In addition to being a private violin teacher and having a degree in music from USC, Alecia started writing music-related articles and product reviews six years ago and has enjoyed this experience greatly. She likes to learn new instruments and write new compositions in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners can enjoy really good music.
Last updated: September 23, 2023
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Acoustic guitars are instruments which produce sound acoustically by transmitting the vibration of the string to the air using a hollowed body as a resonating chamber, and obviously it takes a lot of practice and hard work to get good at playing these instruments. This is especially true for left handed players who have a harder time finding the best guitar for their music. Left handed musicians which include names like Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix, who could have used a guide just like this for finding the best left-handed acoustic guitar.
Our review covers the best of these lefty guitars pulled straight from different popular collections; we’ve taken a hard look at their features including wood type, scale length, and overall sound so that you don’t have to. Some very important features include body type and how a design and shape can work to influence each musicians’ sound, and even features like the number of frets and overall price for the starving musicians on a budget.
In researching these guitars, we reached out to guitar designers and manufacturers, as well as many of the verified customers for these instruments. We asked what design aspects influenced certain sounds or which guitars had the capability to play certain songs where other instruments didn’t. Our findings are organized below in a comprehensive chart listing products’ detailed reviews, as well as a buying guide included at the end to provide insight into these wonderful instruments.
Starting at the top and working our way down we’re taking a look at this beautiful left-handed acoustic guitar perfect for blues, jazz, pop, and folk, with a traditional western body.
Its features give it a warm and punchy sound that lends itself to playing in the echoing streets, down in the subway, or without speakers in a small to medium sized concert hall. Made with an advanced scalloped bracing, the guitar features a main mahogany body (which explains the warmth of its sound) with a solid spruce blended top leading into a unique neck made from nato wood.
The fingerboard or fretboard, along with the bridge, are made from strong rosewood, and the fretboard features 20 frets and aluminum hardware. Overall weight of this Yamaha acoustic guitar measures in at 13 pounds, which is medium-heavy for an acoustic guitar, but at its length the musician is given the benefit of a 25.6 inche scale.
Additional features include an instructional CD for tuning your guitar and it even includes instructions for the musician just starting to learn the basics, a clip-on tuner, polishing cloth, hard case, extra strings, and a shoulder strap.
What are our favorite features?
Comes with tons of extras for its affordable price.
Warm and punchy sound for the left-handed pop, folk, blues, and jazz players.
1-year limited warranty.
What could be better?
Truss rod may need adjustment due to slight bow in some arrivals.
The tone has a tendency to go high and stay high; continual retuning may be required.
This of course is a short scale left handed guitar and features a scale length of 23.5 inches, although still with the standard 20 fret setup.
Its body type is ¾ dreadnaught, and even if you don’t think you’re the mini portable kind of musician, keep reading and you might change your mind. The body itself is made from layered sapele which wraps around the back and sides and gives the guitar a full voice which can match and even outmatch many full acoustics; the top is made from sitka and helps to retain tone and offer finer clarity to each note while playing. Neck wood is sapele and at the base down into the guitar’s hollow features x-bracing with relief roots for creating the optimal tone and responsiveness.
Overall, this is a modern-day parlor guitar because its so homey and portable (great for any space in your house), and it even includes a magnificent bridge and fretboard made from stylish west African ebony. When it comes down to price, this model is probably one of the best acoustic guitars under 500 dollars. Though it does not include the extras like a case and clip-on tuner, but its strings aren’t your average manufacturer throw-away’s, it does include a soft-shell case, and its tone woods are far superior to most other guitars.
What stands out?
Features excellent tone woods for a strong but controlled sound.
Fantastic 2-year limited warranty.
X-bracing with relief root.
What cons did we manage to find?
Smaller than your average lefty acoustic.
Some customers have received right handed models on mistake, so always double check with the manufacturer.
It’s clear from the get go that the grand concert body shape of this AC340 model left-handed acoustic, with its solid Mahogany top and brilliant shorter scale, were made to deliver a wide dynamic sound when strumming.
