Jimi Hendrix…Tony Iommi…Kurt Cobain…Paul McCartney…
Add ‘em all up and what do you get?
A bunch of left handed musicians, that’s what. And, more notably, some of the best that may have ever blessed us mere mortals with their extreme talent.
Now, think about it a little more – which ones played the bass? McCartney is the obvious pick. And yes…Hendrix was known to strap on a 4 string himself, especially on some of his more iconic tunes (such as ‘All Along The Watchtower’).
Iommi and Cobain? Not so much – at least, not to my knowledge. But that in itself proves the point I’m going to try to make here: left handed guitar players are relatively rare, and left handed bassists are potentially even more rare.
And that means that it’s perfectly logical to think that the bass guitar market isn’t exactly flooded with left handed bass guitars. Sure, there’s plenty of awesome bass guitar models available, but they certainly aren’t as commonly found as their right-handed cousins.
So what are any aspiring lefty bassists to do? Are they limited to just a few options?
I’ve decided to take a walk down this ‘not very well traveled’ path…and, during my journey, I’ve come across 9 of what I think are the best left handed bass guitars around.
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Let’s check em’ out!
The 9 Best Left Handed Bass Guitars Reviewed
Ibanez SR300E 4 String Left Handed Bass Guitar
The SR series basses from Ibanez have long been known for top notch quality without having a top notch price.
In my viewpoint, there may be no better example of what the best left handed bass guitar may be than the SR300E.
To help keep the price in check, the body on the SR300E is made from nyatoh (also known as ‘nato’), which is a less expensive substitute for mahogany with roughly the same tone profile.
Looks are typically icing on the cake as far as a good bass goes, but the finish options are pretty cool – I think the Black Planet Matte in particular is stunning.
You’ll find a 5-piece maple & walnut construction for the neck – making it super strong – and the jatoba fretboard makes for a more than suitable replacement for rosewood.
It may sound a little brighter, but that’s not a bad thing at all in my eyes.
Electronics feature two Ibanez PowerSpan dual coil pickups, and the active 3-band EQ lets you tone sculpt to your liking. Another unique feature is the PowerTap selector, which lets you tap for single coil tone, dual coil (humbucker tone), or a combination of the two (single coil clarity while affording the beefier low end of a humbucker).
Rounding things off are a Accu-cast B120 bridge with fully adjustable string saddles, and smooth tuning machines for precise adjustments.
Squier Classic Vibe '70s Left-Handed Jazz Bass
Fender’s Jazz Bass is one of the most iconic bass designs in existence. With the Squier Classic Vibe ‘70’s model, you’ll find a very solid and capable bass that brings left handed players into the mix while offering a nice feature set for what you’ll pay.
Jazz Bass mojo is in the house, with the body being a faithful replica of the classic design – just mirror imaged for left handed bassists. It’s made from poplar, which is a softer tonewood that has a sense of mellowness to its sound.
Maple is used for the neck, and it has a ‘C’ shaped profile that many players find to be extremely comfortable.
The fingerboard is made from maple as well, with block inlays instead of dots for fret markers.
The Classic Vibe ‘70’s Jazz is decided low frills in the electronics department, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t of good quality.
Pickups are Alnico single coils of Fender’s own design, and they are controlled by individual volume knobs (perfect for blending the two signals) along with a master tone control. No fancy-schmancy active stuff here, but you may not really need it.
In the hardware department you’ll find vintage styling on both the saddle-style bridge and the open geared tuning machines.
All in all, the Classic Vibe ‘70s Jazz is a pretty impressive left handed bass – it’s more than worthy enough to find a home in your collection.
Ibanez GSR200BL 4-String Left-Handed Electric Bass
Now I’ll turn the spotlight on another Ibanez left handed bass that comes from the SR line – the GSR200BL.
It’s yet another model on my list that strives to provide the best features for the practicing and gigging bassist while focusing on value as well.
