I can't easily find a left handed bass guitar. Can I restring the bass to be for a leftie (reverse the ordering of the strings)?

I think that you can do this with an electric guitar, for sure with an accoustic guitar.

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    Not sure if this is a possibility to you, but I'm a lefty, and I play guitar/bass right-handed. Just feels more natural to me. My left hand does the fancy fingering stuff, and my "dumb" right hand just grabs strings and yanks on them. – Pulsehead Jul 8 '11 at 18:40
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    @Pulsehead hey, same for me! When I started, my teacher recommendet it, and I can't be happier about that decision. I also feel the same about my right hand tho – Mafii Nov 30 '17 at 15:30

Sure, of course you can. But getting it to playable condition won't be quite so simple. You'll have to re-adjust the bridge to account for the fact that the thickest string is now located where the thinnest string was, and vice-versa. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself (although it's pretty easy), any competent guitar tech will do it for around $25 or so.

Depending on the pickups on your bass (I'm thinking of P-pickups in particular), you'll get a slightly different sound than you would have gotten if you hadn't restrung it. This isn't a bad thing, just something to be aware of. You may also have to adjust the pickup heights, for the same reasons that you'll want to adjust the bridge.

Finally, the ergonomics of the bass will be a bit strange. Your left forearm will rest near where the knobs are, the formerly-upper-now-lower bout of the bass will restrict access to the upper frets, etc. None of this is a deal-breaker, but you may find it a bit awkward at first. If you haven't yet purchased a bass, you might want to try several different models in your preferred playing position to see if any of them feel more physically comfortable.

You say you think this can be done with electric guitar, and of course you're right: Jimi Hendrix played right-handed Strats that he re-strung, turned upside down, and played left-handed. If the greatest guitar virtuoso ever can get by playing right-handed guitars left-handed, so can you.

  • It's in another answer, but you'd have to reverse the nut as well to accommodate the reverse string order. It's also worth while to just refer to some bass players like Jimmy Halsip of the Yellow Jackets. He just flipped it around, and didn't bother changing the order. – user48366 Feb 23 '18 at 14:14

If everything else is OK (what the other answer talks about), you would need to reverse the nut if possible or get a new one. The larger strings won't fit into the grooves for the smaller ones, and the small strings will be too lose in the large grooves.

  • But if i do that, wont the balance be out? will i get major neck dive or something? – user2823 Aug 27 '12 at 22:34
  • neck dive from flipping one small piece? I don't think so. – Chochos Feb 27 '14 at 23:41

Just a shout out to all those left handed players playing a right handed bass upside-down. Never give up fellas! It can be done.

Two years ago, I bought a second hand right handed ASHTON Bass and an 80 watt amp. I've never played Bass before and being left handed I thought I'd just have a bit of fun.

Two years later? - I have 50 plus songs under my belt, and am self taught.

The biggest issue for me? - I've tried a left handed bass after all that time and I can't play a bloody thing! So what I'm looking at is finding a left handed bass - but strung right handed (sounds strange I know ).

For those of you that play left handed on a right handed bass, when people smirk and giggle at you for putting it on upside-down - I always use this one liner on them "The only time you need to laugh is if the music come out up-side down." That usually shuts them down pretty quick.

But never, ever give up guys! Music has no "rules" and no "conformity" it's all about playing what you feel the way you play it is nobody else's business but yours. There's no right and wrong, there's only "the sound".

  • Only change was the strap button, right? Does it feel balanced? – Tim Dec 28 '16 at 13:05

I know this is an old post by now, but thought I'd share my experience. I play left-handed guitar, but play right-handed basses left-handed (upside-down, if you will).

As someone else said, playing upside down can be done - much more easily on bass than on guitar in fact, as you're using less complex finger shapes (but playing slap is tougher, though not impossible). Other than the controls & jack being near your left hand and easier to knock accidentally, the main issues arise when you're using a bass with offset shoulder horns: your access to the top frets will be limited by the depth of the cutout, as the deeper one is now at the top; also, if you leave the strap button where it is, the strap is going to cut across the back of the neck, further limiting fret access; and if you move the strap button to the shorter horn, you're then moving the centre of balance and you'll have the neck dipping. This isn't a huge issue with guitars (although there's an unconvincing theory that it exacerbated Kurt Cobain's scoliosis), but I've learned the hard way that it's definitely more pronounced with bass, due to the longer and heavier neck & headstock. The best option there is maybe to go for a symmetrical bass, or one with the strap button directly behind the neck, like an SG.

If you want to re-string a right-handed bass left-handed you'll be dealing with the problems above, you'll need to set up the bridge and pickups as suggested, and you'll also probably want to change the nut. Personally, I'm so used to playing upside down that I'd want to go the other way and re-string a left-handed bass right-handed, but I'm reluctant to spend a lot on a decent lefty and start messing with the nut, etc. as the resale market for that setup would be tiny :)


you can flip it, as observed above, make sure that you get a new nut cut as the RH nut wont do but also consider that not all brands have E strings that are long enough to reach the furthest machine head. Additionally that you may not get enough break angle over the nut (due to the gentle slope from nut to G machine head) to avoid buzzing.

Where do you live? I've always found it quite easy to find LH models. Flipping is probably more trouble than its worth.

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