News

Back from Holiday

Hi everyone. I have just returned from 2 weeks overseas in deepest, darkest Africa. I have literally just flown back in to Sydney and just arrived home from the airport, time: 12:13am 27/9/17. I have not seen any emails or messages since I have been away and I will attend to everything once we resume which will be on Monday 2 October. It was a great break!

26 Sep 2017

Well, that didn't last long...

Retire? Can't do it. I lasted a month... However, I have had a very detailed discussion with Charles, who is the builder of Gaskell guitars and basses, and has his own popular brand, and we have decided to make some changes and launch a new lefty-exclusive guitar brand: Kevin Gaskell Guitars. Yes, you heard it right. I have learned a lot in the last 10 years and my knowledge and ability to design and produce left handed guitars has evolved beyond what I could have imagined when I started. It has been a real "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" experience. It seems a waste to let all of that go. There still isn't a guitar manufacturer today that makes just left handed guitars. Gaskell Guitars is the one-and-only brand 100% dedicated to left handed players. 100% over 10 years. To be fair, the Chinese have been getting progressively better and better at making guitars. In the last 10 years they have learned from the best and they are turning out very good instruments made of good materials. They do have a trick though that can throw people off: they will build a "$600 dollar", but put a set of Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio pickups in it and it…

22 Aug 2017

Australian Process for Exporting Guitars with Rosewood

In January 2017 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (C.I.T.E.S) prohibited the trade of rosewood due to the destruction of the resource by China. In true Chinese fashion, China has raped and pillaged a number of countries for their rosewood. This has now impacted on the rest of the world by way of restrictions that apply internationally. For Australia the process to export any musical instrument which contains rosewood is relatively simple, however it is time consuming. I have spoken to the Australian Department of Environment & Energy and it appears that the situation is just as much a headache for them as it is for businesses and individuals. I found the lady I spoke to to be very helpful actually. There are two forms required to be filled by the exporter. The first is what is called a "Pre-CITES certificate" which applies to products that were manufactured with content obtained prior to a CITES restriction. The second form is a Statutory Declaration with accompanying evidence that the rosewood content was obtained prior to January 2017. This is most easily achieved by showing the invoice or receipt for the purchase of the rosewood from the Australian wholesaler. Most of my…

14 Aug 2017

Mother passing

I have been in New Zealand for the last week. After a short battle with cancer my mother passed away July 31, 2017 at 7:44am New Zealand time. I will be returning to Australia in about a week. There are a number of finished guitars that were meant to be sent this coming Monday. I will not be sending guitars on this day and will do so upon my return to Australia. My mother was 78. Kevin Gaskell   UPDATE: August 2. For some stupid reason Microsoft has decided to lock me out of my usual email account. To contact me please use onlylefthandguitars@yahoo.com.au. My usual email address is not working and I have not seen any emails since I arrived in New Zealand.

30 Jul 2017

New Restrictions on exporting guitars made with rosewood

In case you have not heard, from 2 January 2017, all species of rosewood have been put under CITES restrictions with the result than any newly manufactured musical instrument with any content of rosewood is now required to have a CITES certificate of proof of legality and sustainability of the rosewood content. This is an absolute DISASTER for the international music industry. The cause of this has been China. The Chinese have singly destroyed the rosewood industry by their obsessions, greed and disregard for everyone and everything but themselves, bringing about the need to regulate the industry to stop the Chinese onslaught. From this point onwards the process to export a guitar with rosewood components is simply a MESS that an exporter has no choice but work their way through. For the last of the custom built Gaskell guitars that I have just finished I am faced with this dilemma. Governments being governments will put us through the hoops, use this as a cash-grab for their own coffers, and in short make it even harder to bring wonderful high quality musical instruments into the world. I have no doubt. I am now researching how to go about sending the finished guitars to the various countries…

21 Jul 2017

2017 and beyond...

2016 marked our tenth year in business and in those last 10 years we have made a lot of guitars and fulfilled a lot of dreams. I have lost count as to how many Gaskell players there are in the world. It's a lot. We have consistently made awesome left handed guitars and basses. Gaskell guitars are and always were excellent and unique instruments. However, from July 2017 I will no longer be taking orders for custom left handed guitars. It would be correct to say that I am retiring from the industry. I have reached the point in Life where the time to reassess one's priorities and activities in Life is upon me. Australia's Left Wing politics have continually made it hard for Australian businesses and Australians to survive and enjoy the benefits of their hard work. Australian lifestyle and culture has been destroyed by the Globalist Left Wing agenda. With age comes wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience and from using one's intellect to put two and two together when things don't otherwise add up. Destruction of cultures, identity, individuality, and the vilification of freedom of speech are goals of the Left Wing agenda. Look at Germany and Canada. Watch what is going to happen in France with their new Socialist/Communist government. It is…

10 Jun 2017

Website hacked

Sorry everyone, but the website got rather brutally attacked recently and we have to do some major work to fix everything. Right now the website is a major mess. It is going to take some time to fix this. PLEASE EMAIL US in the meantime if you have questions about Gaskell guitars and basses. We ask you to be patient while we fix this.