As with the SR300E we looked at earlier, the GSR200BL features a nyatoh body that has an attractive design along with a rich walnut finish. While the walnut does look nice, it would be even nicer if there would be some other color options. Not a deal breaker in my book, though.
An Ibanez GS4 maple neck provides the strength and stability needed when dealing with those high tension bass strings, and the jatoba fretboard with simple dot inlays provides a tone similar to rosewood while having an understated beauty.
There’s nothing amazingly earth shattering about the electronics on the GSR200BL, but no worries – I have little doubt that you’ll be able to coax all the tone you need from it.
The setup is fairly simple, with two Ibanez Dynamix pickups (each voiced for the neck and bridge positions) that are managed with separate volume controls and a master tone knob.
One bell and whistle that the GSR200BL does have is the Phat II EQ control, which gives you an additional active bass boost.
While the hardware may not be as top-shelf as some of the more expensive models, it’s more than suitable.
The B10 bridge features individually adjustable saddles as you’d find on higher end basses, but the bridge body itself is constructed from a die cast piece of metal as compared to a more rugged ‘machined block’ design.
Overall, the GSR200BL accomplishes its mission – a relatively solid performer that’s targeted at the beginner/budget end of the market.
Sterling by Music Man S.U.B. Ray4
Yet another time-honored bass is the Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 4.
Music Man has taken design and created the Sterling S.U.B Ray4, which is geared to be a left handed replica of the original while keeping the level of investment to a manageable level.
The S.U.B Ray4 features a basswood body that comes in your choice of gloss black…or gloss black. It’s unfortunate that there aren’t as many color options as there are with the right handed models, but it is what it is.
Regardless, you’ll find the same relative shape as the higher-end StingRay4. The left handed model has a bolt-on hard maple neck along with a maple fretboard with 22 frets and simple black dot inlays.
One humbucking pickup in the bridge position is controlled by a master volume with a 2-band active EQ. It’s a very simple configuration that may not have the range of tonal options that a two pickup setup may offer, but it’s certainly more than adequate.
What you’ll find as far as the hardware is concerned is as expected for a bass at this price point. Open gear tuners are loaded on the headstock, and the bridge – while having adjustable saddles – uses die cast metal for the base instead of a machined chunk of steel.
All of that being said, none of it is ‘bad’ or ‘substandard’; quite the contrary – the hardware choices are completely functional.
Many players love the essence of a StingRay, and the S.U.B Ray4 is a great way to get into that head space without the added cost.
Fender Player Jazz Bass Pau Ferro Fingerboard
So what’s the difference between the Fender Player Jazz Bass and the Squier Classic Vibe ‘70’s that we already looked at?
Squier is Fender’s ‘budget’ line, and therefore the focus is on providing a combination of quality and value. The Fender Player Jazz Bass, on the other hand, is the ‘real deal’.
It’s very simply this – it’s a left handed version of the long-respected Fender Jazz Bass.
It features a solid alder body with an attractive gloss sunburst finish, and the ‘C’ profiled maple neck is capped with a Pau Ferro fretboard that has 20 medium jumbo frets.
Keeping with the traditional Jazz Bass design, the Player Jazz has two Alnico 5 single coil pickups, each with their own volume control.
Why two volumes? Because that way you can blend the signal from each pickup to your tastes. Overall tone adjustments are made with a single knob, keeping things quick, easy, and effective.
Period-correct hardware tops things off, with a bridge that features individually adjustable saddles along with open gear tuning machines.
The Fender Player Jazz Bass is one fine left handed thump machine, and there’s no denying the level of ‘cool’ that comes with it. Oh…and it sounds and plays pretty good too…
Ibanez TMB100L Left-Handed Electric Bass Guitar
With the TMB100L, Ibanez brings you a left handed bass guitar that may not be the most advanced, but it’s got enough under the hood to be worthy of your consideration.
The TMB100L has a poplar body with a distinct retro flair; it almost reminded me of a Fender Jazzmaster at first glance. Well, it’s not exactly the same – it is an Ibanez, after all, but it’s close enough to get that same vibe.
