Are you a lefty, in other words, a left-handed person? And are you wondering, “Can I play ukulele if I am a lefty?” or “Can a ukulele be left-handed?”
You are not alone in this buddy, and I am here to assure you that you can definitely play the ukulele even if you are a left-handed person. In fact, whether you are a left-handed or a right-handed person has very little to do with which musical instruments you wish to play.
There are left-handed ukuleles for lefties like you. But let’s explore some interesting aspects of playing the ukulele that will clarify all the confusions and inspire you to pick up a ukulele whether is a lefty or a righty ukulele.
How You Can Play the Ukulele If You are a Lefty?
Let me blow your mind by presenting you with some very interesting factors about the ukulele or any other stringed instruments like an acoustic guitar or a classical guitar. Having more than 10 years of experience playing stringed instruments like acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass-guitars, and ukulele, let me share some wisdom.
When you start learning a stringed instrument, it really doesn’t matter whether you are a lefty or a righty. If you are a beginner, both of your hands have to learn new techniques and develop muscle memories from scratch.
You’d be surprised to know how little difference is there between a left-handed ukulele and a right-handed ukulele. There are some myths about the struggles of a left-handed ukulele player which are hardly a problem in reality. Let me show you the myths and the truths regarding it:
Myths And Truths About Playing the Ukulele for a Left-Handed Person
|A left-handed player has to go through the struggle of learning a right-handed ukulele.||Any beginner has to go through this struggle regardless of being lefty or righty. If you learn with a right-handed uke from the beginning, then it would be natural to you. And yes, it is possible.|
|All the chord charts and ukulele tabs are for right-handed ukes. So, it’s difficult for a left-handed player to read or interpret the chord chart.||There is no difficulty at all. Both the chord charts for left-handed and right-handed ukuleles are available on the internet.|
|If you play your ukulele upside-down, the ascending and descending are reversed.||Again, this is from the right-handed player’s viewpoint. If you learn to play the ukulele or other stringed instruments upside down, then reverse Ascending or Descending would be your natural playing style.|
|Playing live is problematic because you won’t be in proper orientation with your right-handed band-member||This is ridiculous. S/he who has such a thought probably has never played or seen someone playing live music with guitars or ukuleles.|
|Spare parts are not quite available for left-handed ukuleles in case your ukulele requires fixing.||Even if you have a left-handed ukulele and it is broken or needs repairing with some spare parts, any standard spare parts such as strings, tuning pegs, bridge, etc. work full well regardless of the ukulele type.|
Now, let’s forget about these myths, and feel free to choose whichever approach you wish to follow to start learning and playing your first ukulele.
Play Right-Handed from The Beginning
That’s right, I’m suggesting you to learn playing ukulele the right-handed way; that is, strum with your right hand and use your left hand on the fretboard. You might be thinking, “How is it going to be possible? I am a lefty!”
But trust me, even if you start learning the left-hand style, it would give you very little advantage or no advantage at all. Like I mentioned before, both of your hands have to be trained from the scratch.
Some of the most talented guitarists like Mark Knofler, Gary Moore, Johnny Winter are right-handed players but left-hand dominant in their normal life. And they have rocked the whole world. Of course, they are not ukulele players but you get the idea.
- No worries about finding a scarce left-handed instrument
- You can easily borrow one of your right-handed friend’s ukulele
- Abundant mentors available, no problem finding tutorials and lessons
- Might take a little more time to adjust and learn
Flip The Ukulele and Play it Upside Down
Some of the left-handed guitarists have adopted this method as well!! The Great Blues king, Albert King (his name is the King as well) used to play his guitars upside down without altering the strings.
This could be a very promising option for your ukulele playing style since the market has an abundant right-handed ukulele. Some might say this is a bit weird style of playing, but it won’t be weird for you because you’ll be learning this way from the very beginning.
