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#1
I'm a lefty (God hates me) and the guitar I want isn't made left handed. I've decided just to buy it anyways and restring it, however I have a few questions.

1) Will I need to mess with the pickups at all if I do this?

2) Will I need to move the "string tree" that's located on the headstock?

3) I already know I need to adjust the nut, but will I need a new one made or can I just simply turn it around?

4) I'm planning on moving the endpin over so I can use a guitar strap. Will this leave a noticeable hole? 

5) Would a local guitar shop do all of this for me? I would rather do it professionally then risk messing up my guitar. 


Thanks so much!
#2
1) It depends on the pickup. The tilt and/or individual pole pieces might need adjusting for optimum tone.
2) No
3) It depends on the nut. A Gibson-style would need to be replaced, it might be possible to turn a Fender-style nut around.
4) Yes, but how noticeable will depend on where it is located.
5) Yes, provided they are competent at minor repairs and mods.
#3
Quote by Tony Done
1) It depends on the pickup. The tilt and/or individual pole pieces might need adjusting for optimum tone.
Yeah, but I'm fairly sure the JM doesn't have individual polepiece adjustment.
Quote by voobo420
4) I'm planning on moving the endpin over so I can use a guitar strap. Will this leave a noticeable hole? 
It'll be a screw hole a few milimetres wide. You'll definitely be able to see it, though any audience likely won't. You can, of course, cover it up.
Quote by Tony Done
5) Yes, provided they are competent at minor repairs and mods.
Specifically, if you're in the US, Guitar Center has a reputation for seemingly having "techs" found at the local bus stop and trained just far enough to be able to tell one end of a screwdriver from another. That's not to say there aren't other incompetent professionals around but a good start is don't go to a Guitar Center unless you know for sure that the tech there is actually experienced and competent (which I'm not sure is ever the case, but for all I know there could be exceptions).
#5
I'm really disappointed that Fender don't make more left-handed guitars.
Considering they make money selling signature guitars using the names of dead left-handed artists like Hendrix and Cobain.
#6
Quote by Tony Done
The link redirects to the Fender Australia home page for me. I could have looked at the http address though, which says "Jazzmaster".
Yeah, I had the same problem and the same solution - unfortunately Fender's recent website redesign seems to be aimed at keeping the company's regional lineups secret across borders

For what it's worth, sometimes it's also possible to find decent guitar techs who aren't tied to a store by google searching. That's not necessarily better or worse but it can broaden your options, especially if there aren't many stores about.
#7
K33nbl4d3 Yeah, I've heard about Guitar Center, but it's the closest guitar store to me. If guitar center is really as bad as people say it is I'll just drive the extra hour to a local guitar shop. It's definitely worth the trip. 
#9
Quote by luke.g.henderso
I'm really disappointed that Fender don't make more left-handed guitars.
Considering they make money selling signature guitars using the names of dead left-handed artists like Hendrix and Cobain.

Jimi used a rightie guitar though. there aren't tons of leftie guitar players and many (myself included) end up playing rightie as it is just plain easier.  from a business standpoint lefties are lucky that anyone makes left handed guitars. back when i started they were super rare hard t find. these dasy at least you can find them. 
#10
voobo420

Just out of curiosity, have you considered similar guitars from other builders that ARE available as lefties? For example:
https://www.reverendguitars.com/guitars/jetstream-390-lefty

Yes, I know they're not identical, but...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#11
monwobobbo 

I'm interested in this question of handedness. AFAIK, stringed instruments all over the world have the same handedness the common western ones, yet (some?) lefties seem to have no difficulty adapting to rh playing. In fact, I've read that lefties are over-represented orchestral violin, which is always right-handed. The ease of adaptbility might be related to how strong-handed (It goes from strong left or right to ambidextrous) you are.
#12
monwobobbo
Yeah, I guess at the end of the day it comes down to economies of scale, and particularly for hardware. CNC machines mean the body and neck are probably a non-issue nowadays, but the metal stuff can't be quite so easily flipped. No doubt the improvement for lefthanded players in recent years has a lot to do with the overall cost (and amount of labour) involved in making guitars coming down.