Following with many other Ibanez models, you’ll find a maple neck with a jatoba fretboard that has single pearloid dot inlays to help navigate the 20 medium frets.
The TMB100L has a unique pickup configuration, with a DXJ single coil in the bridge position and a DXP split single coil in the ‘middle’ spot.
What’s really neat – and a feature not usually found on a bass in this price range – are two concentric knobs for volume and tone adjustments.
One has bass boost & cut in the middle, with a treble control on the outer ring (giving a 2-band EQ). The other has a master volume in the middle along with balance/mix adjustment on the concentric portion. It’s a great way to add flexibility without taking up real estate.
Hardware choices include the Ibanez B10 bridge, which provides full adjustability in an economical package. Another distinct design element is the angled input jack, similar to what you’d see on a Strat.
All of this helps to make the TMB100L a surprisingly capable entry level left handed model that may be able to stand right along with more expensive ones.
Dean Edge 09 Left Handed Bass Guitar
It’s fair to say that some left handed bass guitar models (really, any model) were targeted specifically for a certain demographic.
The Dean Edge 09 is unmistakably meant to be an entry level offering, but that’s OK – as long as it does what it was meant to do (and do it well), all should be good, right?
The basswood body has a distinctive shape, with a horn on the upper cutaway that may seem a bit longer than normal. The proportion may seem a little odd, but it is comfortable and isn’t a hindrance in any way.
Regarding the neck, here you’ll find a chunk of maple with a true walnut fretboard that has 22 frets and simple dot inlays.
You’ve heard me say ‘no frills’ a bit, and that certainly applies to the Edge 09. A single DMT pickup is controlled by basic volume and tone controls. No active electronics or coil tapping here…but let’s be real – you wouldn’t really expect to need those features in a beginner’s left handed bass.
Sealed die cast tuners along with a die cast bridge (both with a black finish) cap off the hardware. Not top of the line, but again – it wasn’t meant to be.
Entry level basses can be often thought of as junk, but my honest opinion is that shouldn’t be a concern with the Dean Edge 09. Is it in the same league as an expensive pro-level instrument? Of course not – but for what it was intended to be, it checks all the boxes.
Fender Player Precision Left Handed Bass
Fender Precision, or ‘P-Bass’, models are right up there with the Telecaster and the Strat as some of the most iconic designs ever produced.
‘Iconic’ may get overused sometimes, but there isn’t really any other way to say it.
With the Fender Player Precision, you get the same thing as the Player Jazz we checked out – a left handed bass that’s 100% Fender to the core.
The body is made from alder with an impressive black gloss finish, and it’s an exact duplicate of the right handed model…just reversed to left handed players can enjoy the same experience.
A ‘C’ shaped maple neck and a maple fretboard give you smooth action and playing comfort.
One split single coil pickup is loaded into the Player Precision, and with single volume and tone knobs you may really have all you need to get that legendary Fender tone.
From a hardware standpoint, the vintage style bridge and open geared tuning machines keep up with the classic theme of a good P-Bass.
Yeah, you can get more expensive Fender Precision models. But once you try out the Player series, you may question why you’d pay more…
Schecter Stiletto Extreme-4 Left Handed Bass Guitar
Finally, we’ll take a look at a great left handed model from a brand that isn’t typically associated with good bass guitars.
The Schecter Stiletto Extreme is exactly what it says it is – a bass with extreme styling and features that may fool you into thinking you should be paying a lot more for it…
The first thing that strikes you is the aggressive (but sleek) look of the mahogany body with its quilted maple top. The black cherry finish really accents the patterning of the wood and commands your attention.
In the neck department you’ll find a maple construction with a true rosewood fretboard. No boring dot inlays here…no sir…here you have a very distinctive modified triangle shape comprised of pearloid and abalone. It adds a touch of visual elegance that isn’t typically seen on many other models.
Two Schecter Diamond pickups are directly mounted to the body, and you can cultivate your sound within a wide range thanks to the master volume, blend control, and the active 2-band EQ.
