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Gibson has been one of the longstanding giants in the guitar industry. Their guitars have become quite iconic throughout the history of rock music.
Being a left-handed individual often means that you’re limited on what guitars are available to you. Fortunately, Gibson offers some of their most well-known models in left-handed varieties so everyone can enjoy their classic designs.
The following left-handed Gibson guitars are the best money can buy.
Gibson Les Paul Standard '60s – Best Overall
There’s no denying that the Les Paul is one of the most legendary guitar designs of all time. By the 1960s and 70s, the guitar became largely associated with the rock guitar sound of the era.
The Gibson Les Paul Standard ‘60s (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) is a version harkening back to vintage designs. You’ll find that Gibson went through a painstaking process in creating a Les Paul replica from the 1960s.
As such, you’ll find classic appointments such as a Mahogany body, a AA figured Maple top and a Maple neck. The guitar comes in a gloss nitrocellulose finish, with the timeless colors of:
- Iced tea
- Bourbon burst
Gibson’s SlimTaper neck contour is featured here, providing comfort and smooth playability up and down the neck. The Rosewood fretboard features the signature trapezoidal Acrylic inlays with 22 frets.
A pair of Burstbucker humbuckers come stocked into this guitar, providing extreme vintage versatility. In true Les Paul fashion, a 3-way switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs are provided.
For hardware, the Les Paul Standard 60’s comes equipped with a Tune-o-Matic bridge and Grover Rotomatic tuners. It has a NuBone nut, manufactured by GraphTech.
You will get a hardshell case with the guitar, which has been molded to fit this specific model.
Overall, this is what you’ve been looking for if you want a vintage Les Paul without the associated price. This offering proves that the Les Paul is still incredibly versatile and relevant for today’s music.
Gibson Custom 1961 Les Paul SG Standard Reissue VOS – Best Premium
Sometimes, it’s not always economical to purchase a guitar from the long-gone eras of yesterday. Many often look to custom shop guitars to provide an authentic guitar in its looks, sound, and playability.
The Gibson Custom 1961 Les Paul SG Standard Reissue VOS comes from Gibson’s Custom Shop. As such, it aims to provide a historically accurate instrument with regard to how it would appear today.
This SG features a 1-piece Mahogany body decked out in a gloss nitrocellulose finish and a beautiful cherry red coloring. You’ll notice that a great amount of detail has been given to the bevels and contours of this particular model.
The Mahogany neck features a SlimTaper contour taken from the original 1960 design. Its Indian Rosewood fretboard features 22 frets and trapezoidal inlays made of Cellulose Nitrate.
A pair of Custom Alnico III humbuckers are also featured, which are exact replicas of the original pickups. For tone control is the standard 3-way switch and pairs of volume and tone knobs.
As is standard, a Tune-o-Matic bridge is included, along with Kluson vintage tuners. The guitar’s nut has been crafted from Nylon.
Gibson has included a molded hardshell case with this Custom Shop SG.
Your money is definitely spent well with this model, especially for those looking for a vintage SG. All of the parts have been aged lightly to resemble how the guitar would look in the present day.
This is definitely a premium guitar, with exquisite detail given to the crafting of every dimension in its design. You definitely won’t find this kind of detail on other Gibson guitars from its regular production model lineups.
Gibson Les Paul Special – Best Budget
The excessive weight of the Les Paul has been an issue ever since the guitar was released in the 1950s. One of Gibson’s famed solutions was the Les Paul Special, featuring a slimmer body without a Maple top.
The Gibson Les Paul Special (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) remains a viable instrument for any southpaw. Current models are decked out in the iconic TV yellow color, throwing it back to the black-and-white television era.
You’ll find this is pretty representative of its vintage roots, featuring a Mahogany body and neck. The neck is contoured to a 1950s design, making it slightly chunky, but still comfortable.
Rosewood is used for the fretboard, featuring 22 frets with acrylic dot inlays. The fretboard does have an attractive cream binding to accent its edges.
The Les Paul Special is traditionally known for its P-90 pickups, and this model is no exception. You’ll find that this guitar has plenty of bite when needed, perfect for any rock, jazz, or blues tones.
To control the tone, the Les Paul Special features a 3-way switch and a pair of volume and tone knobs.
For hardware, the Les Paul Special maintains its simplicity with a wraparound bridge, NuBone nut, and vintage tuners.
A hardshell case comes with the guitar for storage and transportation purposes.
On the surface, this might appear to be a simplistic guitar. However, it does have a sense of luxuriousness hidden in the right areas.