08 Apr 2017

Christmas Builds

Just an update on the builds going in the shop. I have finished just about all the Christmas builds and we are still on target for our other builds due for completion in 2017. If you are considering a build, now is the best time to place the order, especially if you are wanting an EXPLORER, FIREBIRD, or HYBRID guitar. I have a number of each in progress. I will be going to New Zealand over Christmas and New Years and our last day of production for 2016 is December 23. We will be back on deck on 9 January. Looking forward to the new year! I will be announcing some exciting expansion news when I get back that will be relevant for left handed guitarists the world over. The future looks great!

22 Dec 2016

Gibson to make left handed guitars again?

Guitar sales must be a bit slow at Gibson. When they're down Gibson has in the past tried to salvage things by suddenly making left handed guitars too. Then when things turn around they suddenly dump them again. They have been doing this for years. Flip flop, flip flop. The last time Gibson made left handed guitars of any sort was 3 years ago. Or put another way: for the last 3 years there have been zero left handed guitars from Gibson USA. Our good friend Neal from Leftyfretz in the UK is the authority on left handed guitar news, hands down. I would be surprised if there was a single left handed guitarist in the world today (with a computer, tablet or smartphone) that doesn't know about Leftyfretz. Neal is our best friend, really. I got this news from Leftyfretz. So, what's the news? Gibson will be offering left handed guitars from 2017. Yeah, yeah, yeah - heard it all before you say? Token Les Pauls again? What about left handed Explorers, Firebirds and Flying V's? That's the real question. We already know Gibson periodically makes and then stops making lefty Les Pauls and sometimes an SG. We know that lefty Explorers have not been made since the 1980s. We also…

12 Oct 2016

Who Makes Left Handed Explorers?

Gibson does not and never will make another left handed Explorer. That is a lost cause if you are waiting for the day they do. The last time a production run of left handed Explorer guitars occurred was in 1985. As of 2016, Gibson makes no left handed guitars of any type, not even in Custom Shop. Gibson are not your friends.   Dean Guitars, from USA, have occasionally made small runs of their lefty ZX model Explorer, not currently as of 2016. However, since 2015 Dean have been offering two production Dave Mustaine signature "Zero Trust" models in left hand. The Dave Mustaine shape is more pointed and more aggressive than the Gibson original Explorer.   ESP, from Japan, make something reminiscent of an Explorer, the very cool James Hetfield "Snakebyte" which in itself is reminiscent of the old Ibanez Destroyer from the 1980's, but at US$ 4500 (AU$ 6000) the lefty costs almost double the price of a Gaskell Custom Shop left handed Explorer and isn't as good. Also, it is only available in one colour: white. They have another model, their EX series, which is similar to an original Explorer but very sharp and pointy. There are two lefty models available in this series.   LTD, ESP's entry-level guitar range also offers…

08 Aug 2016

Disappointing News re Kluson tuners

Firebird guitars have been around since the late 1950's. There are two distinct and unique characteristics about Firebird guitars: they have banjo tuners, and they have three-part bodies. That's a Firebird! To be honest I have never yet made a left handed Firebird with banjo tuners. They've always been made with regular or locking tuners. Banjo tuners don't have a good reputation. However, you can't call a Firebird a "Firebird" if it doesn't have a three-part body in my opinion (yes, I am having a go at your "Firebird Studio 70's Tribute", Mr. Gibson! A Firebird is not a slab-body guitar like a Stratocaster or a Telecaster!) I have been looking into banjo tuners for a Firebird build. As you know, TonePros, who owns Kluson, have recently "relaunched" the Kluson range of guitar parts and one of their new products are banjo tuners for Firebird guitars. Woo hoo! This is pretty great, right? Actually ... no. Kluson don't make left handed banjo tuners. Oh, come on guys! Really? This is not good news for us lefties, and for a custom left handed guitar builder like myself it means I cannot offer this feature on custom left handed Firebirds should someone want this. And what about other brands? Steinberger make the banjo tuners…

31 Jul 2016

FREE Left handed guitar knobs

I've just gotten in a new batch of left handed speed knobs. They aren't always easy to get and to be honest, in the past, I haven't given much attention to whether control knobs were right or left handed. When we were making the factory Gaskells (2006-2013) the models that came with numbered plastic knobs were always fitted with right handed knobs by the factory. In those days it was hard to find lefty knobs, and the guitars were priced at the sub $1000 category so generic knobs were a cost-saver to help keep the guitars in that price range. All factory-made Gaskell guitars that had speed knobs or bell knobs went out to customers with right handed knobs! I don't have exact figures but there are several hundred left handed Gaskells around the world with right handed control knobs! I HAVE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. If you have a Gaskell guitar, any model, from 2006-2013 with right handed control knobs on it, I am prepared to send to you FOR FREE a set of left handed speed knobs to replace the ones on your guitar. This applies to any Gaskell bought either directly from us (Australia or USA) or through any retail shop, ie. Lefty Guitars (Belgium), Downtown Music (Sydney), PKs Music (Perth),…

