Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Dreadnaught.....Which one?

Need some advice. I own 4 guitars. A Martin000-18, a Taylor Mini, a Zager 50CE, and a Zager Parlor 12Fret. Interested enough, I’ve just picked up this guitar hobby a little over a year ago and don’t nearly play as well as you would expect someone with 4 guitars to play. But, I’m looking to add one more. I keep hearing about how beautiful the dreadnaught sounds, so I think I want to add maybe my last to my collection . At least until I can actually play better. Any recommendations. And don’t say check with a Jake at the General Store, because I already have and there’s a little hitch…I’m a lefty and it’s nearly impossible, according to Jake to get a lefty with the models they stock. So, any recommendations. My price range I think might top out at $2500.
Thanks .

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There are a ton of great guitars in that range. I suggest going and playing a ton of different ones. Play different brands, different woods, 12 fret/14 fret. My “go to” is a D18, but your preference might be totally different.

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Wow, being lefty makes it hard. If you can make it to Nashville… well, that’s obvious. If you can’t take that kind of road trip, I’d suggest checking the mandolin cafe classifieds. They have lots of new and used instruments on there selling in all price ranges. I hope you can find something

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Might check with Elderly Instruments

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I’ll second Mike’s recommendation, especially if you’re looking for a Martin. I’ve played 2 Martins that were hanging side by side in the store. One was dull and lifeless while its neighbor filled the room.

While not a popular opinion in bluegrass circles, I absolutely love my Taylor DN3, and unlike Martin, the time is impressively consistent from one guitar to the next. Don’t be fooled by price, though. My DN3 is the cheapest all solid wood dread they make, but I’d put it’s tone and playability up against any of their high end models.

So, is there more to it than just replacing the nut and saddle to get a lefty? I honestly don’t know.

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I’ve played Mark’s Taylor and can second that it’s good, I didn’t know it was all solid. I know that some guitar shapes can’t be converted (any cutaway) but am also curious if you can convert a dread, and how?

You can make a guitar functional by reslotting or replacing the bridge and replacing the saddle and nut. At that point it works, but it would not be optimal. The pickguard is then in the wrong spot. On a very new guitar with an over-the-finish guard, the guard is easily remedied. The bracing on a dreadnought guitar isn’t typically symmetrical. I am not sure how that would affect tone, but I am pretty sure there would be an effect. Who knows… it might be a good thing, but you really won’t know until it is done. Long and short of it, to me it seems like a bunch of work towards an unknown result.

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Actually, check out the history of one of Bryan Sutton’s guitars, I think it’s a standard that someone converted to lefty and put a second pickguard on, and then he got it, changed it back and left the second guard. It’s a very easily recognizable guitar, I’m not sure if I got the story completely right?

Don’t know why I didn’t think about the pick guard, except that my Taylor doesn’t have one, and I like it that way. :slight_smile:

This is peripheral to the question, but perhaps worth mentioning in case there is someone who is just thinking about starting on guitar. When the issue of a “lefty” guitar comes up I always advise against it. When starting, it is as easy for a southpaw to learn to play a conventionally-strung instrument. One of the joys of playing the guitar is the omnipresence of instruments, allowing you to pick up whatever is handy and playing it. But it is extremely rare to find a left-hand strung guitar lying around. I’d be curious to hear what others think about this.

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Yep, great advice. I have a 5-year-old lefty in my house and she’s doing great on the piano. Curiously her right hand comes more naturally on the piano! I’ll be teaching her to play and shoot right handed (shooting will depend more on dominant eye).

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Couldn’t agree more!.. But the key part of your statement is “When first starting out”. Once established and well used to playing left handed, it would be rather difficult to start learning to play right handed.

Ben’s five year old playing piano brings up a point. When playing piano, you’re using both hands as on any stringed instrument. I’m not aware of any left handed pianos, (but that’s only to my knowledge… maybe there is such a thing).

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I’m a lefty who played piano, and I feel my right hand was always better. I started learning guitar left handed, but after a year of no progression (very hard to learn), I switched to right handed guitar, and I’m glad I did (because who wants to find a reasonably priced left handed banjo/mandolin!). I feel I’m pretty good at fretting, but I’m really bad at flatpicking (non-dominant hand). I have no problem picking and banjo though…

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Well, I started this conversation about which dreadnaught I should get, but after mentioning I was a lefty the conversation took a left turn ( ha, get it… left turn) about why I should consider becoming a righty guitar player. Not going to happen! I’m a true lefty. The right hand is just for looks…lol. Also, I’ll be 72 on March 4th, and I don’t want to learn right handed…hahhaha

Anyway, though I would let everyone know I decided on a dreadnaught… Ordered the Martin HD 28 Sunburst. Coming in around the Middle of March. Nice because birthday gift to myself. Can’t wait to hear the big sound everybody talks about that comes from the dreadnaught.

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Hey Robert! Welcome to the board!

Truer words were never spoken. As a kid, I used to try to pick up the guitar and play it left handed. I was forced to play right handed, which I didn’t like at first, but once I got in to it, I never regretted it. Not once have I seen a guitar while out and about and not been able to play it because it was left handed.

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@Lefty70.
Martin HD 28 Sunburst
Nice!

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Then there was… jimi hendrix

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