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Gibson-style guitars have been some of the most used throughout the history of recorded music. Because of the repeated exposure, many have become extremely familiar with the tones of these guitars.
Left-handed guitarists tend to be quite limited with their options for guitars. Fortunately, Epiphone makes some excellent instruments tailor-made for the southpaw.
If you’re a lefty looking for a new guitar, consider the following, which range considerably in cost and quality.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard '60s – Best Overall
As far as Gibson-style guitars go, the Les Paul is the most iconic and considered to be the flagship model. Unfortunately, these guitars tend to be unaffordable to most guitarists who desire one.
If this is you, take a look at the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon). Epiphone’s Les Pauls have been highly renowned over the past few decades, and this is no exception.
As its name suggests, this guitar takes on the vintage stylings of the Les Paul during the 1960s. This includes hallmark Les Paul build features, which include:
- Mahogany body
- Mahogany neck
- Pair of humbucker pickups
- 3-way switch, with a pair of knobs each for volume and tone
- Trapezoidal Pearloid inlays
- Tune-o-Matic bridge
Like the 1960s Les Pauls, this model has a number of sunbursts that perfectly accentuate its Flamed Maple top. Epiphone went above the normal by providing a number of left-handed variants, which include:
- Iced tea
- Bourbon burst
If you’re a fan of slimmer neck profiles, this guitar’s SlimTaper design will be quite accommodating. This is noticeably slimmer than the 50’s Les Paul, which has a notoriously chunky-feeling neck.
Of course, this isn’t exactly true to vintage spec, as the guitar does feature modern components, such as:
- NuBone nut
- Indian Laurel fretboard
This guitar definitely has some excellent tones from its ProBucker humbuckers. These modernize the sense of depth that the classics had, though the neck pickup might not be for everyone.
Epiphone USA Frontier – Best Premium
Are you somebody that generally wants the most luxurious guitars that money can buy? The Epiphone USA Frontier might be the acoustic guitar your collection has always needed.
At this price, you might wonder if it’s worth splurging on an Epiphone when you could easily buy a Gibson. When you consider its USA-made craftsmanship, you’ll see that the sky was the limit for Epiphone with this guitar.
Of course, its location of manufacture does have a lot to do with the cost. Don’t assume that cheaper labor always equates to a lower-quality guitar.
Digression aside, the USA Frontier is a true dreadnought with a Figured Maple body and a Solid Sitka Spruce top. X-bracing architecture, which has been scalloped by hand, is featured for exquisite resonation.
Its C-shape Mahogany neck is combined with an Indian Rosewood fretboard to provide superior playability. Other high-quality components are used throughout, including:
- Bone nut
- Bone saddle
- Rosewood bridge
- Gotoh Keystone tuners
This is one of those guitars that has a decadent aesthetic to match its performance. The floral pickguard and Rosewood binding are perfectly accentuated by its color finishes of:
- Frontier burst
Plus, the USA Frontier comes with an LR Baggs VTC pickup, providing an accurate signal despite its lack of preamp.
As you should expect with a guitar of this price, the USA Frontier comes with a hardshell case.
Epiphone DR-100 – Best Budget
You can easily identify this guitar with its iconic Epiphone “E” logo on the pickguard.
By most standards, the DR-100 is going to be most appropriate for beginners. However, anyone of any skill level will have no issues playing this.
The DR-100 features a Mahogany body with a Spruce top, which provides a fairly balanced tone. Its Mahogany neck has a SlimTaper contour, providing a comfortable feel compared to most acoustic guitars.
Rosewood is used for the fretboard, which is a little shocking to see on a guitar of this price. Yet, even the bridge is made of Rosewood, providing a uniform resonance to the guitar itself.
Left-handers will rejoice in the fact that Epiphone has provided multiple color finishes, including:
- Vintage sunburst
This is nothing short of a simple acoustic guitar, but it definitely excels at doing the basics.
Epiphone USA Casino
Are you a Beatles fanatic that needs to have the same gear that the band used during their existence? You’re not going to want to overlook the Epiphone USA Casino (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center).
The Casino has long been a staple guitar in the Epiphone lineup, mostly due to The Beatles. It is a hollowbody guitar consisting of 3-ply Maple and Poplar construction, with 2 f-shape sound holes for resonation.