Definitely one of the more baffling stories I've heard was of Buck-Tick's Hisashi Imai, a righty who decided to start playing lefty back in the early '80s because he just liked it better.

Tony Done
I suppose part of it is that although they differ, string instruments do place substantial burdens on the coordination and strength of both hands, so you're always going to be asking something significant of your weaker hand.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Apr 17, 2017,
#13
Tony Done 

well i can't speak for all left handed people but i think that you'll find that most of us are at least semi ambidextrous. society kind of forces that as everything is designed for right handed people. righties tend to have a tough time using the left hand for anything past the most basic stuff. guitar was designed originally with complex finger picking in mind so you need the right hand for that. modern guitar is more about the fingering hand. honestly i'm suprised  that more right handers don't go with a leftie guitar. 
#14
There was a study I read some years ago that suggested we've been playing stringed instruments improperly since forever. Essentially, the researchers suggested that we should teach people to use their dominant hand for all that chording and fingering.

Which might explain Hisashi Imai.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#15
K33nbl4d3 

at this point it's not the manufacturing that is the issue. i think it just comes down to basic numbers in terms of sales. roughly 10% of people are left handed. not a ibg number per se. now out of that 10% how many play guitar? a fairly small number so Guitar companies are looking at the customer base and the money isn't to be made in leftie. 
#16
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Which might explain Hisashi Imai.
I'm not sure anything can explain Hisashi Imai.

But I see what you're getting at

Quote by monwobobbo
at this point it's not the manufacturing that is the issue. i think it just comes down to basic numbers in terms of sales. roughly 10% of people are left handed. not a ibg number per se. now out of that 10% how many play guitar? a fairly small number so Guitar companies are looking at the customer base and the money isn't to be made in leftie. 
I guess, but I would assume that if a lefty guitar could be produced just as cheaply as a righty guitar in whatever quantities the demand allowed for, it would make just as much money - especially given the premium that often seems to get tagged onto the street price - and therefore companies would be happy to produce them.
#17
K33nbl4d3

The trick is that you either have to dedicate a certain amount of time changing the settings on your production to lefties- which costs you money- or buying machines to make lefty parts exclusively. Which costs you money.

Either way, you're not getting the same economies of scale, which means your unit cost will be higher for a lefty guitar than for a righty. Your options than are deciding whether to eat the higher cost and price your lefty stuff like your righty stuff, or to keep your profit margin the same by charging more for lefty gear.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#18
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'm not sure anything can explain Hisashi Imai.

But I see what you're getting at

I guess, but I would assume that if a lefty guitar could be produced just as cheaply as a righty guitar in whatever quantities the demand allowed for, it would make just as much money - especially given the premium that often seems to get tagged onto the street price - and therefore companies would be happy to produce them.

that only works if sales justify it.  manufacturing is all about numbers and higher numbers produced means cheaper to make. although the process is the same there would be down time to convert which companies hate (worked in corporate manufacturing for many years) . this is why most makers only offer a couple of models as lefties. likely they only run leftie guitars once a year if that. 
#19
Quote by monwobobbo
that only works if sales justify it.  manufacturing is all about numbers and higher numbers produced means cheaper to make. although the process is the same there would be down time to convert which companies hate (worked in corporate manufacturing for many years) . this is why most makers only offer a couple of models as lefties. likely they only run leftie guitars once a year if that. 
Yeah, I mean I might have expressed it poorly but essentially that's what I was trying to get at. And the lefty models, therefore, are of course the popular ones that will sell well even among the portion of the lefthanded 10% that plays guitar lefthanded.
#20
Just throwing this out on the table for consideration. I have no axe to grind. But if faced with having some serious reworking necessary to get a solid body guitar with soap bar type single coil pickups, and the fact that there are literally hundreds of other guitars out there that wouldn't require any modification at all, have you considered looking for something other than a Fender Jazzmaster? 