Gibson Acoustic J-45 Standard
The J-45 is one of the most iconic dreadnoughts ever made, noted for its rich and complex tones. You can often easily identify these by the narrow roundness in the shoulders compared to traditional dreadnought designs.
With the Gibson Acoustic J-45 Standard, you can reign in these classic tones for yourself. This model carries on with the longstanding tradition that has gone into producing these guitars.
The J-45 Standard features a Mahogany body with a Sitka Spruce top, with X-bracing architecture that has been hand-scalloped. It comes in an attractive vintage sunburst color with a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
Mahogany is also used for the neck, which features the famed SlimTaper contour design. The fretboard is crafted from Rosewood and has 20 frets outlined by Mother-of-Pearl dot inlays.
This guitar was built for the performer, especially with its LR Baggs VTC pickup. You’ll find that this does an excellent job of preserving the guitar’s natural acoustic sound.
For hardware, the J-45 Standard is decked out with:
- Composite nut
- Composite saddle
- Rosewood bridge
- Grover Rotomatic tuners
The guitar does come with a hardshell case, ensuring you’ll keep it protected when you’re out on the road.
Very little has changed in this offering compared to its builds in the past. Try this guitar out and you’ll see why it’s a popular choice amongst songwriters.
Gibson Acoustic L-00 Standard
Not everyone enjoys larger acoustic shapes, which is where the Gibson Acoustic L-00 Standard really shines. This offering keeps the vintage L-00 in mind with every detail of its construction.
For starters, the L-00 Standard features a Mahogany body with a Sitka Spruce top, with hand-scalloped X-bracing architecture inside. While its body might be smaller, the L-00 Standard is incredibly rich and resonant.
The guitar’s Mahogany neck features a SlimTaper contour, providing comfort along its Rosewood fretboard. Mother-of-Pearl dot inlays provide navigation and a traditional look for its 19 frets.
Performers will have no issues on the stage, thanks to its LR Baggs VTC pickup. Its preamp is conveniently hidden in the soundhole.
The L-00 Standard is quite the aesthetically-pleasing guitar, as all of the colors convey a vintage vibe. Gibson went the extra mile to age the components of the guitar, using traditional build components that include hide glue.
Gibson didn’t skimp on the hardware either, which features:
- Rosewood bridge
- Tusq saddle
- Tusq nut
- Grover Mini Rotomatic tuners
As is standard with most Gibson guitars, the L-00 Standard comes equipped with a hardshell case.
Overall, the L-00 Standard is still quite pricey for the average guitarist to spend on an acoustic guitar. However, this is one instance where the guitar actually performs to the degree that its cost alludes to.
Gibson '70s Explorer
In the 1970s, rock music became quite expansive, and Gibson followed suit, eventually introducing the Explorer. This edgy, space-age guitar is best known for its use in the bands Metallica, and, Coheed and Cambria.
The Gibson ‘70s Explorer (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) provides lefties with a vintage Explorer experience. This guitar has all of the signature hallmarks, coming in the iconic color of classic white.
Mahogany is used in the construction of both the body and the neck. Its Rosewood fretboard (equipped with 22 frets) is easily playable thanks to the neck’s SlimTaper contour.
A pair of ‘70s Tribute humbucker pickups come stocked in the ‘70s Explorer. These will provide you with that classic early-metal sounds you know and love (and maybe grew up with).
For tone control, Gibson provides a 3-way switch, a volume knob, and a pair of tone knobs. The other hardware on the ‘70s Explorer includes a NuBone nut and a Nashville Tune-o-Matic bridge.
This guitar is known for having one of the few Gibson headstocks with its 6-in-a-line tuner configuration. Grover Rotomatic tuners provide stability and a smooth tuning experience.
The ‘70s Explorer does come with a hardshell case, which is quite a blessing. It would be a bit difficult to source a case that can accommodate this guitar’s unique body design.
Gibson SG Standard '61
Don’t have the money for a Custom Shop SG designed to vintage specs? Unfortunately, not too many people do.
However, the Gibson SG Standard ’61 (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) is a worthwhile alternative. This left-handed guitar keeps the original specs in mind, which is especially evident with its vintage-style pickguard.
The SG Standard ’61 is a true SG in every way, featuring an all-Mahogany construction and a Rosewood neck. A SlimTaper design allows for smooth access to all of its 22 frets, which feature trapezoidal acrylic inlays.
This model features a pair of Burstbucker 61 humbuckers, which provide that sweet, vintage SG sound. You’ll find this to be quite versatile, offering both warm roundedness and a slight bit of twang.
Gibson keeps with tradition, offering a 3-way switch, along with 2 pairs of knobs for both volume and tone. A Tune-o-Matic bridge, vintage deluxe tuners, and a NuBone nut create the hardware profile for this SG.