This model comes in 2 different color options for left-handed versions, including:
- Vintage burst
- Royal tan
The C-shape Mahogany neck has a chunkier, vintage feel to it. Its Indian Rosewood provides access to 22 frets and smooth playing action.
For pickups, the USA Casino has a pair of Gibson Dogear P-90s. These come with a 3-way switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs.
You’ll find this provides that iconic vintage chime with the subtle hint of a snarling growl. Perfect for any Beatles maniac.
The other hardware found on the USA Casino include:
- Vintage Deluxe tuners
- NuBone nut
- ABR bridge
- Trapeze tailpiece
When factoring in the US craftsmanship, you can tell Epiphone threw it back to the old days of Casino production. This is about as close to a vintage Casino as you’ll find and costs less than an authentic period piece.
A hardshell case does come included to protect your precious and valuable investment.
Epiphone J-200EC Studio
More often than not, if you’re looking for an acoustic, it’d be nice to have electric capabilities while remaining affordable. The Epiphone J-200EC Studio (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) provides just that, combined with some lush aesthetics.
This Jumbo guitar features a Maple body with a Solid Sitka Spruce top for some exquisitely large tones. Its vintage sunburst color, ornate Rosewood bridge, and decorative pickguard give this a classic look.
You’ll find this to be a comfortable guitar, with a C-shape Maple neck and a Rosewood fretboard. Crown-shaped Pearloid inlays provide that extra bit of head-turning aesthetic appeal.
Its cutaway design allows easy access to all 20 frets of this guitar.
The J-200EC Studio also features 2 Fishman pickups and a preamp system, loaded with features such as:
- Built-in tuner
- Blend preferences between both pickups
- Phase settings between both pickups
There’s a reason why the greats played this, and why it continues to be one of the best-selling guitars. For this price, it’d be hard to find a comparable guitar in both playability, aesthetics, and features.
In some ways, this is one of the best examples of modernizing a classic while still oozing a vintage aesthetic.
Epiphone SG Standard
There’s just something to be said about the iconic SG body style that other guitars cannot compare with. Maybe it's the hint of devilishness or its versatility, but these continue to be very popular.
All of the classic SG Standard features are here, including:
- Mahogany body
- Mahogany neck
- Indian Laurel fretboard
- Trapezoidal Pearloid inlays
- Tune-o-Matic bridge
The SG Standard features a pair of Alnico Classic PRO humbuckers. These provide both the mellow and twangy tones the SG is known for.
Staying true to the classic design, a 3-way switch and a pair of knobs for volume and tone are provided. Epiphone also offers its full range of classic color options to left-handed players, which include:
- Alpine white
Overall, the SG Standard is definitely worth its price for someone on a budget. A good amount of work has gone into detailing the guitar’s various comfort bevel areas.
Plus, all of the color finishes are done quite well, with the cherry showing the perfect amount of woodgrain underneath. It’s also loaded with CTS pots, meaning you won’t need to concern yourself with the guitar’s electronic components.
Epiphone Les Paul Special
Are you looking for a Les Paul decked out in that classic TV yellow color? For some, this is on par with the butterscotch blonde Telecasters in terms of mythical guitar models.
The Epiphone Les Paul Special (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) is one of today’s best for that color option. This holds true with tradition, as it has always been one of the few models to offer it exclusively.
As such, the Les Paul Special definitely takes inspiration from vintage designs. In keeping with tradition, it features:
- Mahogany body
- Mahogany neck
- Thicker 50’s-style neck contour
- Wraparound bridge
- 3-way pickup switch
- Pair of knobs for volume and tone
- Vintage-style tuners
The fretboard is crafted from Indian Laurel, which has a nice, dark color to it. These appear to be decent cuts of wood, which many tend to be concerned about.
For pickups, you’ll find plenty of vintage crunch in its pair of PRO Soapbar P-90s. These will certainly fit right in with anything that needs that classic rock and roll sound.
These generally tend to weigh significantly less than a traditional Les Paul. This is due to the fact that it has a slimmer body depth, which helps account for its lower price.
If you’ve always wanted a faithful replica of music history for yourself, the Les Paul Special is a no-brainer. You’re getting that classic, atomic-age aesthetic at a bargain of a price.
Plus, it’s a viable platform for making any upgrades or modifications. You could likely still end up spending less money on upgrades than buying the Gibson variety.
