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Southpaw Guitars Marks 35th Anniversary

...current proprietor Jim Duncan and his friend Bill Townsend with just a handful of instruments, the shop opened in 1980 as Trader’s Corner Guitars. Two years later they moved the business to Houston’s Bellaire district and renamed it Southpaw Guitars. By the early ’90s, Duncan had grown his customer base well beyond the Houston market, building up a mailing list of 8,000 left-handed guitarists across the country. A lefty player himself, he also worked with manufacturers to make left-handed guitar options more plentiful, accessible, and affordable. With the advent of the internet, business exploded as customers poured into his web store from all over the world.

Today, Southpaw Guitars is believed to be the world’s largest guitar shop for lefties. At any given time, it stocks more than 900 guitars from Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Gretsch, Ibanez, and many other major and boutique brands. It’s the world’s largest lefty-only Gibson dealer, as well as a major retailer for lefty Fender Mexico and USA models. In total, about 97 percent of the shop’s sales are left-handed guitars, though some right-handed models are always in stock. Top lefty players including Andreas von Holst, Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos), and Marc Bonilla (Keith Emerson), are among its customers.

“One of every ten of us who walks the earth is left-handed, which means about one of every ten people who plays guitar is going to be left-handed,” Duncan said. “It’s been a pleasure and passion to be able to meet the guitar needs of those of us in the left-handed community.”


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