As with most Gibsons, the SG Standard ’61 comes equipped with a hardshell case. This will certainly help to protect its beautiful vintage cherry color finished in gloss nitrocellulose lacquer.
Plus, this finish will definitely age the best, as history has shown nitrocellulose to have the most attractive aging features. The finish and color do not chip away as you’ll find with polyester and polyurethane finishes.
Some people have considered this model to have been the signal of Gibson’s return to premium craftsmanship. It is, nonetheless, carrying on with the longstanding traditional build elements seen on the SG model throughout history.
What To Look For When Buying Left-Handed Gibson Guitars
If you’re planning on buying a Gibson guitar, you likely assume you’ll be spending a decent amount of cash. As such, you might be a little anxious about whether your decisions are worth the price.
Nobody wants to end up with a purchase that they regret making, especially with a higher-priced guitar. Soak in the following information and you’ll have a framework you can use during your research and purchasing decisions.
The first thing you’ll ultimately need to decide on is whether you’re searching for an acoustic or electric guitar. Gibson does make both kinds, with models that are quite historic in their own respect.
Take some time to assess what you need as a guitarist, as wants and needs do not always align. If you’ve never purchased a guitar before, consider what will allow you to be the guitarist you want to be.
Along with this, consider the actual design of the guitar. You could think of this as how the body of the guitar itself is shaped.
Gibson electrics have the most variety in body shapes, and each has its own pitfalls. This doesn’t take away from the guitars themselves, rather, it presents something you’ll have to deal with.
For instance, the Les Paul models can be excessively heavy, sometimes weighing up to 11 pounds. The SG has a unique neck joint, protruding the neck out further than average, causing the neck to dive.
Other models, such as the Explorer and Flying V have eye appeal, but often cannot be played sitting down.
Take your time and try each guitar out for yourself to ascertain how it feels to you. This guitar should be a lifetime companion, so make sure it's the proper fit for your individual needs.
Along with body styles, guitars will often come with a wide variety of pickups and configurations using different types. This will inevitably present different palettes of tone, requiring some discretion on your part.
Pickups generally come in single-coil and humbucker varieties, with humbuckers generally being warmer and thicker. None is better than the other, but each is wholly unique enough that you need to hear them for yourself.
Gibson guitars generally come with humbucker pickups, though the exact pickup differs between models. There are also some guitars that have P-90s, which are a type of single-coil pickup.
Again, be sure to try each guitar out in person so you can hear how versatile each pickup is. Also, pay attention to how much clarity is present, and whether or not it suits your playing style.
While it's usually one of the biggest deciding factors in a purchase, nobody really wants to think about their budget. Yet, it’s usually the very thing that is kept at the back of the mind during the entire process.
When it comes to Gibson guitars, you’re probably going to spend at least $1000. This is just a fact that has remained true for decades, with some occasional exceptions.
Once in a while, Gibson does offer models that range below that price. Though, with the rising costs of the market, that may have become a thing of the past.
Gibson has seemed to have turned a slight corner with regard to their craftsmanship. The consensus is starting to lean to the side that these instruments are worthy of their price.
With that being said, you need to honestly assess whether you can afford to make such a purchase. If you constantly think about your budget and the detriment of buying the guitar, maybe consider something else.
Epiphone provides excellent Gibson-designed instruments at an economical price. Or, if that’s out of the question, check out the used market, either online or locally.
With some exceptions, used guitars tend to cost less than they sold for at their retail price. This means that your budget might be able to afford a higher-quality model.
History Of Gibson
Gibson is an American guitar company and is one of the most widely-recognized brands worldwide. The company began in 1902, crafting some of the finest acoustic guitars and mandolins to date.
As each decade passed, Gibson adapted to the times, eventually offering solid-body electric guitars in the 1950s. Some models are highly regarded as the most iconic guitars of all time, played by some of the best.
Gibson has factories in different locations, each specializing in different model productions. These include:
- Nashville, TN (electric guitars)
- Bozeman, MT (acoustic guitars)
The company had a tumultuous time in the 2000s, struggling financially as a result of poor business choices. It has struggled to stay seriously relevant beyond the never-ending heckling of guitarists.
Top Gibson Left-Handed Guitars, Final Thoughts
Is Gibson the same company that it was in the 1950s? Well, no, but technically, neither is any guitar company from that time period, including Fender.
Still, Gibson guitars remain incredibly iconic and versatile, with timeless designs that never get old. Many of these guitars have sounds that you can’t find anywhere else.
If you’re a lefty looking for the Gibson experience, it’s worth taking the plunge.