Can a Left-Handed Person Play the Ukulele?
Of course, they can! Similar to other stringed instruments, the ukulele is not limited to right-handed people only. There are tons of options for left-handed players as well. If you have a standard ukulele, most likely it’s geared towards right-handers. But no need to fret, you can still get a lot of use from it despite being left-handed. You can learn to play it right-handed, or flip the uke to play. There are options available which you can grab despite being a lefty.
However, the best course of action would be, getting a left-handed ukulele. Most renowned ukulele companies have a left-handed version of their popular models. It would be better to have a left-handed instrument, rather than wasting time and money on a right-handed one. There are currently lots of high-quality ukes available for left-handed people.
To help you find the best left-handed ukuleles, let’s look at some options first.
Do You Need a Left-handed Ukulele?
This is a question that gets asked around a lot and you’ll find varied answers depending on the person. Some may suggest it’s better to use a left-handed ukulele, whereas some people advise using the right-handed ones. There is no definite deciding factor, rather you have multiple options available to resolve this issue.
Here are some of the options to ponder while making your decision:
The easiest option is to learn playing the uke right-handed. It’s the more traditional way of playing and many lefty players play their instrument the ‘right’ way. As, right-handed playing is the standard, it’ll be easier to follow instructions and have more access to chord charts, songbooks, music, etc. However, no need to force yourself if playing right-handed feels unnatural or inconvenient.
Flip Right-handed Ukulele and Restring
An alternative to playing right-handed, simply flip your uke and restring it. Normally, right-handed players hold the neck with their left hand and use the right hand for strumming. When you flip your instrument, you have to hold it with your right hand and strum the strings with your left. But flipping the uke means the strings will be reversed and in the wrong order. So, you need to reverse the strings and sometimes reverse the saddle and bridge too if required.
It’s the exact mirror-image of right-handed playing. Therefore, you can watch playing instructions and follow chords without much difficulty.
Flip Right-handed Ukulele but Don’t Restring
Another option is to flip the right-handed uke and keep playing without changing the strings. This is a less common approach but not unheard of. In this way, you can play any instrument just in reverse. It’s useful when your preferred instrument doesn’t come in a left-handed option. You can play the instrument right away without changing any components.
However, this option can be really confusing and hard to follow. You’ll need a lot of practice and mental prowess to pull this off.
Buy Left-handed Ukulele
If you’re not comfortable with none of this option, why not get a left-handed instrument? You can focus on learning straight away without the hassle of adjusting. True, there are fewer left-handed ukuleles to choose from compared to right-handed ones. But also, lots of nice and affordable options are currently available for left-handed players.
Here are some of the best left-handed ukuleles you can consider:
Best Left-Handed Ukulele
|Oscar Schmidt OU2LH||Mahogany||Rosewood||Chrome Die-cast Gear||Concert|
|Luna Tattoo Concert||Mahogany||Rosewood||Die-cast Open Gear Turner||Concert|
|Kmise Soprano||AAA Mahogany||Walnut||18:1 Gear Turner||Soprano|
|Kala KA-PWC/LH||Pacific Walnut||Walnut||Chrome Closed Gear||Concert|
|Bondi Ripple||Solid Koa||Sun Kissed Walnut||Bondi Plush Nickel||Concert|
Oscar Schmidt OU2LH Left Handed Mahogany Concert Ukulele
One of the most popular choices for left-handed ukuleles on the market, the Oscar Schmidt OU2LH is an excellent left-handed concert ukulele.
This handcrafted uke has a mahogany top, back, and sides with a silky satin finish. The rosewood bridge and fretboard feature 18 frets with inlay dot markers and side binding. In addition to plastic saddle and nuts, the chrome die-cast gear tuners make tuning convenient and sustained.
The combination of the tonewoods gives the ukulele a balanced sound which is full of refreshing high and warm low tones. The standard design may seem simple, but the natural look has a classic, timeless appeal.
Considering the reasonable price it comes with, the Oscar Schmidt OU2LH is a perfect entry-level choice. However, in terms of craftsmanship and quality, this left-handed ukulele becomes a nice value addition.
