split evenly throughout both models.  The finishes are Amber Black, Charcoal Burst, Fire Red, Sapphire Smokeburst and Matteo Mist. I was unable to find any images of the Matteo Mist.

In fact I could find very little information on these at all and only a few select UK stores seem to stock them.  It’s no wonder that PRS cite lack of demand for their decision to pull the plug on lefty guitars – if you don’t advertise them, no one will buy them.

Anyway, let’s take a peep at the guitars – I think you’ll have to agree that they are jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

PRS McCarty Left Handed Guitars

Lefty PRS McCarty Left Handed 2010

Epiphone : Left Handed Electric Guitars 2010

Epiphone was founded in 1873 by Anastasios Stathopoulos in Turkey and started life making fiddles and lutes.  The company moved to the United States in 1903 where the business expanded their range of instruments and made a name for itself.  Eventually in 1957 after a series of strikes the company was bought out by its main rival, Gibson Guitars.

We have a total of nine left handed electric guitars to pick from, most of which are differing variations of the Les Paul.  Let’s take a look…

Les Paul 100 (LP100) Left Handed Electric Guitar

Epiphone LP100 Left Handed Electric Guitar

If you want the classic Gibson Les Paul feel and sound, but find the Epiphone Les Paul Standard a little bit out of your reach,  this is the guitar for you! Two humbucker pickups, a rosewood fretboard with a bolt-on mahogany neck and great body give this model the powerful, sustaining tone character of the best Les Pauls. The painted models feature a body made of alder and the transparent finishes feature mahogany (because mahogany looks so incredible with a stain finish). This guitar is hot enough to let your leads sing and the rhythm pickup has the smooth, fat tone that Les Pauls are known for.

10 Steps to Become The Guitar Player You Dream of Being!

In order to realise your dreams you need to have the right mental attitude.  Here are my top 10 tips to help you take your guitar playing to where you want it to be.

  1. Set your goal and focus on it 100%

    First you need to figure out what you really want to achieve out of playing guitar. If you know what your dreams are then you can set goals and start working towards them.  For example say your greatest goal is to tour the world with your band, write that shit down and give yourself a deadline!

  2. Be ambitious and believe in yourself

    Confidence has always been an issue for me. I always knew I wanted to be a guitarist but was advised not to become one because it’s “too competitive”. In reality, there’s plenty of room for more guitar players, songwriters, luthiers, or whatever you dream of being. If you want something enough, and believe you can achieve it, then you’ll find a niche for yourself in that field.
    Top Tip – If a lack of confidence is holding you back, try picking a short mantra that sums up what you want to be or do. For example, top guitarist, successful songwriter, skilled luthier. Now make that your password so that every time you log onto your computer, or your favorite websites, you reinforce your goals.

BC Rich : Left Handed Guitar Models

Time for another look at some more juicy left handed guitars.  This week we’re checking out the rather beastly BC Rich’s 2010 range of leftys.

Unfortunately BC Rich are one of the few brands who don’t really provide much in terms of left handed guitar options so this should be a fairly short article.  Although the mockingbird is a great design and personally I think the Exotic model is gorgeous we can’t help but wish for a better selection.

Mockingbird Special Left Handed Guitar

BC Rich Mockingbird Special Left Handed Guitar

These neck through guitars are scaled to 24 ¾” with a chunkier neck for that “Special” feel. With a deeply arched top, solid ½” maple caps, 5 ply binding and cloud inlays the Special has a classic appearance. Other features include a strategically positioned three way toggle switch, two volume and two tone controls, stop tailpiece and a tune-o-matic style bridge. and vintage specified Rockfield humbucker pickups. The Onyx features chrome pickup covers, complete white binding and chrome hardware.

Fender : Left Handed Electric Guitars 2010

Fender was founded in 1946 in California, USA by Leo Fender and is considered by many to be the biggest guitar company in the world.  So it’s only right that we take a look at what these giants of the guitar universe offer up to the left handed guitar players of the world…

Fender have a really nice selection of guitars available left handed and manage to cover all of the differing price ranges.  For obvious reasons only the basic models come with a large choice of finishes and fretboards, but luckily the higher-end models do come in finishes other than black so it’s all good!  Another excellent point to note about Fender is that they do not charge extra for their left handed guitar offerings which is encouraging to see.

The guitars are arranged by price, starting at the most expensive and working our way down to the budget models.

Fender American Vintage ’57 Stratocaster Reissue Left Handed Guitar

The Fender American Vintage 57 Stratocaster Electric Guitar is recreated in such awesome detail that even the most die-hard fanatic will love its sound, look and feel. Nitro-laquer vintage finish, hand detailed neck, resonant ash or alder body and aged alnico pickups are only the beginning of how much value and vibe you’ll get when you own one of these incredible guitars.

The American Vintage ’57 Stratocaster re-creates one of Fender’s most famous designs. All original specs are detailed including neck and headstock shapes, body radii and contours, 12th fret dot positioning, and hand beveled pickup magnets.

Fender American Vintage '57 Stratocaster Reissue Left Handed Electric Guitar

  • One-piece maple neck
  • Vintage style hardware
  • Original detailing
  • Vintage pickups
  • Hardshell case

Finishes : 2-Color Sunburst