- Any right-handed ukulele can be played in the left-hand form
- You can easily borrow one from friends who are right-handed uke players
- Looks odd to others, but shouldn’t affect you
- Tutorials might be difficult to find, but manageable
- If the uke has electronic components, it will appear on the wrong side. However, most ukuleles don’t have electronic components
Play the Right-Handed Ukulele Upside Down with Flipped Strings
One of the greatest guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix, used to play his guitar upside-down with the strings flipped. Of course, at his time there were hardly any left-handed guitars manufactured. But that didn’t stop him from being one of the best in the world.
This is motivating enough, right? The point is, you can do it too, especially with a ukulele. Although it requires some extra work to flip the ukulele strings, the outcome is totally worth the effort.
How to Flip the Strings of a Right-Handed Uke
For a ukulele, it is quite easy actually: take a right-handed ukulele, switch the middle two nylon strings, and you are done. The two nylon strings on the sides of the uke are almost of similar strength and dimensions, so it is not mandatory to change/swap those.
But if you wish to be precise, you can definitely change the uppermost and the lowermost strings of the uke as well. And then tune the uke according to the standard tuning that is G-C-E-A (from top to bottom strings).
Also, you can adjust the intonation by adjusting the saddle height and flip the nut as well. Then, your ukulele will be almost identical to a left-handed ukulele.
- It works almost like a left-handed ukulele
- No problem finding a mentor or tutorials
- Cannot borrow any of your righty friend’s ukulele
- You need to do extra work to flip the strings
Buy a Left-Handed Ukulele
Of course, there is an option to buy a left-handed ukulele, perfectly optimized for a left-handed player. That way, you don’t have to think of any extra modifications.
Paul McCartney, Kurt Cobain, and Tommy Iommy are some of the greatest left-handed guitar players who used left-handed guitars as well.
In recent times, the left-handed ukulele has been available, although not as much as the regular right-handed ukes. In some parts of the world, the left-handed ukulele might be more available than in other parts.
There are different ukulele sizes such as soprano ukulele, concert ukulele, tenor ukulele, and baritone ukulele. Kala, Hola, Oscar Schmidt, Luna, etc. are some of the well-known ukulele brands that have their different ukulele size built for left handed-musicians.
- Perfect for your requirement and preference
- No problem finding a mentor or tutorials
- Cannot borrow other’s ukulele or share yours (which might be a good thing as well)
Just take a deep breath and relax because there is nothing to be stressed about all this overwhelming information. All of these upper-mentioned optioned are viable, you only have to decide which one you should go with.
To make your decision easier, I’ll suggest you go with right-handed playing. For an absolute beginner, it matters very insignificantly whether you learn to play left-handed or right-handed. Your dominant left hand will contribute more as fret fingers instead of the strumming fingers.
Basically, left-handed models are not much different than right-handed ukes unless they have electronics (built-in tuner) or soundholes at one side. Considering all the relevant aspects, learning to play the right-handed ukulele even if you are a lefty is the most economical and convenient to explore more options in the right-handed world.
Do You Strum a Ukulele With your Dominant Hand?
This is just a common scenario: for any stringed instrument, people strum it with their dominant hand and use the non-dominant one for chordings and scaling. But this is no gospel, you can choose either hand for chording and the other for strumming at the very beginning of your learning phase.
Remember, there is no switching once you’ve chosen and learned to use whichever hand you prefer for strumming and chording/scaling on a ukulele.
How To Use the Chords Charts or Ukulele Tabs for Lefty Ukulele?
A lot of newbies might scare you by saying that you’ll have to interpret the chord or scale charts with difficulties if you play in a right-handed ukulele in left-hand form (Flipping the ukulele and Playing Upside-down).
To prove them wrong, just search “left-handed chord chart for ukuleles” on google. It’s literally just a click away. There are different varieties of chord/scale charts and tabs on the internet. You’ll just have to find the one most suitable for you.
I hope this blog post clarified your confusion that you don’t actually need a purely left-handed instrument even if you are a lefty; you have the freedom to choose. Best of luck on your amazing journey, whether you become a left-handed or a right-handed ukulele player.