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I started this discussion over on the main gear page, but thought I'd put it up to everyone here, too.

I'm looking for an inexpensive (<$150) likely used, starter for my southpaw son, but they seem to be rare as hen's teeth. What do you think about converting a standard right hand guitar to a lefty? I realize the compensated saddle is reversed, but how much of a problem would this be, especially for a beginner?

lefty conversion

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That is how I learnt. Its frustrating but can be done. The biggest problem is the low E string in the high E groove in the nut and the high E string in the low E groove. The high E will move around and the high E string will move around. Terribly frustrating. Can be done. If you can find a LH guitar all the better. There are a number on ebay. Ie beginner guitars. More than most stores.

Good luck on your search.
I meant to write. The low E will pop out of the high E groove. I only have my blackberry and can not edit my post.

...............and forgot to mention it's not just LH starter guitars that are as rare as hen's teeth, it's ALL Left handed guitars that are rare as hen's teeth.  I recommend him getting a left handed guitar.  

If left handers end the frustration by either playing right and/ or playing upside down, it will not convince manufacturers  to produce left handed guitars.  If left handers, only purchased left handed guitars, it would increase the numbers sold and then it might make more sense for the manufacturers to produce more left handed guitars.   Tell your son in a few years, he should not buy a guitar without trying it first and I am sure you will get him rolling his eyes at you..... and a yeah right.

Try ebay,  There are a number of left handed starter guitars.  It's probably the best bet.  MUCH better than playing the right handed guitar.  Tell your son.  Good luck.  

If you need some links, I can send them to you.

I think all left handed players have felt frustration when looking for a guitar I got lucky and got a Seagull left handed that was about $100 more than your budget, but it might be a possible avenue for your son. Good luck
Check out Wolfe Guitars website - www.wolfeguitars.com - and check out their inventory. They don't list all their inventory on their website, but there are some lefties on there. More importantly, they probably still have a Fender DG10 CELH - left-handed, acoustic/electric cutaway - very good condition - that I traded to them awhile ago. May be worth a call - should be able to sell it to you within your budget. Nice guitar - soid spruce top, lam mahogany back and sides.

your picture shows 4 RH guitars.  Do you play left or right?  If left, do you have them converted to left?  I meant to ask that before.

I play right-handed. I just know a bit about the conversion aspect because I checked into converting a LH Martin DM-L to RH for me. Cost-prohibitive for my particular situation...
But, why did a right-handed guy have LH guitars in the first place? I was blessed with a gift (!) of 5 left-handed guitars from a friend who could no longer play due to a hand injury. They were a Gibson USA Les Paul Studio, an acoustic-only Martin DM-L, a Fender DG10 CELH acoustic-electric, a Cordoba C5 classical, and a Martin Backpacker (nylon). Since the saddles are straight on the nylon-strung guitars, I flipped the saddles on the Cordoba and Backpacker around, re-strung, and presto - RH guitars! However, as you can imagine, the Les Paul and the Fender were unconvertable, and the Martin didn't make sense to convert.
So, I traded the Les Paul evenly for my Seagull Performer, traded the lefty Martin, lefty Fender, and my old righty Aria LW15 with a too-narrow nut for me for my Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II, and bought a Giannini Craviola due to 12-string GAS and a good deal on Amazon.
That's the story of the 4... :-)
Oh, BTW, I also received a Roland AC-90 amp and a Fender Frontman 15 amp...

thanks for clearing that up.   That was a nice gift.  Unfortunate how you got them, but it was still an excellent gift.  It turned into an excellent set of guitars and amps for you.

I have thought of changing nuts and saddles, but by the time you put in the cost of the guitar, the cost of the parts and labour, I am better off getting a better quality LH guitar (if available)

Just as I was better off trading for an actual RH guitar... :-)

would have done the same thing as you.   did you ever try the LH guitar upside down or restrung as a RH guitar?

Well, I re-strung the Cordoba and the Backpacker. I did fool around a bit with the Martin - both upside down (Am, Em, and D) and held in the appropriate left-handed fashion - quite foreign - more successful for me upside down with very strange chord forms for my left hand ;-)
For a conversion, you would need to trade out the nut and the bridge (to preserve the proper saddle angle), and if the pins follow the angle of the saddle (they usually don't, but on a lefty Martin DM-L I also had, they did), you might have to re-drill the pin holes. Converting not that easy - and the internal bracing may be different, as well...

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