Sep 28

Left Handed Ukulele: How Do I Play and String It?

Tag: Ukulele Set UpUkuOnline @ 3:37 am

There are two schools of thought when it comes to left handed ukulele playing. One school says that left handed people should just play the ukulele right handed – the thinking being that both hands are equally important. However, I’ve only seen that argument advanced by right handed people.

The alternative is to swap the order of the strings around. Because of the way the ukulele is strung, it shouldn’t require you to adjust the ukulele itself in any way. For the effort it takes to change the strings round, I think it’s worth doing it this way.

If you want know what order the strings should be in, I wrote about it here: how to string a ukulele.

31 Responses to “Left Handed Ukulele: How Do I Play and String It?”

  1. kevin cottam says:

    I would like to learn how to play the ukulele but Iam left handed,could you give me any tips on where to start,what to buy or good books I can read.

  2. Stheno says:

    Brilliant. I meant spelling. How about dismissing the previous two bad attempts?

    Let’s try again with proper spelling. Dismiss the previous cock up.

    Another lefty here. Let’s have more tips on playing left handed. I’ve flipped my uke over, swapped the strings around, and am now stuck. How do I translate chord diagrams?

    Look’s o.k. this time.

  3. Jimx says:

    I’m a beginner and a righty who’s missing half of my left pinky finger, so playing right handed is a challenge. I’ve restrung my uke for the left hand but am struggling to find learning resources. I’m looking for a left handed chord chart for a “D” tuning (ADF#B) soprano uke. Any ideas?

  4. Amber says:

    I have same probelm. Im lookiing for a left handed one..thers ONE on ebay for £100!
    i reckon buyin a right and re-stringing is the best bet. Just means editing a chord sheet and flipping it in ‘paint; or something. Lol

  5. Gary says:

    There are left handed ukuleles made by Kala and also Fluke and Flea come left handed on one web site. You need to change the nut and maybe the bridge or the strings will not be the right distance above the fret board, the groves are cut for the string size and if you don’t change you can have buzzing or dead frets…..Hope that helps

  6. Karl says:

    Don’t you have the same problem as you do with a guitar… if you reverse the strings, the thicker string create greater tension. The bracing has to be designed for that configuration- yes?

  7. Lasse says:

    I’m a leftie who just got a cheap uke. Doesn’t seem to be the same problem as with a guitar to change the tuning to fit lefties, at least with the AECG tuning. The two thinnest strings on the outside (A and G) can just be tuned to the opposite notes Same with the two thicker middle strings (C and E). The strings are similar enough in thickness that you don’t have to restring.
    So change the tuning, not the strings or anything else. Works on the Beaver Creek $ 30.00 ukulele at least.

  8. eme says:

    Hey fellow lefties! I have been playing ukulele for about 8 months and have been playing the right-hand way. So far ive had no problems whatsoever

  9. how to play the ukulele says:

    Oof. That’s a tough one. I suppose you could pull a Jimi Hendrix and just flip it upside-down and learn to play it that way. Whenever I see a band where the guitar player is doing that, it literally blows my minds. All the chord shapes look completely foreign.

  10. Rob says:

    Man why does everyone think Jimi Hendrix played right lefty? He played right handed guitars because left handed guitars were not readily available at the time but he strung them left handed. In the future if you want to make such a reference call it pulling a “Dick Dale” who does in fact play right lefty. I myself am left handed and i play on a truly left handed guitar, but I can play a right handed guitar upside down with limited success… My advice would be to tune or restring so you are playing the uke like a righty would… They are designed the way they are for a reason and there’s no need to give yourself any extra hindrances when learning a new instrument, despite what ignorant rightys may think. The chord diagrams aren’t that hard to decipher.

  11. Gary says:

    I have two Kala’s, a Risa, and an Ohana all of which are left handed I do not convert the cords, I just see them the way they should be for me. I have done it for so long there is no converting. The two Kala’s came left handed Kala makes left handed ukulele’s in tenor models. Also the Risa has fret marks on both side’s of the neck so can be strung both way’s. The Ohana had the nut removed and a left handed one made. If you don’t do that the strings will not be at the right clerance on the fret board and can buzz.

  12. Gary says:

    I now have left handed Fluke and I found out that the way a Fluke is made the nut is not what keeps the strings off the fret board there is a little thing like a fret right at the nut which means any Fluke can be restrung left handed and will have no problem with buzzing strings, the Rosewood fret board also is the same way. I have found now other ukulele like that.

  13. laurel casey says:

    Okay, guys, just bought a Kama left handed tenor Ukelele – and hope to heck I made the right decision. I’m just SO left handed and used to play guitar, about thirty years ago, badly, but left handed. Found some left handed charts on-line. Now, dumb question, if it’s a left handed Uke. are the strings strung the same way as a right handed Uke- and also, can’t a person just switch regular charts backwards to make them work? Yes, I’m Deslexic too, and a bad speller. Any advice for me, greatly appreciated.

