Converting a righty acoustic to a lefty one?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by newuser1, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    My son is a lefty and he wants a small acoustic guitar and I'm having a hard time finding a decent/good lefty one second hand. Of course there are plenty of choices for right handed players, so I was wondering how complicated is to convert a righty one into a lefty?

    I can change the nut to a lefty one no problem, but I'm not sure what to do about the bridge as it slanted and just flipping the string around will cause intonation issues. Any advice is highly appreciated?
     
  2. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Would be a lot of work. New bridge with a slot the right direction, or try and fill and re-route the existing bridge. There's gotta be some deals out there on Reverb or somewhere.
     
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  3. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A 3/4 sized nylon string they have a straight bridge, easy to swap strings over...

    and all the strings are about the same thickness,, not a lot of nut work either...
     
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  4. stanger

    stanger Tele-Meister

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    How old is your son?
    If he's younger than 10, he might not have trouble learning to play right-handed. 10 is about the limit, and for some kids it's younger.
    How left-handed he is can also make a difference. Some southpaws do a lot of right-handed things naturally, and if he's one of them, he may be able to play right-handed.

    Glen Campbell is a good example of this. He was a southpaw whose father began to teach him the guitar at age 7. Glen always played right-handed.

    If your son is a complete lefty, and older than 9-10, he'll probably need a lefty guitar.
    There are some guitar companies that offer a variety of left-handed guitars; Ibanez makes several acoustic models, as does Yamaha. Other Asian brands may offer some too. Most American brands don't.

    As trev suggested, a classic guitar only needs a new nut, as the bridge is straight.

    Most archtop guitars are also easy to convert, as they have a moveable bridge on them. The bridges with thumbscrew height adjustments are very easy; all you have to do is remove the saddle, the top piece of the bridge and swap it 180º. Archtops also require a new nut.

    And of course, buying him an electric guitar is always an option. Fender makes some lefties, as does Epiphone, and some right-handed models will work in a pinch; the Gibson SG is one, although the controls would be on the downside.

    I have a son who's a total southpaw who plays the guitar. I bought a left Ibanez electric for him for his 13th birthday, along with a small practice amp, and he played it for the following 20 years and still has it, although it's very worn now. His second electric was a Gretsch Bo Diddley he converted. The body is rectangular, so all it needed was a new nut and a lefty bridge adjustment. He bought that one after looking around for a guitar that could be converted.

    When he turned 30, I gave him one of my favorite Gibson archtops, which is now the guitar he plays the most. His previous acoustic was a cheap classic he found somewhere and converted.
    regards,
    stanger
     
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  5. Speedfish

    Speedfish Tele-Meister

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    I've done it twice. Yes you need to replace the nut and bridge. I flipped the pickguards too.
     
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  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Just wait till the right;) lefty guitar comes along.
    They’re more common than you think.
    Converting is a fools errand, IMO.
     
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  7. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

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    If the bridge is straight its easy to do a conversion, change the nut and the bone at the bridge. But if the bridge needs replacing, for cheap instruments i would get a lefty guitar.

    About the pickguard, if it is about utility and not looks, you can just get the plastic that classical and flamenco players use that stays there with static (without gluing it).
     
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  8. bangcaster

    bangcaster Tele-Meister

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    Checkout rondomusic.com. They have a few lefty acoustics.
     
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  9. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a lefty rosewood bridge. PM me if you go that route.
     
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  10. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    As a first guitar , intonation is a minor consideration . If you are unable to locate a proper lefty , just recut the existing nut to accept the lower strings as necessary or drop in a new nut . I admire your desire to do the proper thing for your son , but we tend to overthink things at times . As he is learning , the correct choice will emerge . The important thing in the beginning is to set up the guitar properly so that it is as easy to play as possible .
     
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  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    IF it were a cheap steel string, you could take a Dremel and make a new slot that's a mirror image of the existing one. Then put the saddle in there. Fill in the rest of the old slot some epoxy and sawdust. Another option if to enlarge the slot for a wider bone saddle that is straight across and shape and intonate it with a file to the lefty configuration.
     
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  12. unfamous

    unfamous Tele-Meister

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    Leftys are braced differently than righties; mirror image to perserve the response (on serious quitar foradult players).
     
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  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have the same issue. I am about to build a lefty OM from plans in a book by Goodall guitars. No problem with the nut but I will use calipers and trigonometry for the bridge.
    Once again I cannot emphasize the importance of Maths in building and, indeed, all things musical.
     
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  14. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Said guitar is also for my lefty son who bought me the book and only recently said he was envious that my other right - handed son can play guitar with me. So, out of love, I'm building him that left handed guitar.
    Stewmac OM kit and above mentioned modifications.
     
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  15. newuser1

    newuser1 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys,

    My son is a very good player and he has several electrics already, however his only acoustic is a crappy 3/4 Denver nylon string one.

    This is probably the route I will take if I find a good righty acoustic at the right ;) price.
    Marty, do you just mix the epoxy with the sawdust and then fill the old slots? Can you actually mix the saw dust into the epoxy evenly?
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If it ends up being a nice guitar, I would do an epoxy test before filling the old slot.
    As long as you don't get 1 hour epoxy or some of the thicker stuff, the typical epoxy we get in small tubes is pretty easy to mix on a flat surface like glass with a putty knife.
    It won't end up invisible, just not noticeable.

    I was going to suggest some heavy roofing solder wire for the E/A and the B/E sitting on top of the wood, leaving a trimmed portion of the original bridge under the D/G. But only if it was for a kid who might want to learn.

    In "the old days" this bendable thick tin lead non-rosin-core solder was sometimes used by ear picky players as an intonated saddle on an acoustic. At least I read about it in maybe an old Irving Sloane book I had for guitar repair info.
    Maybe it was a Tommy Tedesco interview?

    Nice project plan!
    And maybe a great lefty will pop up and you won't even have to mod.
    I modded a 12 string into a 7 string then back again...

    I wonder how much the lefty bracing makes a difference in bottom end?
    Could always shave the bracing under the bass side to loosen up that part of the top, if it's a little stiff bottomed.
     
  17. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would sand a piece of rosewood or ebony with fine grit abrasive into a pile. Then mix the epoxy and sprinkle the dust into it. That will make the color of the epoxy similar to the wood. It won't be hidden, you'll see a patch. Stir well, and add it to the groove.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  18. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    If you are building a guitar from scratch then make the bracing mirror image of what is shown on your plans. If you are converting a guitar don't bother - it would be a lot of work. Otherwise either make bridge with a left handed saddle slot or fill and reroute the bridge on the guitar, make a left handed saddle and nut, put the pick guard on the the other side and put marker dots on the other side of the neck.

    IMG_0306.JPG

    IMG_3725.JPG
     
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  20. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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