04 Jul 2016

Kahler tremolos for left handed guitars

Personally, I like Kahler® tremolos. I had a guitar with an original "patent pending" Kahler tremolo back in the day. It was solid brass. I also like Floyd Rose tremolos, so I am not biased towards either. They are similar yet different. I like both. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. Much has been said about the comparisons of Floyd Rose and Kahler tremolos and I am not going to get into a repeat of that here. That's something for you and Google to undertake together if you want to go there. For left handed guitarists there is one very solid reason to like Kahler products: KAHLER TREMOLOS ALL FIT LEFT HANDED GUITARS! Floyd Rose options for lefties are very limited. All Kahlers are made for right or left hand orientation. The basic difference between a Floyd Rose tremolo and a Kahler tremolo is that Floyd Rose is a FULCRUM based mechanism and Kahler is a CAM based mechanism. The fulcrum is like a "see saw." The whole tremolo moves on a pivot. The two posts at each end of the tremolo hold it in place. When you push the tremolo arm down the strings loosen right off the saddles and become slack and floppy. The strings return to position and original tension when released. When…

18 Jun 2016

Floyd Rose Tremolos for Left handed Guitars

There are a number of tremolo models by Floyd Rose, with the higher end ones made in Germany (Original Floyd Rose models) and the budget ones made in Korea (1000 series and Special series.) The only genuine Floyd Rose left handed tremolo available is the German-made OFR model. There are other licensed makers of Floyd Rose tremolos (Japanese and Korean) and there are some illegal Chinese knock-offs. Price is an accurate representation of authenticity. I am a big fan of Floyd Rose tremolos and I am very familiar with the OFR, Schaller and Gotoh versions. Since we went 100% custom shop in 2013, I confess that I have only built Gaskells with OFR tremolos and I have not been asked to build one with a Schaller or Gotoh yet. If you are keen on having a floating tremolo for your build, such as on the Gaskell EAGLE or EXPLORER, then here are your choices. ORIGINAL FLOYD ROSE FRT100L This is the left handed version of the original OFR tremolo and is available in chrome, satin chrome, black, gold, black nickel, vintage copper and satin pearl. The 100 series is made in Germany and is the flagship model. The only other Floyd Rose original that is available left handed is the 1000 series EVH…

05 Jun 2016

Friedman Amps

I've had the pleasure of trying a FRIEDMAN amp recently. Charles (Gaskell co-builder) is the Australian distributor for Friedman amps. He has come to know Dave Friedman personally. He is a big fan of these amps. When it comes to amps I am merely an "end user" so when Charles got them in he insisted I try one. I have played some very nice amps in my time. What can I say about the Friedman amps? They are at the very top end of the market. They will set you back a pretty penny, but for the sound, appearance and quality, the price tag is not wrong. Like custom guitars and factory made guitars, there is a stark, easily discernible difference between a $5000 amp and a $1000 amp. How do they sound? One word: AMAZING. When you play a good amp, you tend to play better. It forces you to raise your game, because every little nuance and subtlety of your playing style, the capabilities of your guitar, and your finesse is highlighted with the best amplifiers. Friedman amps are the top of the line. Not surprisingly it is very easy to just "slip into" this new level of playing and sound with the Friedman amp. On clean,…

26 May 2016

Contact Details fixed

It has just been brought to my attention that our CONTACT US page contact details were not working! I am not sure how long this was like this, but it has just been fixed. We apologize for any inconvenience. Feel free to use the Contact Form to contact us about your next left handed guitar or bass.

11 May 2016

The Changing World of Left Handed Guitars

As lefty players very well know, left handed guitar availability has never been consistent with the big manufacturers. Brands like Ibanez and Gibson flip-flop between making and discontinuing left handed guitars year in and year out. You never know what is going to happen next. PRS makes batches of (overpriced) left handed guitars every so often and then are never heard of again. In other words left handed guitar availability comes and goes. I've stopped writing about who makes or doesn't make left handed guitars anymore. It changes so much. I was surprised to see that Epiphone this year (2016) is making left handed guitars again. They are one of the greatest flip-floppers of them all. As with Gibson though, Epiphone will never make Explorers, Firebirds, or Flying Vs. For guitars like those you should invest in a Gaskell. We have been making them for years. Those models are what we are most famous for. There are a number of lefty-friendly guitar brands that make intermediate level guitars and my hat goes off to them for their consistency and respect for left handed players. They include Schecter, ESP, Tokai, Gretsch, and Dean. They are your friends. "Enemy brands" include Gibson, BC Rich, Ibanez (recently), Fender, Rickenbacker, and PRS. There are no good reasons why they don't make left handed guitars.…

20 Mar 2016

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