How to String for a Left Handed Guitarist

Stringing a guitar for a left-handed musician isn't that different than for a musician that plays strictly right-handed. It is merely a matter of switching where each string goes.


  1. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 1
    If your guitar is fresh out of a music store, gently remove the strings it originally came with by untying the knots. These strings are usually just arranged for display, though some strings are already adjusted for immediate use. Be sure to have some way to identify which note is which, such as note cards with each note on them. (You can save these for future use in stringing) Otherwise you'll have to undo all of your hard work to fix it!
  2. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 2
    If your guitar didn't come with any strings, purchase a pack of six strings. There are two kinds of "E" strings, a lower pitched string and a higher pitched. The first string is the lower pitched of the two. "A", "D", "G", "B" and the higher "E" complete the strings. Make sure when you buy strings they have all of these, even if you have no use for them at the moment. You never know when they'll come in handy.
  3. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 3
    String your guitar. The notes that the strings play are organized in a low to high note system. For a left-hand friendly guitar, you simply make the first note the highest, and steadily lower it to the last string in the set. Since a left-handed person requires the guitar to be positioned differently, (the left hand will strum, the right will pick out chords) the strings will play exactly as they do for standard guitarists, merely far more suited for the left-handed.
  4. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 4
    To tie the string, slip it through the small opening in the tuning peg that the string is for, and wind it around the bar the hole is attached to. Tuck the end under the loop and secure it with a gentle pull. Too tight and you'll damage the peg.
  5. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 5
    Do the same at the bottom of the guitar, but pull this one a little tighter. It is the one most likely to come loose.
  6. Image titled String for a Left Handed Guitarist Step 6
    Repeat for all the strings, then break out the tuner to tune the new strings to the desired pitch.


  • The strings will be longer than what your guitar will require, so clip them to a more manageable size. However, make sure you leave a small amount for leeway during tuning, otherwise your string will snap a lot quicker as tuning pressures become too much for the string to take.
  • After stringing the guitar, make sure it has limited contact with any type of weathering. The strings will not last as long. (And weathering is bad for the guitar in general, warping the wood, damaging the fret, and generally wreaking mayhem on your instrument.)


  • You will get frustrated at some point, guitar strings are annoying. Refrain from tossing your guitar out the second story window, and you'll avoid replacement costs.
  • Avoid tying a real knot for the strings. As you tune it, the strings will become taut and as you tune the guitar, the knot will become almost impossible to get out easily. Tucking the sting in on itself, like the beginning of tying your shoe for example, usually works for holding the string in place.
  • Be careful with the tuning mechanisms that you'll be tying the guitar strings into. If you tweak these, the guitar will not keep a tune for very long, and you'll have to take it to be fixed.
  • Although it's usually safe (and free) to try yourself, there can be issues with a guitar made for a right handed person, being strung for a left handed player. The "nut" at the top of the neck (before the machine heads) will typically be gauged, if the strings are reversed, it may result with an unplayable action (the smallest string can "fall" too far into the nut, and be too close to the fretboard, it may buzz or choke out, or, the thickest string may be too high off the fretboard, making it very difficult to fret the first few notes if your just learning and don't have the finger strength). If this is an acoustic guitar, the "bridge" at the opposite end of the strings on the body, will be angled. This is to correct what is known as "intonation", the notes still being in tune up the fretboard, if the strings are reversed, chords played higher on the fretboard will be noticeably out of tune. Both of these things can be corrected, and fixed by a good guitar tech. Check to see if the guitar is worth it (it will cost approx 50-150 dollars depending on the tech), talk to your local music stores they will help you.
  • Please remember there are guitars made for Left handed players, although we pay a bit of a premium for a guitars because if the apparent difficulty of reversing the process, it can be very worth it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pack of six strings, either nylon, steel or a preferred type...whatever works for your particular preferences.
  • A tuner, to set your newly stringed guitar at the proper pitch for each note.
  • Some type of tool for clipping the strings to the proper length. They make special clippers, but sharp scissors work just as well.
  • A good Guitar Tech !

Article Info

Categories: Accuracy | Guitar Maintenance