- Aesthetically pleasing construction
- High-quality hardware and premium tonewood
- Sparkly high and rich warm tones
- Great value for money
- Strings require frequent replacement
Luna Mahogany Tattoo Concert Ukulele
A favorite for many left-handed ukulele players, the Luna Mahogany Tattoo Concert Ukulele has a unique and stunning design. Inspired by traditional Hawaiian artistry, the monochrome black against brown tattoo design is laser etched on the body.
This concert uke offers a lot of exciting features, including high-quality construction and appearance. The back, sides, and top are all made of mahogany and the fretboard and bridge are of rosewood, complementing the overall aesthetic of the instrument. Moreover, the fret markers are stylized shark tooth inlay and the strings are premium quality Aquila strings.
Don’t get lost in its beauty and think of it as a mere pretty piece, rather its sound packs a punch as well. The classic tonewood combination in a concert body gives this Luna Ukulele a clear and resonant tone. You can use the onboard pre-amp to plug in the ukulele for amplified playing or recording.
True to the Hawaiian turtle pattern engraved in the body representing endurance and longevity, this ukulele will put up with you for a long time.
- Distinct design with clear, warm sound
- Tuner, Aquila strings, and gig bag included
- Cutaway for upgraded upper fret access
- Lightweight, concert body ideal for travel
- Poor quality gig bag
Kmise Left-Handed Soprano Ukulele
One of the best beginner ukuleles on the market, the Kmise Soprano Ukulele is specially designed for left-handed players. Because of its small size and entry-level price range, it is an ideal ukulele for beginners.
Having a lightweight build, this ukulele is made entirely from AAA mahogany. The whole top, back, and sides are laminated mahogany with a smooth finish. The fretboard and bridge are constructed from walnut, giving it a more seamless surface compared to other harder tonewood. The 18:1 gear turner ensures a more precise and stable tuning, plus it stays in tune longer. Moreover, the pure copper tuning gear is hard and corrosion-resistant and the strings are soft nylon.
The Kmise Ukulele has a pretty nice, mellow tone. Being soprano, the sound is a bit quieter but has a light and airy feel to it. The instrument comes ready to play out of the box with easy playability. In addition to the uke, the package contains a bundle of accessories including a gig bag, a strap, a clip-on tuner, carbon nylon strings, and a Quick Start Booklet to teach the basics.
- Traditional design with high-quality craftsmanship
- Rich tone with excellent projection and sustain
- Affordable price offering additional accessories
- Perfect for travel
- Some fret wires not well-sanded
Kala KA-PWC/LH Concert Ukulele
In terms of price, quality, and popularity, Kala has long been a favorite brand for ukulele players. The Kala KA-PWC/LH Pacific Walnut Concert Ukulele is particularly focused on left-handed players and a nice addition to their top products.
The Kala Concert Ukulele has a pacific walnut top, back, and sides with a remarkable grainy pattern. Coupled with a mahogany neck, the walnut fingerboard has 18 frets with white dot inlays. Also, this uke is full of features such as – the GraphTech NuBone Nut and Saddle, Aquila Super Nylgut Strings, Satin Finish, Standard Headstock, etc.
It produces a beautiful sound with crisp, transparent focus. There’s little chance of outgrowing this instrument, rather it’ll keep you busy playing for a long time.
- High-end look and sound
- Crisp sound with a focused, clear tone
- Chrome closed-gear tuner for easy tuning and intonation
- Soft-sided gig bag, cleaning cloth, and electronic tuner included
- A bit expensive
Bondi Ripple Koa Concert Left-Handed Ukulele
The sound of a ukulele made from solid Hawaiian Koa is not something you can forget easily. Thus, the Bondi Ripple Koa Concert Ukulele is sure to give you an unforgettable, magical experience.
This custom quality uke belongs to the Arcadia series and is famous for its brilliant sound and construction. The sun-kissed walnut fingerboard and the solid walnut bridge have a beautiful blue pearl design. Other important components include the set of closed-geared built-in tuners, authentic bone nut and saddle, and Aquila Corde nylon strings.
One of the best features is that it comes with a ton of free accessories which are of equally high quality as the instrument. The only downside is the high price, but if you prefer quality over price and want your ukulele to last a long time, you won’t find a better option than this Bondi Ripple Ukulele.
- Custom construction with amazing tone and sound quality
- 15 high-quality accessories included
- Compression case with smooth glide zip technology for safekeeping
- Phenomenal playability for left-handed players
How to Choose a Left-handed Ukulele?
