How to Make a Right-Handed Electric Guitar Left-Handed

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Make a Right-Handed Electric Guitar Left-Handed
Symmetrical guitars are best for left-hand conversion. (rock guitar player illustration image by Slobodan Djajic from

To convert a right-handed guitar to left-hand guitar seems simple enough, but there are a few tips that make it easier. Start out with a guitar that is symmetrical like a Gibson SG model, or a guitar that is balanced left and right. Fender-style guitars are less desirable for left-handed conversions. The parts to be taken into consideration for such a conversion are the nut, the bridge and the strings.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Small clamp
  • Razor knife
  • 1 set new strings
  • Electronic tuner
  • Wire cutters

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  1. 1

    Remove the strings and the pick guard from the guitar. Lay a ruler across the individual saddles on the guitar bridge. Using the ruler for a reference point, draw a rough picture of the saddle adjusters, particularly the individual locations of each saddle in relation to the ruler.

  2. 2

    Reset the saddle. For Gibson style bridges, pull the saddle off, spin it around 180 degrees and place it back on the studs. Now adjust the saddles in reverse order to your picture by turning the saddle adjuster screws the appropriate direction. With any luck, they will already be close.

  3. 3

    Pry off the guitar nut at the top of the headstock with a small razor knife. Clamp the nut to the side of a table or bench so that one end hangs off the side.

  4. 4

    Pick up the big “E” string that you removed from the guitar. Holding it firmly between both hands, use it to file out the nut slot. The big “E,” string will now have to fit where the small “E” string was previously located. File back and forth gently until the small slot will accept the bigger string. Do the same with the fifth “A” string. The rest of the slots should fit.

  5. 5

    Put the nut back on the guitar. Re-string the guitar with new strings in reverse order, with the big “E” string going into the slot formerly occupied by the little “E” string.

  6. 6

    Hook the guitar up to an electronic tuner and set the intonation at the bridge by turning the saddle adjusting screws.

Tips and warnings

  • Play the guitar. If there is buzzing on the little “E” string or the “B” string, shim the bridge by placing a small piece of cut-off guitar string under the bridge on the side that is buzzing.

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