Can you name five famous left handed guitarists? I’ll bet that you probably can – but I’ll also wager that after five or so you would start to struggle!
To help out, here’s a list of some of the greatest left handed guitar players both past and present.
There are plenty of famous musicians in this list that everyone should be aware of, but I’ve also included a few newer, perhaps lesser-known artists who you might also like to check out.
Although we are the minority in the guitar world, we sure do have some highly influential players within our ranks. Make no mistake, many of these southpaw players are considered some of the greatest musicians of all time!
Famous Left Handed Guitarists
You won’t find any right handed guitar players here, although you might discover a few right handed musicians who for one reason or another ended up playing a lefty axe!
1. Jimi Hendrix
Never mind famous left handed guitarists, Jimi Hendrix is arguably the most celebrated and influential guitarist of all time! Having his name amongst our ranks almost single-handedly makes it cool to be a southpaw.
He was best known for wielding Fender Stratocasters. Instead of playing a left handed Fender guitar, he would restring a right handed guitar upside down.
2. Tony Iommi
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi is widely regarded as being the pioneer of heavy metal and is undeniably one of the biggest names in rock guitar. Tony lost two of his fret-hand fingertips in a workplace accident but carried on as a left handed guitarist thanks to his prosthetic replacements!
He is best known for playing left handed Gibson SGs, and has released several signature Gibson and Epiphone guitars.
3. Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain founded Nirvana, the band that defined the grunge movement in the 90s. Nirvana became one of the biggest names in music and to date has sold over 75 million albums worldwide.
Two of his guitars hold the number one and number two positions in the list of the most expensive guitars ever sold at auction. A true testament to the importance of this man to music history!
Cobain was generally best known for playing Fender Mustangs and Jaguars. Fender has released several signature Cobain Jaguars, Mustangs, and Jag-Stangs, all of which are available left handed.
4. Paul McCartney
Two words – ‘the Beatles’. Enough said? As a member of the Beatles and also as a very successful solo artist, Paul McCartney has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.
After his almost endless contributions to the world of music, he was awarded a Knighthood in 1997.
Paul is probably most widely known for playing his Hofner 500/1 violin bass which you can see in the video below.
5. Elliot Easton
Elliot Easton was the lead guitarist in the American rock band The Cars. He is probably best known for his Pelham Blue Gibson SG model, but he also released a signature Gibson Tikibird Firebird guitar.
Aside from his signature Gibsons, he also owns one of the most impressive lefty guitar collections you are ever likely to see!
6. Zacky Vengeance
Zacky Vengeance is the rhythm guitarist in the American heavy metal group Avenged Sevenfold, who to date have sold over 8 million records worldwide.
He is endorsed by Schecter and has had several signature models over the years, all of which have been available as a southpaw version. You can check out the current range of left handed Schecter guitars here.
7. Albert King
One of many other iconic left handed guitarists to be inducted to the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Albert King is one of the most influential names in Blues.
King is mostly recognized for playing Gibson Flying V guitars. Interestingly, he used a minor tuning of C# G# B E G# C#, but he never used the sixth string on his guitars!
8. Eric Gales
Eric Gales is an American blues-rock guitar player. Aside from releasing several of his own successful solo albums, he is also a highly sought-after session musician.
He is a little different from most lefty guitar players in that he plays a right handed guitar upside down, without reversing the strings! Eric has a range of signature Magneto guitars, one of which you can see him rocking below!
9. Dick Dale
After pioneering the style of music known as surf guitar, Dick Dale was crowned the King of the genre. Dale also worked closely with Fender’s amplifier division and helped to push the boundaries of amp design, resulting in the production of the world’s first-ever 100-watt model.
He was most associated with playing Fender Stratocasters and even had his own signature model. Dick sadly passed away in March 2019 at the age of 81.
10. Otis Rush
Otis Rush is perhaps the most intense, and soulful bluesman of his era. Unlike most southpaw players, Otis plays guitar with the string order reversed, i.e. he has the low E on the bottom. As a result, you will most likely spot him in videos playing right handed guitars upside down.
He is arguably best known for playing Gibson ES 335 guitars. And what a voice!
11. Tim Armstrong
Tim Armstrong is most widely known as the guitarist and vocalist for Rancid, one of the most successful punk bands of all time.
He has his own signature left handed Gretsch guitars as well as a signature Fender acoustic dubbed The Hellcat.
12. Mikey Demus
Mikey Demus is the guitar player in the Welsh band Skindred, who are widely acknowledged as being one of the best live acts in the world. He is also the co-owner of the Redbeard Effects pedal company.
Mikey currently has his own signature guitar with Manson Guitars, as well as a signature string set from Rotosound.
13. Malina Moye
Malina Moye is an American left handed guitarist known for her fusion of a variety of different genres including rock, blues, funk, and soul. She plays left handed but strings her guitars upside down.
She is endorsed by Fender and is best known for rocking her custom seafoam green Stratocaster. In addition, Malina has her own set of Dean Markley signature strings!
14. Al Mckay
Al Mckay is best known for being the guitarist in the American funk band Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as for being a successful session musician in his own right.
He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has also won an incredible five Grammy awards throughout his impressive career.
15. Paul Gray
Also known as ‘the Pig’ or ‘#2’, Paul Gray was the left handed bassist for metal behemoths Slipknot. Paul was known for playing Ibanez guitars, with whom he had several signature bass models.
Unfortunately, Paul sadly died of a drug overdose in 2010. Check him out live in my favorite Slipknot track ‘Duality’ below.
16. Omar Rodriguez Lopez
Omar Rodriguez Lopez is best known as being the guitar player in the energetic American rock band The Mars Volta. He currently has his own signature guitar with Music Man – the Mariposa.