The construction and functionality of a left-handed ukulele aren’t much different from a right-handed one. Factors such as ukulele sizes, materials, purpose, etc. are applicable for finding left-handed ukuleles as well.
Size is definitely an important factor to consider as it directly leads to how comfortably you can play your instrument. But how would you know which size is right for you? It depends on the size of your hands and the tone you want.
Similar to standard models, the left-handed ukuleles have four main sizes. In order from smallest to largest, these are:
The smallest in size, the soprano models have an overall length of 21 inches and a scale length of around 13 inches. Having a distinct bright sound, this size is usually associated with ukuleles the most.
With an overall length of 23 inches and a scale length of 15 inches, the concert ukulele is a bit bigger in size. It also produces a louder sound compared to soprano models. Players with smaller hands especially prefer the concert or soprano ukes.
Tenor ukuleles have a deeper, more resonant tone closer to classical guitar. With an overall length of 26 inches and a scale length of 17 inches, the tenor sounds less like a uke. It’s a favorite for professional musicians for having more frets and a solid sound.
Finally, the baritone spans 30 inches in overall length and 19 inches in scale length, making it the biggest of all sizes. For playing deeper, bass tones, players prefer baritones. Guitarists have an easier time playing the baritone ukes, as the tuning is really similar to guitars.
So, which left-handed size should you get? Soprano and concert ukuleles are optimal for smaller hands so they’re suitable for most children. But if you have larger hands, tenor or baritone would be better for you. As for the sound, if you want the standard bright ukulele sound, then you should go for soprano or concert ukes. But if you prefer a deeper sound for your uke, then tenor and baritone are the way to go.
Materials and Construction
The materials and the construction process heavily impact the sound of the instrument. Using a variety of techniques and different types of woods, ukuleles are constructed to get the desired sound and tone.
There are majorly two types of wooden construction common for ukuleles. Some ukuleles are built from solid woods, some others from laminated woods. Solid wood models are made from a single solid block of wood. Whereas the laminate models are made from laminates which are thin layers of wood glued together. No wonder, solid wood ukuleles tend to have much higher quality than laminated ones.
However, laminated ukes are stronger and way more affordable compared to solid wood ukuleles. Also, these don’t change with age and the sound remains the same. Solid wood ukes have better resonance and tone and become mellower with time. The more it ages the richer the sound gets.
There are some left-handed ukuleles that combine the two methods of construction and deliver the best of both worlds. These models have a laminated body but the top is made out of solid wood. That way, the uke can be true to the solid wood tone without affecting the cost.
If you’re looking for a left-handed electric ukulele, you need to consider the components as well as the materials. For better quality, check the pickup, tuners beforehand. Real bone bridges and geared tuners are bound to deliver a better result.
Different types of wood have different properties and thus influence the sound in versatile ways. Here are some of the most common woods used for making ukuleles:
One of the most popular choices of tonewood for ukulele players.
Mostly used for ukulele necks, it has a darker, warmer tone.
Popular for producing louder and bigger tones.
Excellent choice for tenor and baritone ukes, with a rounder and mellower tone
The dense wood often used for ukulele fretboards, also used for instrument bodies.
Another popular choice for fretboards, it’s also used in bridges due to its hardness.
Pretty exclusive tonewood which delivers the clarity of spruce and the warmth of cedar.
What use you have for the ukulele, that’s another point to consider. If you’re a beginner, just learning to play left-handed ukulele then you don’t need any expensive or specialty model. A high-quality fully acoustic left-handed uke would be more than enough.
Whereas if you’re on playing your instrument in concerts and record, you should invest in an acoustic-electric left-handed ukulele. These models feature an in-built pickup system and a direct ¼ inch instrument output, which you can hook to a speaker for live performance or hook to a recorder for recording music.
Also, soprano and concert ukuleles are smaller in size and quite compact, which makes them pretty convenient for travel.
Don’t go disheartened thinking you won’t be able to play the ukulele left-handed. Options for ukulele may seem to be limited, but it’s not nonexistent! There are plenty of affordable quality ukuleles available on the market. You just need to find the one which suits your style and is the most comfortable to play with, and you’re set.
In case you’re looking for more options for different types of ukuleles, check this list of the best ukuleles currently available.
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Last update on 2021-06-19 at 14:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API