A quick and strong response when finger picking is also uniquely created thanks mainly to the light weight nature of the open pore finish which allows your tone wood to age naturally and expand/contract as it should while breathing. In fact, the mahogany top, back, and sides of the overall construction works to maintain that bright and balanced tonal character of the thermo aged wood.
Thermo aging, for those new to the term, means that this Ibanez guitar was air dried along the bridge and bridge plate in order to create a unique responsiveness that matches the bone nut and saddle which were chosen for the guitars ability to transfer vibration.
Further specifics, of course, include the weight of the guitar at a heavy 16 pounds – which may be one of the instruments only drawbacks – along with a 20 fret ovangkol fretboard with a scale length of 25 inches. Extras are limited to extra included strings, but based on the weight of this guitar you will want to buy a guitar case.
What stands out?
Delivers wide range of dynamic sound.
Bone nut and saddle.
Dark wood open pore finish.
What cons did we manage to find?
Does not come with a guitar case
Purchase does not include a clip-on tuner
This is one of the heavier left-handed guitars on the market.
With its dreadnaught shape and chrome hardware, this guitar offers a stylish look that will match its superior tonality along with the convenience of its extras that make it the must-have budget pick for beginners to medium skill acoustic players.
The all mahogany wood body is guaranteed to make for a bright sound, albeit a little harder to control, which will stay very in tune between practices and during concerts. Some of the only different wood types are found at the rosewood bridge and the ovangkol fingerboard; the bridge itself is pinless and lends itself to great sound especially from plucking. This guitar features a 25.5-inch scale length with 20 frets, and its extras include a clip-on electronic tuner, straps, extra strings, picks, and a hard case.
At a 14-pound weight this guitar is easy to carry and even easier to control, light on your shoulders traveling to and from venues, and doesn’t sacrifice anything important to provide that lightweight portable convenience. Additionally, this guitar also comes with a great 1-year warranty and an even better price.
Why are we impressed?
Budget pick for our list!
Extras include a case, picks, guitar string, and shoulder strap.
Total mahogany wood body.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Wood types don’t offer the best tonality and the sound will change dramatically with age.
The included polish may mute the sound over time if used too consistently.
For a beginner to medium level player this is an ideal guitar with its dreadnaught body shape and wood types that include a mahogany back and sides for added warmth and a punch of sound as well as a spruce top for added control over the variations of notes and their duration.
Other factors which play into the sustaining of notes and their pitch include a fantastic ebony neck which will assist in the best creation of darker and deeper notes, along with a rosewood fretboard and bridge for the essential plucking and strumming that is quick and strong. Other major features included with this guitar are its fantastic package deal extras that are a soft-shell gig bag with pocket, a guitar strap made from high quality webbing, a guitar capo, strings, a digital clip-on tuner, polishing cloth, and extra guitar picks.
Also, depending on how you like the sound of your new guitar, this setup comes with a 30-day money back guarantee with no questions asked. Guitar comes with the Fret position marks at 3th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 17th frets on neck and top of fingerboard.
Why are we impressed?
Guitar pack includes extra picks, case, cloth, all the essentials!
Great wood tonality!
Fantastic dreadnaught shape.
What negatives must you be aware of?
A very limited warranty, so make sure what you get is what you needed!
Some customers have complained that strings were missing from their tuners.
Things to Consider
The remainder of this buying guide is provided to give you advice on changing your music with an acoustic guitar among other things like advice on maintenance, proper finger placement, and specifications of the features which are listed with these instruments. These features are detailed below and we’ve even listed many of the top instruments which best exhibit certain feature attributes.
Left-hand acoustic guitar – what’s the trick?
Guitarists who use a left-handed instrument typically have less flexibility in changing or sharing instruments, this is because many artists fret with the right hand while strumming or picking with the left, and the entire action typically requires a different guitar. By example, right handed players use the body of the guitar and its strings in a conventional order without needed to move their hand around all that often. One way to imitate a left-handed guitar is to string and right-handed acoustic upside down… but obviously this isn’t very efficient for any musician. Neck types also differ between right-handed and left-handed guitars, as well as the string placement, body, and tuners which are located on the opposite side of the headstock.
Put simply, not many right-handed players can’t easily play a lefty’s guitar, and likewise in reverse.
Acoustic guitar body types explained
From what you’ll see on our list, the dreadnaught guitar shape is easily the most popular shape for an acoustic guitar. Take for instance the Yamaha FG820L, as you can see this guitar features a larger body. What this dreadnaught shape does is produce louder sound due to the deeper soundbox, and this sound will also sound more bassy and boomy. For smaller individuals however, the dreadnaught design has the drawback of being one of the heaviest acoustic body types.
Other types include Grand Concert Guitars (or GC’s) which have a smaller body style with one of the thinnest soundboxes for a quieter noise that has an improved major scale. The Grand Auditorium Guitar (GA) which is a little bit wider and deeper than the GC and includes a convex back panel to increase the space of volume the instrument can produce (also offers a more balanced tone overall). The jumbo guitar, which simply means its an even bigger dreadnaught and therefor best at projecting a loud and full bass that’s ideal for outside play and larger environments and concert halls.
Some even lesser known styles which aren’t necessarily distinguished by their body are acoustic guitars with classical nylon strings – typically these do have a wider neck and fatter fingerboard – that create an old school sound. Travel guitars and small guitars, like the Taylor GS Mini. And finally, cutaway guitars which can have a portion of the body ‘cut away’ to give room for more frets and increase the tone of the instrument.
The price tag of an acoustic guitar will rise and fall based on its hardware and wood types. Typically, mahogany body guitars with rosewood fretboard and soundbar are the most affordable, and therefore these also include a lot of great extras which you can use to greatly improve the way you play – consider the budget friendly Takamine GD10LHNS, which even includes a spruce wood top. Other guitars which are more expensive offer a wider range of unique sound, control, power, or all three based on the value of their hardware and the value of their wood type. For instance, one of the higher priced guitars on our list, is also one of the better left-handed guitars on the market, the Yamaha FG820L.
Features to consider while buying the best left-handed acoustic guitar
Many of the following features you’ll have seen listed in the product reviews above. In this section we further elaborate on these features and how they change the dynamics of an instrument.
Tonewood for your music
Spruce wood sets the standard wood use for tops because its high rigidity combined with lightweight feel make for a natural high velocity sound; it has direct tone capable of retaining clarity – meaning its ideal for sustained notes. Cedar, when used, creates a balanced warm sound and it’s a wood particularly favored by fingerstyle players for its quick and rich response.
Mahogany actually has one of the lowest response rates due to its considerable density, however its often mahogany guitars which offers than strong ‘punchy’ tone we associate with blue music. Likewise, Maple is very similar to mahogany, except as it ages it tends to be less predictable (sound-wise) and create unique tonal characteristics. Finally, Rosewood is known for its high response rate – this is why you so often see rosewood parts in addition to full mahogany bodies – rosewood offers a wide range of overtones and overall has one of the darkest tone sounds.
For acoustic guitars gold-colored bronze bass strings are possibly the best hardware for your sound (preferably with an 80/20 rating, meaning 80% copper and 20% bronze) because they offer a bright timbre and louder volume. Most of the strings that come with a guitar are lower quality, more likely to break, and not as punchy as you’d like.
However, the ideal string might also depend on the type of music you are trying to create If you like to play pop, rock, or country music, the best left-handed acoustic guitar for beginners like you should have a steel string. On the other hand, if you play a lot of classical music, a nylon stringed guitar is perfect for you. The difference between the two is the sound produced. For strings that come with the guitars listed, none are better than the hardware included in purchase of the Ibanez Artwood AC340.
As for the number of strings, you might opt for a more advanced, twelve-string guitar, which will allow you for fantastic musical experiments.
