View Full Version : first ukulele for lefty

02-16-2017, 02:54 PM
Hi all!

I am planning to buy a left handed ukulele (or a righty and restring it, but I'd prefer the first), and I'm looking for some piece of advice.

I already play acoustic guitar and baglamas (both in left-handed stringing), a Greek folk instrument -you can check an example (2 to be exact ;) ) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8tTpIAuy5c
my balgamas has a small bowl like the one the bearded guy is playing, and its scale from nut to bridge is around 35 cm.

Therefore, I'm comfortable with big scales and small scales.

Until now I've only fiddled around with some soprano ukuleles.
Since portability is a major issue on one hand, and on the other, having a somewhat broader playability; I am considering to get a concert ukulele as a first instrument.

Ideally, I would like to keep my budget low, but purchase a quality instrument for the price (i.e. with at least a solid top).

I've found this instrument from Caramel http://www.caramelukulele.com/left-handed-caramel-cc300l-all-solid-spruce-mahogany-concert-ac-elec-ukulele.html
which is all-solid, lefty from construction, has electronics (although I'm primarily interested in natural sound), and its price with a soft case is around 100 euros. It seems quite a good deal.

Unfortunately, I have not found any reviews on it, or on the respective right-handed model, CC300. Has anybody from the forum tried them out? I've read some pretty good reviews on Caramel ukuleles, and they do seem to offer value for money instruments (I have not found any other all-solid ukulele in this price range), but not on this model.

Do you have any suggestions/remarks?

Thanks in advance!

PS: Just as info for e-shops etc, I am from Greece but right now I'm living in Germany.

02-16-2017, 03:27 PM
Im new as well, so my advice only goes so far, but I just got a Kala and the quality for the cost is amazing. As far as lefty goes, I dont think theres any issue with restringing a righty for left as long as its not a cut away body shape so that may open up some options there. Also, if im not wrong the tenor size is only a little bigger than the concert and is supposed to be a bit louder and have more space on the fret board which is one reason I went with that size over the concert.

02-16-2017, 05:12 PM
When it comes to fret boards, I find even a tenor to be a bit narrow. Most of the chords one will play will be in the first 5 fret rows, and the top of the neck is typically more narrow than the base of the neck. Even using the tip of my fingers, my finger pads are fleshy, so they ever so slightly interfere with the string below if I'm not extra careful, which is a pain because it causes buzzing and strings to not play at all. I really would prefer a wider fret board in the long run, especially if I'm spending decent money. Even a few centimeters extra would do. So this is something to consider.

What size you get depends on what's comfortable for you.....as a non large person, even a tenor feels a bit large for me, it looks almost like a normal guitar in my lap. I often wonder if a concert would have been better......although a slimmer body might suffice too, since my main gripe is the bulkyness rather than the length. Still though, the tenor I have is manageable and obviously, they have more projection and tone than smaller sizes. You can find slim ukulele's, usually called 'travel size'. You don't really sacrifice much in the way of volume and sound, I've heard them sound as good as normal.


I'm not saying this is the one you should buy, but you can look at the specs and there's even a good video of it being played here: http://www.theukulelesite.com/kala-ka-sstu-c-concert-travel-uke.html

I personally like to go left handed. You can make most right handed ones left handed, and maybe that would be good for resale value too.....but I like having an instrument made for me, plus the fret markers are on the proper side on left handed guitars.....maybe you don't need them, but it's nice to have them.

One thing I rarely see in left hand is ukulele's with cut aways at the bottom of the neck. And buying one of these only to make it into a left, really defeats the purpose of having a cut away.

That's actually an amazingly prized Uke in your link......$93 for all solid, with electronic? If it's made with decent craftsmanship, it's worth it any day. Here, I could pay twice that and not get an instrument that good. At that price though, I'd say you'll likely run into some quality issues, probably need to file down some sharp fret edges, readjust some things, etc. Only you can decide if it's worth the risk, because you might spend only ~$100, but it might only last a few years at best and succumb to some sort of issues. I definitely wouldn't buy it if you want an assured quality instrument that will last you a long time. That's the thing.....we often pay more for stuff not because something is necessarily better.....but because it's likely to have less issues over time and last longer.

In my experience, you get lucky sometimes, but most of the time if a price is too good to be true, it's usually something that will have problems. I like to spend more and not have the headache....and in the long run, spending more upfront can mean spending less later on.

02-16-2017, 05:44 PM
A number of us are pretty positive about Caramel. Did you see the extensive Rubin/Caramel thread here on UU?

02-16-2017, 06:10 PM
I have a CC-100 Zebrawood Caramel and like it. I have never played the solid topped ones but have played or own 12-13 Caramel/Rubin mostly laminated Ukes, from Sopranino to Baritones, and all were well worth the money. I have played a couple of Solid Spruce Caramel tenors and they are pretty good too. The Electronics are pretty good on the ones with Tuner/Equalizers. I don't use mine much as mine are loud enough for me acoustically, though I do use them when I play with my Uke Buddy who likes to plug in.

I have a couple of Ohana's that are much better uke's but cost 3-5 times what the Caramels did. A concert is a good place to start. they are very portable and will teach you the basics faster that the tight Soprano or the harder to reach tenor. Just my opinion and I've only been playing a couple of years.

02-16-2017, 09:57 PM
I know that the symmetrical setup of the uke allows me to turn a righty into a lefty easily, but (given that the price is not very different) I would prefer to get a lefty from construction... maybe not in the beginning, but in the near future, the converted righty will need a new nut and bridge after the restringing which should add to the cost; while the lefty nut and bridge should last longer.

A number of us are pretty positive about Caramel. Did you see the extensive Rubin/Caramel thread here on UU?
Yes I have read it. At first, seeing the price and the specs, I shared Ukerz concerns, but after reading the thread I felt more confident. Nevertheless, there is no reference to the CC300 model which I'm interested in.
Their cheapest lefty concert uke is the e/a laminated zebra wood one, which costs $60. Upgrading to an all-solid instrument (and their most expensive lefty concert) for an additional $33 is within my budget. The righty version without the electronics, CC300A, is priced $70 - the difference is so small that I would opt for the lefty.

Surely when I learn better, I will probably get a laminated or even plastic uke to take around in vacations etc without caring so much. But for a first instrument, I'd prefer something more decent - without getting too expensive though. That's why this model seems so tempting!

From the instruments I already play, I know that nothing can replace the physical trying out of a musical instrument. Especially for left-handers this becomes a really bugging issue, because from the 5 models you are interested in, you will find max 2 in different local ventors... I am currently stumbling on this problem because I want to upgrade my guitar for some time now, but to try out at least some of the models I want, I have to make a 4h train trip to go, and another 4h to come back.
The difference in an entry-level uke comes from the low pricing... I wouldn't pay more than ~100 euros for any instrument I haven't tried out first, no matter what brand it is or if I've played the same model from a friend.

02-17-2017, 05:51 AM
This offer also seems interesting https://www.thomann.de/gr/thomann_concert_ukulele_standard.htm
All-solid acacia at the same price more or less (~100). Plus its easier to send back etc in case something goes bad or perhaps to modify to a lefty, since the central store of Thomann is in Germany.
Does anybody have feedback from this model??

Pirate Jim
02-24-2017, 01:07 AM
The Thomann uke is made by APC/Antonio Carvalho. The reviews I've read are mixed - it seems if you get a good one they're great but they can be hit and miss. I've played the tenor version in a music shop and that one was decent for the price but you might get one that needs a lot of setup doing on it - high action, sharp fret ends, etc. If it's easy to send back it's probably worth a try!

02-24-2017, 02:10 AM
I would go for something at a similar price without the electronics, as (all other things being equal) what you save on the electronics you should gain in quality elsewhere. For example in the UK here I would go for this one:


It even comes with a spare set of strings. I'm left-handed myself and haven't yet had a problem with a nut not taking the strings the other way around. A good supplier should fit the strings for you though if you're at all unsure.

If I could persuade you to try a soprano then I'd recommend a Brüko (especially as you're already in Germany). They have happily supplied me with ukuleles strung left-handed at no extra cost. They do make concert models, but those I guess would be above your budget.

03-03-2017, 07:54 AM
The concert Brükos I checked from their website are way off budget unfortunately, and the sopranos are still a bit expensive.

However, at least trying one is really tempting, since the small town of Kitzingen where the factory is located, is about 15 mins by train from my city :)

As for Thomann, I would like to upgrade my guitar, and perhaps make an excursion to their physical shop. In the process, I will try an uke and share feedback.