Left Hand Guitar

Left Handed Bass

Paul McCartney with a left-handed Rickenbacker 4001 bass Paul McCartney playing live in 1976 - with a left-handed Rickenbacker 4001 bass
Hofner Violin Bass

Perhaps one of the most iconic pop acts of all time includes a left hand bass... you most likely know already, it is of course Paul McCartney's Hofner Violin Bass. Paul has owned a number of these, but the first was bought whilst in Hamburg in 1961, before the Beatles had made it. He was used to playing re-strung right-handed instruments, and chose the Hofner because "to me me it seemed like, because I was left-handed, it looked less daft because it was symmetrical." But in the end, rather than buying, and re-stringing a right-handed bass, he was offered a custom ordered lefty; Hofner were a German company anyway, and this was perhaps the first left-handed bass Hofner ever produced. Later, Paul was also offered a left-handed Rickenbacker 4001 bass, which he used widely in the 1960s and 70s. Because of the continuing association of these two basses with Sir Paul, they are still some of the most available left-handed bass models, some 50 years later.

Finding left handed bass guitars

In the past, left-handed basses were not always easy to come by; stores generally concentrated on the right-handed gear that was more likely to sell, leaving little choice in terms of models, finish and other options. Not all manufacturers were able to build left-handed versions of their guitars. Extra tooling was required for the body, and in many cases this was not cost-effective (companies have even been known to get left-handed guitars ghost-built by other manufacturers entirely). The bigger brands like Fender and Gibson did offer left-handed models, usually at a premium. In the 1960s, Fender offered left-handed versions of all of it's bass guitars at an extra 10% cost; Gibson don't specify a price, but state that all models are available as a custom order. In the UK, these guitars were rare/expensive enough already; there was no chance of finding left hand versions - but some UK companies did oblige: both Vox and Watkins routinely produced left handed instruments. Into the seventies and the situation got a little better, with certain better-selling models being widely available left handed: Gibson offered the EB-O, EB-3, Grabber and Ripper, whilst 1970s Fender price lists show all basses available lefty - except the (previously available lefty) Bass VI.