Guitar players usually strum or pluck the strings with their dominant hand and form the chords with their weaker hand. This can present a problem for left-handed players as the majority of guitars are built for the neck to be held in the left hand and the strings strummed with the right. However, some guitar manufacturers have begun to produce some models for both right- and left-handed players. Left-handed guitars are built as mirror images of their right-handed counterparts and so can be played in the same way. One such producer is Fender, a well-respected and popular manufacturer of musical instruments, which is most commonly associated with guitars.
Guitar Playing Options for Left-Handed People
It has been widely discussed whether left-handed people should play guitar by strumming with the left hand and fretting with the right, or learn to play right-handed. A left-handed guitar may not be essential: players should try holding a guitar and finding which way feels most natural. If it is most comfortable to hold a guitar in a left-handed orientation, there are three different options. Learning to play using a right-handed guitar held the opposite way has the advantage that players can then use most guitars, however it can be much more difficult to learn. Re-stringing a right-handed guitar as a left-handed one can make fretting more easy, but also leads to difficulties with the positioning of the bridge. Using a left-handed guitar will make playing more easy, but players will need to take care when using finger charts.
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has been active since 1938 and began producing musical instruments in the 1940s. During the 1950s, Fender began mass-producing electric guitars, including their best-known models: the Telecaster and Stratocaster. More recently, Fender have begun producing acoustic guitar to complement their range. A number of the most popular models are produced with left-handed dexterity; not all models are offered for both right- and left-handed players due to the expenses associated with additional production runs.
Selecting a Fender Left-Handed Guitar
When selecting a Fender guitar for a left-handed player, it is essential to consider the player's needs, and what type of music it will be used for. It is helpful to try different models of guitars wherever possible to ensure that the the model that best suits the playing style is chosen.
Different Models of Fender Left-Handed Electric Guitars
Fender currently produce a number of models of left-handed guitar, under three of their most popular brands: Telecaster, Stratocaster and Mustang. Each of these has their own distinctive features in both play style and appearance.
Fender Telecaster guitars have been in continuous production since 1950. Due to various design features, the Telecaster's sound can be varied from bright and rich to warm and mellow, allowing for great versatility, and most commonly associated with country and blues music. The Telecaster is distinguished by its single cutaway shape, large-sized pickguard and signature headstock, has an adjustable neck and dual single-coil pickups. Using a left-handed Telecaster rather than playing a right-haded one in the opposite orientation means that the large pickguard will be in the correct place, and avoiding damage to the body. Fender produce a number of left-handed Telecaster guitars. Some examples are discussed below:
American Standard Telecaster Left-Handed
The American Standard Telecaster left-handed guitar is available in four different colour options: black, blue, red or three-colour sunburst. It features an alder body and 22-fret maple neck, with maple fingerboard and black dot inlays. It has a dual pickup with a three-way switch and master volume and tone controls.
American Vintage Telecasters
The American Vintage range seeks to return to the tone and style of some of Fender's finest releases. The '52 Telecaster is available in Butterscotch Blonde, with black pickguard, giving it an authentic appearance, and the '64 model is brown with white pickguard. Both have a single-coil dual pickup, three position switch, and three saddle bridge.
Classic Vibe Telecaster 50s Left-Handed
The Classic Vibe 50s model is a stark, back-to-basics model, in Butterscotch Blonde with black pickguard. It has a pine body and 21-fret maple neck, with medium jumbo fret size.
Affinity Series Telecaster Left-Handed
The Affinity Series Telecaster Left-Handed guitar is a simple model, in Butterscotch Blonde, with a light coloured maple neck, single-coil dual pickup and six saddle top-load bridge.