Before switching to Music Man, Omar had his own short-scale Ibanez signature model which was available as standard in a lefty version!
17. Barbara Lynn
Barbara Lynn, aka the ‘Empress of Gulf Coast Soul’ is an R&B guitarist from Texas, USA.
She is probably best known for her 1962 number-one single “You’ll Lose a Good Thing“, and at the time of writing she has released 8 studio albums.
18. Cesar Rosas
Cesar Rosas is the guitarist and vocalist in the multi-Grammy award-winning band Los Lobos, with whom he has been performing since 1973. He is an easily recognizable character due to his trademark black sunglasses and slicked-back black hair.
He currently plays Alhambra guitars.
19. Cameron Liddell
Cameron Liddell is the rhythm guitarist in the English metalcore band Asking Alexandria.
He was previously endorsed by Ibanez Guitars and even had his own signature model for a couple of years. Most recently, he has been known to rock Music Man Guitars.
20. Paulo Morete
Paulo is the lead guitarist in Spanish hard-rock bands InMune and Absenci, and the only person on this list that I know personally!
He is currently endorsed by PRS Guitars and DV Mark Amps amongst others. Paulo recently released his debut solo track which you can hear below.
21. Mdou Moctar
Mdou Moctar is a Nigerien musician who plays rock music influenced by the desert blues. He is frequently referred to as the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara’.
Mdou is known for playing Fender Stratocasters, but his first instrument was actually a DIY guitar fashioned from a slab of wood and a bicycle cable!
22. Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II is a blues and left handed rock guitarist and producer from Texas, USA. He is arguably best known for his guitar work with both Eric Clapton and Roger Waters.
Doyle plays left handed guitars but strings them upside down resulting in a unique playstyle.
23. Courtney Barnett
Australian-born artist Courtney Barnett is recognizable for her deadpan style of singing, as well as her verbose and clever lyrics.
She is mainly known for performing with a range of lefty Fender guitars and prefers to play with her fingers over a pick.
24. Toronzo Cannon
Toronzo Cannon is a Chicago, USA-born blues guitarist and singer. Aside from having a badass name, he has released five albums and regularly headlines the Chicago Blues Festival.
He is known for playing a range of left handed guitars including Strats and Les Pauls, but his most recognizable axe has to be his custom GTR guitar that features a Chicago flag finish!
25. Elizabeth Cotten
Born in 1893 in North Carolina, USA, Elizabeth Cotten was a self-taught blues and folk musician. Unlike most of the artists on this list, she did not find fame until later on in her life after retiring from playing guitar for 25 years.
She played right handed guitars held upside down, and as a result, had a unique playstyle where she would play the melody with her thumb and the bassline with her other fingers which came to become known as ‘Cotten picking’.
26. Michael Angelo Batio
Shred guitarist Michael Angelo Batio is a right-handed player. However, he does play his double and quad-neck guitars left handed, so we can include him here, right?
MAB is best known for being the guitarist in the 80s glam-metal band Nitro, his numerous shred guitar instructional DVDs, plus his insane multi-neck guitars!
27. Coco Montoya
Best known for playing with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Coco Montoya is an American blues guitar player and vocalist.
He is another self-taught guitarist who favors playing guitars strung upside down and is mainly seen wielding Fender Stratocasters.
MORE Famous Left Handed Guitar Players
Here are a few more well-known lefties that you might be familiar with. I have split them into two separate lists – those that play with the normal string order, and those that prefer to string upside down.
Lefty Guitar Players With Normal Tuning
- Ali Campbell (UB40)
- Anton Cosmo (Boston)
- Atahualpa Yupanqui
- Ben Howard
- Blake Schwarzenbach (Jawbreaker)
- Dave King (Flogging Molly)
- David Cook
- Ernie C (Body Count)
- Gregor Mackintosh (Paradise Lost)
- Ian Fowles (Aquabats)
- Iggy Pop
- Jo Callis (The Human League)
- John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)
- Josey Scott (Saliva)
- Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe)
- Luke Morley (Thunder)
- Perry Bamonte (The Cure)
- Robin Campbell (UB40)
- Slim Whitman
- Ted Sablay (The Killers)
- Andrew White (Kaiser Chiefs)
- Michael Zakarin (The Bravery)
Left-Handed Guitar Players Who Play Upside Down
- Buddy Miles
- Chase Bryant
- Glen Burtnik (Styx)
- Eddy Clearwater
- Jimmy Cliff
- Ed Deane
- Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats)
- Jimi Goodwin (Doves)
- Ed Harcourt
- Little Jimmy King
- Paul Raymond (UFO)
- Nicolas Reyes (Gipsy Kings)
- Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
- Kris Row (The Ataris)
- Doctor Isaiah Ross
- Graham Russell (Air Supply)
- Bobby Womack
Dishonorable Mentions – both Billy Ray Cyrus and Justin Bieber are also famous left handed guitar players. But we’ll just keep that between us, right?
Obviously, there are tons more guitarists that I haven’t mentioned – please send me an email if you think there is a glaring omission here! You’ll find a link to the contact form in the footer below.
Uncommon Sound by John Engel is the definitive guide to the famous left handed guitarists who have shaped the world of music. It is the ultimate coffee table book for southpaw players, and you can read my review here.
I have also put together a further list of 41 left handed bassists that changed the face of music. Make sure to check that article out as well!
Who is the MOST Famous Left Handed Guitarist?
Jimi Hendrix is arguably the most famous left handed guitarist on this huge list. Although his career spanned just 4 years before his untimely death at the age of 27, he is recognized as being one of the most iconic and influential guitarists of all time.
Famous Left Handed PEOPLE
Also check out my huge list of 100+ Famous Left Handed People for additional left handed musicians, artists, movie-stars, entrepreneurs, and more!
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