  14. lindsay says:

    gday ,, im left handed,play geetar and bass right handed too,
    thinking of playing uke left handed,
    you dont need left handed chord diagrams, most uke chords are 2 or 3 finger stuff anyway, use your eyes and convert them over!!! oh, and your BRAIN!
    I taught myself left handed geetar from looking at people playing right handed its a piece of piss!
    What i mean by this is, look at a D chord right handed,,,,,,,,,, it looks EXACTLY the same when we hold our guitars left handed, youjust need to train your eyes to your brain,,,,,, should take 5 mins……

  15. julian says:

    So does it really matter? I’m not so much left handed as left bodied…

  16. lesley says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KZjnFZvCNc&NR=1

    Would like to learn uke after seein this live!!

  17. lesley says:

    Of course we all know that left handed in Latin is “Sinistre”..sinister watch out …………….

    here is the good the bad the ugly from England ……………
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLgJ7pk0X-s

    enjoy this band are even better live saw them on Friday cheers lesley

  18. brandon says:

    if anyone’s still looking for chord diagrams check out http://www.ukulele.nl/chordfinder.php .
    if you’re a lefty, you can look at the chord shape and then mirror it yourself. to me it’s easier. it may be the way it’s positioned horizontally.
    hope this helps anyone who’s still looking, or new to ukulele.

  19. Harrison brown says:

    I play a left handed guitar and my mom bought me a right handed uke i found it easy just to play it upside down like holding it in my normal lefty position. Some chord shapes i found work in favor to people playing it upside down its real easy.

  20. Lily says:

    Where are the cords?

  21. Gary says:

    I actually learned to play a right handed ukulele upside down because back when I started there were no left handed ukuleles. Later I got a true left handed ukulele and learned to play it. I can still play both ways…………….

  22. bill says:

    HI Guys I habe several ukelele all i have fliped to left handed . It is easy and i enjoy playing my ukes Lefthanded have fun Bill

  23. beretta says:

    Can someone tell us lefties where to get a left hand cord book?

  24. Ralph says:

    Can i order an oscar schmidt left tenor or re string left handed. Can? it be done? Help!! anyone!!

  25. Cameron says:

    i just got a ukulele and im a lefty, i played guitar for about 5 years but i never re-stringed it or anything. it looks really complicated to switch my strings around and i dont want to wreck it and make it completly un-playable whatsoever, help !! :(

  26. Sandy says:

    Here is a left handed chord sheet for Ukulele. My partner is left handed and this has been great. Michelle Kiba made the chart, scroll down to the the lefty’s chart.

  27. Lin says:

    Really confused at why it would hard to read a regular chart as a left-hander. You still put your fingers in the same fret and the same position…

    If this is a problem for you though, there is this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Left-Handed-Uke-Chord-Chart-William/dp/0786683228/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1323022065&sr=8-5

  28. Aaron Paterson says:

    I am a lefty who turned the strings around on both my Ashton Soprano electric Uke and my Tenor Uke, appears to be no problems regard sound, no buzzing etc. I have no problems reading a right-handed Uke Chord book. I still play both right and left handed Ukuleles, yes still a learner but i love playing reggae on my ukes, its as if they were made for that music. Try YouTubing people doing ukulele tutorials like ‘stuck on you’ uku chords come up on the left and you can play and sing along. It’s that easy, i have taught about six kids rangig from 10 to 16 to play ukulele and i’m a beginner myself, everyone on earth should own a uke, but i don’t think there’s enough KOA wood to go round. Also learnt Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ what a sound . Aaron down under

  29. jonnyUke says:

    I bought a left ahnded Ohana to find it was just a right handed uke restrung, further investigation shows that most ukes can be restrung this way as the not and bridge are not offset in anyway on the majority of ukes. If your a lefty like me dont get stung for another 25% in cost for them to restring a right handed uke.

  30. Anthony says:

    I didn’t know that left handed uke is now a available. I’m left handed and I just bought and right handed uke. But according to ukeleleworld.com all I have to do is restrung the strings for lefty and you have a lefty uke no problem. This is just in case someone in here is still wondering and concern about buzzing on restringing it. There should be no problem. And as far as chords go, if anyone has a question about how to read the right handed uke chords, just reverse it. If anyone’s still having a hard time, just turn the chord sheet pointing east and you have a mirror image of the chords for left handed. When all else fail and anyone’s still finding it hard to read, there are left handed chord books available online.

  31. Lon says:

    OK, I got a twist on the subject for you. My wife is trying to learn the Ukulele, her first stringed instrument. She is right handed but cannot bend her left ring finger due to an accident. So she’s a right hander trying to lear to play left handed. (ugh) She has bought a left handed Uk but so far it’s a real battle for her. I’m curious, does that bad left hand ring finger pretty much kill any chance of her playing right handed?

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