For example, Gibson makes a version of the SG that is similar in specs to a Jazzmaster. The body is a solid plank of wood. The pickups are single-coil soap bars (P-90s). And, it's available in a left-hand version. It is not identical to the Jazzmaster. But it's similar. The sound wouldn't be identical, but with careful use of the controls on the guitar and the amp, you should be able to come close enough for rock and roll. 

I DO NOT RECOMMEND BUYING THE GIBSON INSTEAD OF THE FENDER, OR VICE-VERSA. I'm just asking if you considered that path to getting a guitar that suits your needs. 
#21
monwobobbo 

Good point about picking. The last time I read up on this, a while back, it was opined that evolution has created a division of labour, such that the weak hand grasps and the strong hand manipulates, a sort of "you hold it, I'll hit it" approach. Maybe our brain does thinks that picking is more difficult than fretting.
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 17, 2017,
#22
gerdner
Your point is fair but in the name of mythbusting can we please be clear that JM pickups are not similar to P-90s except in appearance. P-90s have a pair of bar magnets, the JM is basically a Strat singlecoil after being stepped on by something heavy.
#23
Tony Done  well i'm talking about stuff like classical and say flamenco which are far more about the fingerpicking than the chord shapes.  i play very little fingerstyle because it is way harder.  the styles i mentioned are far older than much of what we play today.  for stuff like that it made more sense to use the right for the fingerpicking and the left to finger chords which were often moveable (like barre chords) 
#24
dannyalcatraz Most of the lefty guitars similar to the Jazzmaster I want just don't... feel right, if that makes sense. I'm considering just throwing all of the things I've learned away and just converting to right handed at this point. It would be a lot of work but I'm sure 10 years from now It'll be worth it.
#25
Quote by K33nbl4d3
gerdner
Your point is fair but in the name of mythbusting can we please be clear that JM pickups are not similar to P-90s except in appearance. P-90s have a pair of bar magnets, the JM is basically a Strat singlecoil after being stepped on by something heavy.

I'm going by what my ears tell me when I hear a band that includes someone playing a Jazzmaster compared to a band that includes someone playing a guitar with P-90s. The differences in sound are impossible for me to discern if they come from the pickups, the settings, the amp, the interaction of sound from all the other instruments, and the fingers of the guitarist. I can tell that they sound different. I just can't isolate the reason(s) why. 
#26
monwobobbo 

I'm strictly a fingerpicker, and I've had much the same idea as you about it's relative difficulty in realtion to handedness for some time. However, given the universal handedness of stringed instruments, even those exotic ones where some kind of plectrum is always used, I wonder if our brain thinks that even that kind of thing is more difficult than fretting. Having unsuccessfully tried flatpicking, I don't think it is any easier than fingerpicking.
#27
Quote by voobo420
dannyalcatraz Most of the lefty guitars similar to the Jazzmaster I want just don't... feel right, if that makes sense. I'm considering just throwing all of the things I've learned away and just converting to right handed at this point. It would be a lot of work but I'm sure 10 years from now It'll be worth it.


Makes sense to me- feel matters. Arguably, given all the aftermarket parts out there that facilitate modding, feel is arguably the most important factor in buying an axe.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#28
Quote by voobo420
dannyalcatraz Most of the lefty guitars similar to the Jazzmaster I want just don't... feel right, if that makes sense. I'm considering just throwing all of the things I've learned away and just converting to right handed at this point. It would be a lot of work but I'm sure 10 years from now It'll be worth it.

I've never faced that issue. However, I've seen a few left handed guitar players who play right handed guitars upside down. Chase Bryant is a country singer who plays rock guitar. I saw him live at my town's New Year's Eve party three years ago. This is a cell phone video, so the sound isn't the best, but you can get an idea of how he sounds. In interviews, he says he started playing right-handed guitars upside down, but when he started making money from his recordings and touring, he got left-hand models strung right handed. That's what he's playing in this video. 