A fully adjustable Diamond bridge is featured on the Stiletto Extreme 4, and the tuning machines are smooth enough to make those fine adjustments with relative ease.
The Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 certainly lives up to its name, in my opinion. It’s a highly flexible left handed bass guitar that looks just as great as it plays and sounds.
Do you need a left handed bass guitar?
Truthfully? No…no you don’t.
Practically? Yes…you probably do.
Proof positive of this is taking a look at Hendrix. Yeah, I’m referring to his 6 string, but all he did was take a right handed Strat and turned it upside down. So technically, you don’t really need a left handed bass.
Playing a right handed bass in everyday life may not be the easiest thing, though. Body shapes and contours will simply be in the wrong spot, and that can lead to a great deal of fatigue.
Hardware may be a concern as well. Think about it – flipping a right handed bass over will place the knobs right where your left forearm would normally be. Not only would that be annoying, you might accidentally move the knobs without intending to.
So, taking this all into account, your next question may be “can any bass guitar be left handed?”. Short answer is ‘yes’. Longer answer is ‘yeah, but you probably wouldn’t like playing it that way for very long’.
Is there a difference between Right and Left handed Bass guitars?
In the most basic sense as far as feature sets are concerned, no – there isn’t any real difference. They would both have the same components and construction, electronics, and hardware.
If you took any right handed model and placed its left handed sibling right next to it, the only difference you’ll note is that they are mirror images of each other. So, the only true distinction between the two is strictly a matter of ergonomics, with a left handed bass being designed for the comfort and convenience of a left handed player.
What are the best bass strings for a left handed bass?
Whether right or left handed, the options are identical. It mostly comes down to your preference and style of playing.
We’ve put together an in-depth bass strings article covering all the technical aspects to help you work out what sorts of strings make up the different tone scapes. There are a variety of bass strings worth experimenting with, some are aimed at making the bass an easier instrument to play, others are purely there to give you maximum impact on sound quality.
As with all things in music, it may take some experimentation to figure out what works best for you.
How to choose the best left handed bass guitar?
Simply put, don’t get attracted by the lure of a low price tag. That being said, these days some budget models can actually go neck and neck with models that oftentimes cost several times more.
That’s due mostly to the build processes that many manufacturers have introduced to their work flows. Computer based machinery does a lot of the heavy lifting, and that can result in tighter tolerances and improved quality.
So…yeah…don’t get the cheapest thing around just because it’ll save you a few bucks. At the same time, don’t completely take lower priced models out of the running. Sounds contradictory, I know, but some of my best instruments over the years haven’t necessarily been the ‘top of the line’ models.
Price is just one factor though (albeit a pretty doggone important one). Let’s say you are looking at two models that are relatively the same price. I’d always recommend to actually play them before you make your decision. True, in today’s world of online shopping that may be getting harder and harder to do.
What I’ve done in the past is to do my research, then go to the local guitar store (either a local joint or one of the ‘big box’ retailers), and then spend some good quality seat time trying a few models out.
Trust me when I say this – many times you’ll know ‘the one’ the minute you strap it on and play a few notes. It’ll feel right…sound right…look right…and (hopefully) be right for your wallet.
Planets will align, the clouds will part, the sun will shine down on you…all that stuff.
Left handed basses are just mirror images of their right handed companions. Feature sets are typically the same – it’s all a matter of the design being made for a lefty vs. a righty.
So I think it’s safe to say that I used the same thought process I typically use when I chose the Ibanez SR300E 4 String as my pick for the best left handed bass on my list. It’s a great combination of features, good looks, playability, tone, and – last but not least – price.
It’s also safe to say that left handed bass players are in the minority for the most part.
That means the audience for this roundup may not be as large as some of the others on NuMusician, but that certainly doesn’t mean that your opinions are any less important.
Make your voices heard to the masses – take a few minutes to leave some comments below and let’s get this party started.
Lefties of the world, unite!