Neck & Scale
A guitar neck contains something called the ‘truss rod’, typically made of metal. It’s this rod that prevents your instrument from bowing and twisting against string tension and environmental factors. As you adjust a truss rod you correct any intonation issues; this can be done either at the headstock itself or just inside the guitar at the base of the neck. The fretboard runs along the top side of the neck (also called the fingerboard) and is usually a separate piece of wood glued into place and constructed most commonly from ebony or rosewood.
Thin strips of metal, called frets, are embedded in the wood along half-step increments across the 12-tone scale to show where different notes are played. Most guitar fretboards have inlaid dots or symbols on the odd-numbered frets, starting with the third – excluding the 11th and 13th in favor of the 12th, or the octave. Thus, the longer the scale, often the longer the fretboard. The shorter the neck, the shorter the scale; although this is not the case with the Taylor GS Mini.
Solid or laminated?
Put simply, laminated guitars don’t resound as well and therefore offer a thinner sound, that’s why you should always opt in favor of a full body solid guitar. All the instruments on our list fit this specification and therefore offer the full range of noise and motion as they should be capable of creating with their strings, wood tonality, and other features.
Put simply, the bridge is a piece of wood placed below the soundhole, it’s the thing which anchors the strings and transfers what you play on them through vibrations to the hollow body of the guitar. Bridge pins connect into the holes on the bridge to anchor the strings in place. Changing the wood type of the bridge will likewise change how vibrations are translated to the guitar, whether those vibrations have a slower reaction before becoming sound, whether they’re deeper, etcetera. One of the best wood types for translating vibrations the way they should be heard in quick succession and at the note of the fret you’re playing is rosewood. For this reason, the Yamaha FG820L and Takamine GD10LHNS can offer very similar controls and punchy notes, even if the music you play on them is very different.
The size of a guitar and the shape of its neck varies by manufacturer, so it makes sense to search for an instrument that you find easy to play. There are many types of guitars, from classical guitars that have been around for many years, to electric guitars used to play rock and jazz. Each type has its own unique way of expressing sound based on a variety of features, the foremost being the neck length/shape and the second being the wood type used throughout the guitar. At first when starting out with a left-handed guitar, a smaller size might be a better fit just because your fingers will get used to it easier; for this instance, the Taylor GS Mini might be the best option for a beginner.
Clip on tuners are a must because they make tuning more exact and faster while you’re on the go. Capotasto’s to fit over the head of your guitar when changing the sound – though make sure the one you purchase is sized for your specific instrument. And if your guitar doesn’t come with one, then definitely consider getting a protective hard case or a gig-bag for protecting and carrying your guitar everywhere you go.
Warranties will vary per manufacturer and distributor of each guitar, but based on the price of your instrument you typically want a 1-2-year warranty that covers the body of the guitar if not the body and hardware.
If you switch the direction of the saddle and string your guitar upside down, than yes, a right handed guitar can be used as a left handed guitar, however this will not fix the location of the neck and body which will greatly affect your reach and finger placement and also greatly limit the music you can play.
Like any skill, from riding a bike to writing with both hands, you can with great practice learn to play the guitar using either hand. There are many ambidextrous musicians out there, but they got as good as they are at using the right or left hands interchangeably because of constant practice.
Lastly, based on quality of materials, design, and even affordability, we always like to leave our readers with the top three nominations. These are easily the best left-handed acoustic guitars.
Yamaha FG820L. Due to the tonality of its superior wood body and neck types, this guitar is ideal for playing several different genre’s of music as well as projecting notes in large spaces like out on the street or in an expansive concert hall.
Taylor GS-Mini. This guitar is one of the easiest instruments to start out with if you’re just beginning to learn how to play left handed. It’s got a great manageable size and still offers 20 frets and superior craftsmanship with great materials.
Takamine GD10LHNS. With its extras and its very affordable price, this budget pick offers one of the greatest beginner to medium and even intermediate experiences while playing left handed.