This is purely a guess on my part, since I never tried it myself, but I assume that it would be easier to teach your current fretting hand, the right one, to deal with the strings being upside down than it would be to teach your picking hand to fret and your fretting hand to pick. Again, it's just something to consider. 

Last edited by gerdner at Apr 17, 2017,
#29
gerdner
Dick Dale famously did the same thing:


However, I think reversing the strings on a Jazzmaster is probably a far more practical operation than learning to play guitar with the strings switched round - flip (and intonate, of course) the bridge, flip the nut and you're basically there
#30
I've never faced that issue. However, I've seen a few left handed guitar players who play right handed guitars upside down. aRSG3O62J3A]This guy is a country singer who plays rock guitar. I saw him live at my town's New Year's Eve party three years ago. This is a cell phone video, so the sound isn't the best, but you can get an idea of how he sounds. In interviews, he says he started playing right-handed guitars upside down, but when he started making money from his recordings and touring, he got left-hand models strung right handed. That's what he's playing in this video. 

This is purely a guess on my part, since I never tried it myself, but I assume that it would be easier to teach your current fretting hand, the right one, to deal with the strings being upside down than it would be to teach your picking hand to fret and your fretting hand to pick. Again, it's just something to consider. 


i faced that and did go with playing rightie. getting your dominate hand to do what you want works pretty well. teaching my right hand to pick was never a real problem (outside of habit of starting by picking up instead of down) .  my picking is very precise. of course i was only a year in when i made the switch but i'm really glad i did. by the way Gary Moore was also a leftie that went to rightie and it seemed to turn out well for him. 
#31
your dominant hand should be on the frets anyway.
lefty playing righty is the correct way to play guitar.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
#33
Each hemisphere of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. The hemisphere that controls precise and analytical thinking is also the side that controls the dominant hand. The hemisphere that controls creative and artistic thinking controls the non-dominant side. Therefore, we fret with the side controlled by the creative, artistic side of the brain, and we pick and strum with the analytical side that can keep time. 

Or so I've read in magazine articles and seen on TV documentary shows about such things. I never thought I'd need to cite bibliographic footnotes, so I didn't take notes when I read and watched the sources of that information. So don't anyone ask me for them, because if you do, you will be disappointed. 
#34
Quote by Tony Done
Global convention shows the opposite. Are they all wrong?
It's possible if fretted/fingered string instruments have a common origin. At least in Europe, it seems that lutes (whence guitars, of course, originate) evolved from instruments that were not fretted, so the only really significant job was plucking/strumming the strings, so it made sense to make that the job of the dominant hand.

Quote by gerdner
Each hemisphere of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. The hemisphere that controls precise and analytical thinking is also the side that controls the dominant hand. The hemisphere that controls creative and artistic thinking controls the non-dominant side. Therefore, we fret with the side controlled by the creative, artistic side of the brain, and we pick and strum with the analytical side that can keep time. 
As far as I'm aware, the basis of that (sides of the brain controlling the opposite side of the body and each hemisphere having slightly different roles in human function) is essentially true, but the conclusion - that we fret with the creative side and pick/strum with the analytical side - not so much. Everything that isn't muscle memory has to happen in the brain and, like most things, playing an instrument requires both sides of the brain to work together and communicate (and, of course, both hands need to be synchronised), so even if they're essentially performing different roles there wouldn't be any real advantage of the immediate communication between the more creativity-focused hemisphere and the fretting hand. Besides, the physical roles aren't really divided like that, either; the creative and the analytical aspect of playing form a single task performed with the cooperation of both hands.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Apr 18, 2017,
#35
Quote by Tony Done
AcousticMirror 

Global convention shows the opposite. Are they all wrong?


far be it for us to live in a world where something everyone believes for a long time turns out to be wrong.
that's never ever happened before.
buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.
#36
There are a number of issues with flipping a guitar, including strap placement (and the question of whether putting the strap button on one bout will suddenly make the guitar neck heavy whereas on the other bout it was not) and placement for seated playing. 

