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What Makes a Guitar Left-Handed?

What has to be changed from the “standard” right-handed guitar to make it suitable for left-handed use?

Obviously the strings are the “other” way around and, to maintain symmetry of action when tuning, the machine heads are reversed. Then one or more of the following –

  • The saddle is reversed to maintain the required slope from bass to treble
  • The nut is reversed so that its slots properly accommodate the wider bass strings and the narrower treble strings – you want the underside of all the strings to be in one plane, even though they are of differing diameters.
  • The saddle slot angle in the bridge is reversed (this is related to intonation control)
angled-saddle-slots-in-bridge
angled-saddle-slots-in-bridge
  • Where the bridge is not fitted at right angles to the central axis of the guitar body it too has to be reversed (again intonation control)
  • On certain models there is a reversed soundboard bracing – usually when it is asymmetrical – in order to maintain the desired bass/treble balance.
left-and-right-handed-asymmetrical-soundboard-bracing
left-and-right-handed-asymmetrical-soundboard-bracing