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I know the title probably sounds psychotic.

My brother (leftie) got a left handed guitar around a year and a half ago from a family friend. He decided it wasn't for him and switched the strings to right handed. He has stopped playing this guitar and i picked it up because its quite a nice shade of dark green. I was wondering what I would have to change to make this guitar fully right handed. Im asking this as the current situation with the tension distribution, as you could imagine is pulling up the bridge and destroying the saddle.

What I would like to know is how much of the guitar needs to be replaced to play it right handed and not destroy this guitar.

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    Does this answer your question? Left and right hand guitar and their strings
    – Aaron
    Jul 12 at 19:56
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    You should absolutely take the guitar to a good luthier. If you got a used car you'd want a mechanic to check it out; you want a pro to give it a full physical. Jul 12 at 20:28
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    There shouldn't be much difference in tension between the treble and bass strings. The main functional difference between left and right hand guitars is the nut slot widths (you should be able to remove the nut and flip it around to face the other direction without much effort). If the bridge is pulling up either you're using the wrong type of strings (steel on a nylon string guitar) or it has previously been damaged in some other way. More info/pics needed to answer your question fully. Jul 12 at 22:24
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    If this is an acoustic guitar it won’t play in tune reversed because the bridge saddle intonation is fixed for the specific low to high the guitar was made to be so it’s not worth reversing it. Also, the bridge being pulled up and the saddle being destroyed have nothing to do with the guitar being strung backwards, it’s likely the wrong type or tension of stings causing that or the guitar already has some structural damage to begin with. Jul 12 at 22:58
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Unless it's an expensive guitar, if the strings are pulling up the bridge, cut your losses; that guitar has expensive issues. Just go and buy a second-hand right-handed guitar. No need to spend $100 on a Luthier job (low end) if the guitar is worth $100 and there's no emotional attachment to it.

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Seems to me it's a little too late anyway. The bridge lifting should have little to do with swapping round the strings - there's usually around a 10-15% discrepancy between string tensions in a set, way less in a well thought out set, unless the player has unusual preferences, so the difference between top E and bottom E tension-wise ought not stress the guitar - given a standard set of strings. And, of course, the guitar itself may not be that well made, looked after properly, or even kept in proper tune.

Given that it's an acoustic (tagged), the headstock will work either way.

The nut slots will need changing - either remove and turn round, or replace - which means the original comes off anyhow.

Th saddle on the bridge will probably be a compensating one - slanting so the top strings are slightly shorter than the bottom - with a variance for the B string. That'll need changing, and the bridge will too, to accommodate it.

If there's a scratchplate, that will be on the 'wrong' side.

If there are fretmarkers on the edge of the fretboard, they won't be seen - not a big deal.

If there's a cutaway on one shoulder, that will be on the wrong side - but unless you play at the dusty end a lot, that won't be an issue.

The strap button may/not need moving.

Bearing all that in mind, you're on a hiding to nothing - a luthier will charge more than the guitar's worth for most of that - so, bottom line - don't go there!

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  • i agree, way too much trouble to bother with. You can get other dark green guitars; spend the money you save on fixing this to get a luthier to fettle your new guitar. Acoustics are often poorly setup and a good luthier can make them play wonderfully; you'll fight with it a whole lot less. Jul 13 at 9:44
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I was wondering what I would have to change to make this guitar fully right handed.

If it's an acoustic, it would involve taking off the top (and because fingerboard, possibly the neck) in order to re-brace it to correctly balance the strings correctly, as well as recut the bridge angle. The YouTube luthier twoodfrd has converted a few right-handed guitars for a lefty player he works with, so you can see the work required. It's your guitar and your money, so do as you want, but honestly, I'd rather you sell it to a pawn shop so a beginning lefty player can find it, rather than make a lefty guitar a righty. We're in the golden age of cheap guitars; that mod isn't worth the effort.

If it's an electric, it depends. I mean, that last sentence — We're in the golden age of cheap guitars; that mod isn't worth the effort — remains true, but it's more easily done and more reversible with (some) electrics.

  • Strap button: You don't need to change the location of the strap button, but you will likely want to move the button to the (formerly) lower horn or at the heel of the neck.

  • Bridge: it is easy to adjust a Strat or Tele bridge (better with a six-saddle Tele bridge) between lefty and righty. I believe it should be similarly easy with a Floyd Rose, but cannot fully assert so. If you intend to switch a lefty Strat bridge with a righty, you will have to expand the tremolo route.

  • Pickups: No change is necessary.

  • Switches and Knobs: Watch Jimi playing a right-handed Strat and you'll see his picking arm come straight over the bridge, under the controls. The most common picking arm location would rest on and probably rub all the knobs and switches, so he had to. To reroute and rewire would be an involved job which will always look damaged.

  • Side Dots: Can't believe I forgot this one. You can get guitar necks with dots on both sides, so you can look down and know where you are. Mostly, these are there for guitarists playing the "correct" way for the instrument. I knew a lefty who played right-handed guitars who put tape in position, but adding "real" dots is a doable thing that might add a few dollars to the cost.

I cannot fully endorse sub-$100 guitars, but the sub-$200 guitars of lines like Epiphone, Squier, LTD and others are perfectly acceptable for beginner guitarists. (There are often setup issues and sometimes fret sprout, but these are fixable.) It's cheaper and easier to get something built for a right-handed player than to do more than the trivial adjustments to make this guitar fit you.

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    It's tagged acoustic.
    – Tim
    Jul 13 at 6:49
  • I believe it should be similarly easy with a Floyd Rose, but cannot fully assert so the route is asymmetric, so I disagree Jul 13 at 9:45
  • Pickups: No change is necessary. on a stratocaster/telecaster the bridge pickup would be the wrong way round for the bass strings; too close to the bridge Jul 13 at 9:47
  • @bigbadmouse I was thinking just changing the strings, not where the arm goes. Otherwise, you're absolutely right. Jul 13 at 14:00
  • @bigbadmouse well, yeah, that's true about pickups, but folks like Jimi went forward with that and it worked. Jul 13 at 14:01
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Like others have stated, don't bother unless the guitar is very sentimental. It is going to be expensive to fix, especially if it is an acoustic guitar. Even if it was a bolt-on electric guitar, it would be unlikely to survive the right-to-left conversion.

There was a time (back in the 1980s) when it was fashionable among some circles to swap the neck on a solid-body right-handed guitar with a neck from a left-handed guitar so that the tuning machines would be on the side away from the player. This was especially popular with Fender Strats and Jackson guitars because of their headstock shapes. Eventually, these manufacturers decided to construct backwards necks (reverse necks) so that people would stop ruining guitars.

I was unlucky (or uninformed) enough to actually buy one of these right-handed Strats with a refitted left-handed neck and I could NEVER get that guitar to stay in tune or stay intonated simply because the neck was always fighting against itself. Eventually I just stripped the electronics for parts and bought another guitar. Others have had varying results, but once you have structural or neck twist issues caused by 1. overtightening the strings or 2. transposed strings, that guitar will need serious help to ever be playable. It might do to securely glue down the bridge for now, but the trouble will reappear very soon. If the top is raised, forget it. Just paint it cool colors and make it a permanent wall hanger.

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