Left-handed Luthiers

Well, not that they themselves are left-handed, or perhaps they are. I’m talking about luthiers with excellent reputations making the best-quality instruments, and willing to make them for left-handed players. Sometimes a lefty conversion will cost a bit more, but none of the following luthiers charge excessive amounts of money for a conversion. My left-handed viola from Gliga was $100 more than a comparable righty. L&C charge the most for lefties, $500 more, but their violas are over $6,000 so it’s not a significant proportional addition to the price. Wood Violins charge an extra $200 for a lefty (and another $200 to build to viola scale).

In other words, expect to pay 10% more for a left-handed instrument. A touch more money, but nothing exorbitant, and more than worth it for an instrument that you can play, as opposed to one your teacher can play but you can’t.

Luis & Clark — makers of those arresting carbon-fiber instruments, including a cello for Yo-Yo Ma. They come in the typical beautiful gloss-black with that pinstripe look of the carbon-fiber material, but can be painted other colors as well. The black instruments are the most popular, but brown is also a popular color. Personally, I’d like red. 🙂 Designed by classical cellist with the Boston Symphony Luis Leguia and manufactured with the help of carbon-fiber expert Steven Clark.

Gliga USA — Romanian makers who can create left-handed acoustic versions of any and all string instruments. My own is a Gliga lefty, and it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m far from the person to comment on its tone as I can’t get a good tone out of anything at this early stage, but I’m in love with it, and users of standard acoustic instruments both lefty and righty speak very highly of Gliga. The various levels are made by Vasile Gliga, made under his supervision, and factory-made.

Mark Wood Violins — Famous makers of top-quality electric violins, violas, and cellos. Must be seen (and heard) to be believed. They are designed by brilliant ex-Trans-Siberian Orchestra violinist Mark Wood.

Adventurous Muse — Georgia luthier Don Rickert’s online store. He makes wonderful traditional violins/fiddles, but he tends to color outside the lines in some interesting ways, making octave violins, pochettes, and travel fiddles as well. I have a lefty viola-scale pochette by him that is a lovely device, and am planning on getting a viola d’amore from him eventually, though it may be a while. 🙂

There are other luthiers that you may encounter who will tell you that you “should” buy one of their right-handed instruments instead because you “should” be playing right-handed. I won’t mention them, and with this handy list, you need not concern yourself with them either. 🙂 As I said above, spend your money on an instrument for you. Your teacher has no business demanding that you spend your money on an instrument optimized for her/him.

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