And really, that’s where much of the beauty lies in Epiphone guitars. If you can get over having Epiphone on the headstock, they prove to be some very usable guitars.
What To Look For When Buying Left-Handed Epiphone Guitars
If you’ve never bought a left-handed guitar before, you might wonder if there are special things to look out for. The short and simple truth of the matter is that there is very little difference between these and right-handed guitars.
Because of this, all you really need to concern yourself with are the basics. However, don’t discount this information as being useless in your purchasing endeavors.
The following information will serve as a basic guideline, whether you’re buying Epiphone or any other brand.
When you form the idea of purchasing a guitar, you should have a general idea of the guitar you want. The first thing to consider is whether you want an acoustic or an electric guitar.
This might seem a bit obvious, but most guitarists tend to want both kinds of varieties in their collection. Take some time to assess what you actually need rather than might be a passing phase of gear lust.
From there, take some time to familiarize yourself with the various models available to left-handed guitarists. Each manufacturer has its select offerings, with Epiphone generally offering the most iconic Gibson shapes:
- Jumbo acoustics
- Dreadnought acoustics
- Les Paul
- Hollowbody/Semi-hollowbody (including ES-335, Dot, Sheraton, Casino)
If you’re on a tighter budget, shopping for Epiphone guitars is going to be a wise choice. With the rising costs of guitars, Gibson instruments can fall outside the budget of many guitarists.
Epiphone has essentially built its reputation on providing affordable access to the Gibson playing experience. They are able to keep their prices down by manufacturing guitars in areas with lower labor costs.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t some extremely pricey guitars in the Epiphone lineup. Such items are ideal for the spendthrift who also happens to be a working professional.
Ultimately, you’ll still want to be mindful of your budget when buying from a company considered to be budget-friendly. This is especially true if you consider yourself a beginner or intermediate guitarist.
While there does tend to be some overlap, you can use the following as a guide for budget ranges:
- $250 and lower (beginners)
- $350 to $700 (intermediate)
- $800 to $1300 (advanced)
- $2000 and above (professional)
You’ll notice that there are some gaps in these ranges. That is because everyone’s situation and budget are a little different throughout the levels of musicianship.
Check the used market if you want to save some cash and aren’t concerned about having a brand-new guitar.
Once you have an idea of what guitars are available to you, research the features each guitar offers. Quite often, this might be the reason you choose 1 guitar over another.
The scope of this is wide-ranging, but some questions you might ask yourself include:
- What kind of pickups does it offer?
- What color options are available for the left-handed models?
- Does the guitar have a simple design or does it have innovations that require some getting used to?
No matter the cost of your guitar, you should always pay attention to the overall craftsmanship of the instrument. You shouldn’t have to settle for a poorly-crafted instrument because you’re on a budget.
Similarly, if you’re shelling out some serious cash, you need to make sure the craftsmanship is worth the cost.
Take some time to notice how much attention to detail the manufacturer gave to the instrument. This will differ depending on the price range, as higher-priced guitars tend to have more work put into them.
Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Does the guitar have any blemishes?
- Is the nut cut properly to allow for proper intonation and string vibration?
- Do the frets show any signs of sprouting or have sharp edges?
Always take the time to try out different guitars for yourself by visiting a local shop. The quality of individual guitars from the same model line can differ greatly from one to another.
This will give you an opportunity to visually inspect the guitar, hear how it sounds, and feel its playability. Once you become more experienced, you can apply this to shopping for guitars online.
It’s still a good idea to try out the guitar in person, even if you’re buying it online. You can use your research to guide you while attempting to scour pictures for any sort of defect present.
The History Of Epiphone
Epiphone officially began making guitars in 1928 but didn't become the company we know today until 1957. That was the year that Gibson bought the company and took over its model lineup.
Now, Epiphone is notorious for providing Gibson designs at an affordable price. Their guitars have gained an overwhelmingly positive reputation over the last 2 decades.
Top Epiphone Left-Handed Guitars, Final Thoughts
Epiphone guitars make for excellent choices for any left-handed guitar, no matter your skill level. Even bonafide professionals will find some Epiphone guitars more than worthy of playing on stage.
In some cases, people have said that Epiphone guitars can be of higher quality than their Gibson brethren. Of course, your mileage may vary, which is why it’s ultimately important to try before you buy.