Although originally intended for country music, the Stratocaster is more commonly associated with rock, pop, and rhythm and blues music, and it is the electric guitar of choice for numerous professional musicians. The Stratocaster is notable for its contoured body with a two-horned asymmetric shape, and comfortable neck. This asymmetric shape means that selecting a specifically designed left-handed Stratocaster is preferable to using a right-handed one, to allow the cutaway to be in the most comfortable place. There are a number of Stratocaster models designed for left-handed players, for example:
American Standard Stratocaster Left-Handed
This model is available in a selection of colour combinations, and has an alder body with a 22-fret maple neck and maple or rosewood fingerboard. It has a single-coil triple pickup with a five-way switch and two-point synchronised tremolo bridge.
American Deluxe Stratocaster Left-Handed
The deluxe model has the same combination of wood as the American Standard, but is available only in three-colour sunburst with mint green pickguard. This is offset by the abundance of additional controls. The noiseless triple pickup and five-position switch are accompanied by S-1, volume and tone controls and a deluxe two-point synchronised tremolo bridge with pop-in arm. The left-handed model allows for easy access to all controls.
Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s Left-Handed
The Classic Vibe range is intended to encompass all the best design features from a particular decade. The 50s Stratocaster has an alder body in two-colour sunburst, and a one-piece 21-fret maple neck, with black dot inlays, while the 60s model is three-colour sunburst. It has a single-coil triple pickup with 5-position switching and volume and tone controls. The bridge is a six-saddle synchronised tremolo.
American Vintage '56 Stratocaster Left-Handed
The '56 Stratocaster has the usual alder body, in two-colour sunburst with white pickguard, with a maple, one-piece, thick V-shaped, 21-fret neck. The five-position switch and single-coil triple pickup is complemented by a six-saddle synchronised tremolo.
American Vintage '65 Stratocaster Left-Handed
Feature-wise, the '65 Stratocaster is very similar to the '56 model, with the same pickup and saddle specifications. However, as with the original 1965 model, this American Vintage model has a thick C-shaped neck with round-laminated rosewood fingerboard. The '65 model is available in three-colour sunburst with a white bevelled pickguard.
Fender produce only one guitar from the Mustang series in left-handed dexterity: the Kurt Cobain Mustang Left-Hand. Kurt Cobain was a famous left-handed player, and this is the only left-handed Fender guitar bearing a musician's name currently. This has an asymmetric shape, but less defined than the Stratocaster. It is available in a selection of body and pickguard colour combinations. The Kurt Cobain Mustang has a 22-fret neck, with single-coil pickup at the neck and humbucker pickup at the bridge, with a phase slider switch. The orientation of the guitar allows for easy access to the slider switch.
Different Models of Fender Left-Handed Acoustic Guitars
Whilst Fender are better-known for their electric guitars, they produce a number of acoustic guitars. Of these, a small selection are available for left-handed players. Due to the large body size, it is recommended to use acoustic guitars of the correct orientation for comfort.
Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic Left-Handed
The Tim Armstrong acoustic guitars have mahogany bodies and 20-fret maple necks with rosewood fingerboards. They feature a built-in chromatic tuner and rosewood bridge. The design includes pearl acrylic Hellcat logos on the third, fifth, and seventh frets, and two skulls decorating the twelfth. The Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic Left-Handed is available in both six and twelve string models.
The CD-100 series has two models: the CD-100 and CD-100CE. These are spruce and mahogany, with a Nato neck and rosewood fingerboard. The CD-100CE has a cutaway design and built-in pre-amp and tuner, whereas the CD-100 is a much more simple acoustic model.
Finding a Fender Left-Handed Electric Guitar on eBay
From the eBay homepage, open the sidebar at Sports & Leisure, and select Musical Instruments, then select Guitars. From the sidebar, click on Electric, then select Fender from the sidebar. From here, open the menu option Dexerity on the sidebar and tick the box marked Left-Handed. Alternatively, enter the appropriate search terms (for example "Fender Left-Handed Guitar") in the search box on any eBay page and press enter.
Selecting a suitable guitar for a left-handed player can be difficult. There are a number of models available from Fender, for both electric and acoustic players. Research the available models thoroughly to ensure that the most suitable guitar is chosen.