The larger the manufacturer, and the wider the distribution of their guitars, the less likely that you'll be able to find a leftie (if they make them at all).  Smaller builders and semi-custom builders, such as Taylor, Carvin, Suhr, Tom Anderson, Trussart, etc., can produce lefties without an upcharge. As we move toward "maker" style guitars, there's no difference. 

But here are a couple of things to consider: if you learn to play most other instruments, you aren't given the choice of rightie or leftie. Horns, reeds, strings, percussion, keyboards are all built just one way. For some concert instruments, it seems that being a leftie may be a slight advantage. There really isn't a good reason to make a guitar "handed" at all. And there are certainly a number of guitar players who've done really well playing right-handed while signing their checks leftie. 

This is an issue (finding left-handed guitars) that's probably not going to go away any time soon. It may be worth considering converting. 

Come to the dork side. 
#37
Quote by Tony Done
AcousticMirror 

Global convention shows the opposite. Are they all wrong?


According to that article I read, quite possibly.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#38
Quote by K33nbl4d3
It's possible if fretted/fingered string instruments have a common origin. At least in Europe, it seems that lutes (whence guitars, of course, originate) evolved from instruments that were not fretted, so the only really significant job was plucking/strumming the strings, so it made sense to make that the job of the dominant hand.


That's plausible, harp-like instruments very likely came first, regardless of global location.
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 18, 2017,
#39
Why using your dominant hand as the picking hand may be more natural is because the hand movement of your picking hand is more complex. It's kind of like typing on a keyboard vs using a mouse. You can type just fine on both of your hands - it basically only requires finger movement, but using the mouse on your weaker hand feels pretty awkward. And I would compare what the fretting hand does to typing on the keyboard, and what the picking hand does to using the mouse.

If your fretting hand should be your dominant hand, then why did Tony Iommi find it really difficult to switch to righty after the accident and continued to play lefty? Why did Jimi Hendrix buy a right handed guitar and flip it over?

Sure, some people aren't as strongly left handed and they can learn to play right handed guitar just fine. But if it was beneficial to have your dominant hand as your fretting hand, then why do left handed guitars even exist? Shouldn't left handed people just naturally pick up a right handed guitar?
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#40
Quote by MaggaraMarine
If your fretting hand should be your dominant hand, then why did Tony Iommi find it really difficult to switch to righty after the accident and continued to play lefty?
Probably because relearning to play the guitar is really, really frustrating. It might be quicker than learning things the first time around, but at first it feels like starting from zero, and that's no fun for someone who's been playing for years.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
Why did Jimi Hendrix buy a right handed guitar and flip it over?
Neither picking nor fretting comes naturally on either hand, at first - he couldn't predict which was going to get him better, faster. Probably when he was first learning he saw right-handers playing one way and figured he should therefore play the other way. Maybe someone told him that. Neither of these questions have the kind of obvious logical answer you seem to be suggesting they do.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
Sure, some people aren't as strongly left handed and they can learn to play right handed guitar just fine. But if it was beneficial to have your dominant hand as your fretting hand, then why do left handed guitars even exist? Shouldn't left handed people just naturally pick up a right handed guitar?
Given the different rates at which people learn instruments and, again, that the necessary actions feel awkward whichever way when you start, it's entirely plausible that convention is the answer You can't really measure which way round is more manageable without big sample sizes, so it's not implausible that people just assumed that what had always been done was right. I mean, isn't that what you're doing now? There's certainly no foregone conclusion on whether the conventional or reversed configuration is better to learn on, but you seem to be drawing absolute conclusions based on an assumption that people in the past had a wealth of statistical evidence. It's practically irrelevant that two great guitarists learned guitar the conventional way - lots of others didn't and also did incredibly well for themselves and ultimately none of them had the information available to them at the time to make an objective judgement on which way round they should play guitar.

Quite simply, nobody picks up their first guitar and thinks "Wow, this feels the right/wrong way round!", much less looks at one and thinks that, so why would lefties naturally choose one over the other based purely on how efficient it will be for them to learn in the long run?
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Apr 18, 2017,
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