View Full Version : lefthanders?

05-31-2008, 09:58 AM
Hi! So I am still waiting anxiously by my mailbox for my first ukulele to come. It is my first stringed instrument, so I'm just completely excited and elated about learning to play!

Anyway, can anyone tell me their experiences as a lefthanded player? Should I really focus on trying to learn everything righthanded just for sake of simplicity, or will this in anyway impede my later progress? Does anyone actually strum with their left hand? I'd really love any advice/experiences!

Thanks guys@:)

05-31-2008, 11:29 AM
Hi Remy,

I'm a lefthander. I play my uke lefty, but that's mainly because i started out on a guitar and was already used to it. I do sometimes wish I started out righty for the following reasons:

1. I had to learn to translate all published chord fingerings.
2. People can't just pick up my ukulele and fall in love with it like you did.
3. I can't just pick up someone's ukulele and play with it.
4. It's hard to just try out ukes in the store when shopping for one.

I'm actually thinking about getting another uke and learn it righty too!

In the long run, am I better at playing it lefty? Dunno.

05-31-2008, 12:30 PM
im not a lefty, but imho its best to learn righty. its not so much as playing the right or wrong way, but in practicallity. as DF said about its hard for him to test new ukes, or translate tabs/chords, the last thing is price price. If your playing your standard/pineapple uke its not so bad, but if you do get a eleuke or go to guitar (or any other instrament) it'll cost more to get lefty instrament.

in hte end its up to you, i would try right hand, if it feel akward then go to left. its not like we will e-lol at you.

may i ask what uke you got.

05-31-2008, 01:03 PM
The most important thing if you play it lefty make sure it don't have a cutaway. 'Cause then you look silly.

I'd suggest bearing it out and playing right-handed. Just so it's handier to pick up any uke, and you wouldn't have to work out different ways of playing chords and tabs.

05-31-2008, 01:56 PM
Ok, I'm really glad I asked now. DF's reasons are all spot on! It actually didn't occur to me that I might want to pick up someone else's ukulele or share mine. I think for that reason alone, it's worthwhile to start out right handed if I can.

So, stupid newbie question #1 ... don't you think fingering is harder than strumming anyway? So why is it considered "right handed" to finger with your left hand?

Stupid newbie question #2 Do lefty instruments really cost more? Why is that? I thought I would just switch the strings to be upside down, or just learn to play them upside down, but is there anything else that would be different in a lefty uke/guitar?

Stupid newbie question #3- What is a "cutaway"? I certainly don't wanna look silly...

05-31-2008, 03:36 PM
here's a picture of a cutaway.


it's kinda like many electric guitars. the cutaway section allows for easier reach for the higher frets. if you play lefty, the cutaway would be on the top as opposed to the bottom, therefore defeating the purpose of having it haha. one of the members, terrel, had some vids of him playing and he's left handed.

05-31-2008, 03:50 PM
Hi we teach various instruments at our shop...consider the following...

Are there left-handed pianos? Are there left-handed saxophones? And so on?
The answer is of course, no.

We found that as long as a left-hander hasn't played left-handed before, there's no issue with learning guitar or uke right-handed. Some of our best players are actually left-handed and play right-handed. So, just start playing right-handed.

Left-handed instruments are in general more expensive. I have not come across a case where the price was the same (though I am sure there are some nice makers out there). Simply because of economy of scale - there are less left-handers so average production cost is higher.

With steel-string guitars or electric guitars you couldn't just swap the strings around. They are built a certain way. Even with an acoustic, the bracing is designed a certain way, to accomodate bass tones at one end and treble on the other end, you will need to replace the compensated saddle etc. A lot of hassle. Plus you will always have an extremely limited choice of instruments, because generally makers only make a few left-handed models (and certainly colours). These are important reasons not to play left-handed too.

Need I say more? Just play right-handed! :)

05-31-2008, 05:54 PM
So, stupid newbie question #1 ... don't you think fingering is harder than strumming anyway? So why is it considered "right handed" to finger with your left hand?

Stupid newbie question #2 Do lefty instruments really cost more? Why is that? I thought I would just switch the strings to be upside down, or just learn to play them upside down, but is there anything else that would be different in a lefty uke/guitar?

Stupid newbie question #3- What is a "cutaway"? I certainly don't wanna look silly...

(my views does not actually equal what everyone else thinks)
1) its actually the opposite, the tone and volume of your playing is produced by the right hand, which imo, is the the most important part of playing an instrument. so right handed players at the dawn of time, strummed with their right hand. also when people bow (for cello) it takes quite a bit of control to get the correct amount of tone and volume.

2) see what gaby said, hes spot on.

3) a cut away is the design of a guitar/uke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutaway_%28guitar%29

i hoped i helped, obviously these are my views. dont take them completely seriously.

edit: 2) see what gaby said, SHES spot on

05-31-2008, 07:10 PM
Hey! I am a SHE!

Howlin Hobbit
05-31-2008, 09:27 PM
I'm a lefty who plays right-handed, for most of the reasons noted above.

You'll be happier in the long run to just go with it.

(Oh yeah. I'm a he.)

05-31-2008, 09:42 PM
Since we're all declaring our genders...Hey! I'm a she too!! :p

06-01-2008, 06:52 AM
likewise! Another she here!

Thanks so much for all your responses, seriously! Ok, I'm gonna just jump into things right handed, and probably a year from now, it would even feel really weird to try it the other way. I'm kinda glad you guys talked me out of going at it left handed, actually.

Another thing I thought of was that I'd really like to take lessons, and since finding a teacher might be hard enough as it is, I don't need to make things any more difficult. It'd probably be easier to have a student who plays the same as you, so I think that will help with lesssons.

Ooh, and it might make me use different parts of my brain to play right handed, right?

Is anyone out there ambidextrous with their uke? That might be something I could think about if the right handed playing doesn't totally work for me.

06-01-2008, 11:05 AM
Of course it's a completly different instrument but this guy took a right handed guitar and just flipped it over so he could play it left handed.

I imagine he had to practice a bit but after a while no one even commented on his cut away being in totally the wrong place...


Good luck with whatever you end up playing


PS Male (since it seems important somehow....)

03-05-2009, 07:59 AM

I just joined UU today and searched around for lefty-stuff and found this! Thanks for your comments, they are helpful.

I have never played an instrument and received a ukulele as a gift a few months ago. I have been plinking around on it and struggling with learning a few things on the internet.

I'm lefty, so I play the uke upside-down. Tabs are easy to read either way, but I get confused with strumming patterns. I gotta do it backwards!

I'm thinking I might need to go RH-ed. If I am strumming backwards, I think I still need to "chunk" downwards...no? I can't seem to "chunk up". (But I can't really play anyway).

Also, I'm wondering if some chords are hard/impossible upside down? G is pretty awkward for me.

Thanks for reading...


03-07-2009, 09:57 AM
Wow, this post feels so ancient! But anyway, several months later, I can't imagine playing left-handed. It would be hugely inconvenient, and now that I've learned right handed, I wouldn't be able to do it the other way around. You're right, the G and actually a lot of other chords would be much harder that way, and I don't think you can chunk going up! Although, would it sound that different if you still strummed the same when you are playing upside down? I see why it might sound a little different, but not different enough to justify changing your strumming, no? Now I have to go home and try this out!

03-07-2009, 03:06 PM
My wife is left handed and plays a right handed strung ukes left handed. Some of the chords that are hard to play for me she breezes through and vica versa. Her strumming complements my strumming.

03-07-2009, 07:45 PM
My 9 y.o. boy is left handed but he's learning to play as a righty. He doesn't seem to mind... of course his brain has lots of room unlike dad's :).

03-09-2009, 05:55 AM
I am a lefty who plays lefty. I had no musical background before I picked up my first uke several months ago. I tried playing righty for about 10 minutes but it did not feel natural to me at all. Since my uke was strung righty, I restrung it for a lefty and have had no problems playing at all.
When I strum, it is the same for a righty. D, D, U, U, D for a righty is D, D, U, U, D for me. And when I read the chords, I just look at it as a mirror image of where I am supposed to put my fingers.
My uke has a cutaway for a righty so I can't use it (the cutaway), but I got a huge deal on it so who am I to complain. I would like to get a custom uke made, one of these days, with a cutaway just for me. So that when you look at my uke, you know straight away that it belongs to a lefty.
I say, play however it feels most comfortable. True, I can't just pick up someone else's uke and start playing. But when buying, I can still strum it and hear the tone and see how it feels. I was built lefty-why mess with (well maybe not perfection) whatever I am. :shaka: