The world is right-handed. We don’t say that jokingly! Studies have estimated that 90% of world is right-handed, making the minority population of southpaws often left without good options for tools made for them. No so with left-handed ukuleles!
When playing the ukulele, or any stringed instrument, both of your hands will be in action. That being said, most people will fret with their left hands and strum with their right. It’s the opposite for natural lefties.
The Best Left-Handed Ukuleles
In fact, some of the best musicians in history played left-handed including Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney and in more recent times, Justin Bieber.
In the table above we’ve given you 5 great options for left-handed ukuleles, each of which we’ll cover in more detail below. Some of these are great for beginners, we’ve got a few mid-range, and we picked our favorite left-handed electric ukulele, too!
Oscar Schmidt OU2LH Leff-Handed Mahogany Concert Ukulele
The OU2LH from Oscar Schmidt is possible the most popular and best value on the list. Most of this instrument is made from a mahogany wood, with the addition of a rosewood fretboard and bridge. The rosewood fretboard has 18 frets, side binding and inlay dot position markers.
The closed gear tuners are a nice addition to this model, even paired with the plastic saddle and nut.
Our only complaint about this model is that many customers report getting a uke with the “Aloha” on the neck being upside down. Later in the article we’ll cover restringing you right-handed uke for a lefty, and this is obviously what Oscar Schmidt has done (at least occasionally.
From a sound perspective, this doesn’t change the instrument, but it is a touch that should not be overlooked for someone shopping left-handed instruments, specifically!
- Quality Mahogany Construction
- Chrome Geared Tuners
- Washburn Guitar sub-brand
- Not Lefty Specific construction
Kala KA-PWC/LH Pacific Walnut Concert Left Handed Ukulele
Kala has long been one of our favorite ukulele brands, and Walnut might just be our favorite wood for a uke other than Koa. The grain pattern on this ukulele alone makes it stand out in a remarkable way. A Mahogany neck paired once again with a Pacific Walnut fretboard really creates a warm tone for this instrument.
This concert sized ukulele comes equipped with NuBone nut and saddle, geared tuners and a standard 18 frets.
In addition Kala has included a soft sided gigbag, cleaning cloth and electronic tuner.
While the OU2LH is priced a little more competitively, if you want a left-handed ukulele that you won’t outgrow after a year or two of playing than this is our pick. Not only is the sound amazing you’ll turn plenty of heads with the look of this little instrument!
- Pacific Walnut Construction
- Amazing Look and Feel
- Gigbag and Tuner Included
- Warm, Rich sound
Caramel CB204L Solid Acacia Baritone Left-Handed Ukulele
The Caramel CB204L is by far our favorite left-handed electric ukulele. The solid wood acacia body is a huge value at this price point and it produces a wonderful tone. This model comes with two sets of strings (D-G-B-E installed and additional G-C-E-A) depending on how you like your baritone ukes tuned.
Just like the Kala, this uke has a walnut fretboard and bridge with 18 frets, but the CB204L has a buffalo bone nut and saddle which are a nice little upgrade.
You can buy this ukulele with or without the bonus kit. The kit includes the extra strings, gig bag, picks, tuner, wall hanger, uke strap with pegs, and EQ cable. Frankly, for the price even though the accessories aren’t amazing they shouldn’t be turned down, either!
Our one complaint is that the pickup on this ukulele leaves something to be desired. This is something that as you get better or start to play in front of large crowds you may want to upgrade. That being said, because of the style you can play this acoustically for years and never worry about the electric components!
- Solid Acacia Wood Body
- Baritone and Uke string sets
- Gig Bag and Accessory kit
- Amazing Value
- Tuner/Pickup isn’t the best
Bondi Ripple Koa Concert Left-Handed Ukulele
While it does cost a little more, there is nothing like the sound of a ukulele made from traditional, solid Hawaiian Koa. Once again we see walnut used for the fretboard and bridge and there is a wonderful blue pearl design decorating the sound hole.
This ukulele belongs to the Arcadia series and are noted for punching well above their price range when it comes to sound quality and construction materials.
Bondi has also included a bundle of accessories valued at over $80, and unlike many kits these are not cheap, low quality parts. Many of these pieces can be used with this uke for years to come without the need to upgrade.
The compression sponge case is really high quality as well, although we get the feeling the style won’t suit all of our readers.
We left this ukulele for last as it is the most expensive model on the list, but if you are an intermediate looking to upgrade, or want to skip many of the struggles that come with a entry level model, you can’t go wrong with the Bondi Ripple Koa!
- Solid Koa Construction!
- High Quality Gig Bag
- 15 Accessory pack
- Amazing Tone and Sound Quality
How to Choose A Left-Handed Ukulele
Now that you have our recommendations, we fell you have what you need to make an educated decision with no further research. What if you’re walking through your local music store tomorrow and see a left-handed uke that you like? How will you know if it’s something worth the investment?
The first thing is the cost of the instrument. A beginner ukulele player doesn’t need and won’t appreciate a really top-notch uke. They simply won’t have the experience playing to appreciate the intricacies.
Same with an advanced player, they probably won’t be satisfied with a entry level instrument that is made from wood laminates and doesn’t have the precision put into high quality ukes.
Generally speaking, quality comes at a price. For beginners you can find a lot of GREAT options in the $100-$150 range.
Materials and Components
So, you’ve narrowed down your price range! Next up is to look for the materials that a ukulele is made with.
The first thing is to consider the wood, or wood laminate, that is used. Many less expensive models will have a mahogany laminated wood body, with maybe a rosewood or mahogany fretboard. Nothing wrong with that at all.
As your budget increases, you’ll want to look for solid wood instruments. You’ll first see solid wood tops with laminated sides, then you’ll find full solid wood instruments. As you move up in price, you’ll also start to see wood options like Spruce, Zebrawood, or our favorite Koa.
The different woods not only have better resonance they tend to have distinct sounds, and something like Koa is a traditional Hawaiian wood that has been used for the instrument for years.
If you are looking for a left-handed electric ukulele, the pickup and tuner components will also increase in quality. Other parts you’ll want to look for are real bone bridges and geared tuners.
Last but not least, the size of the ukulele matters a lot when it comes to the sound it will produce and how it will feel in your hand.
Ukuleles come in four main sizes. From smallest to largest, you have the soprano, concert, tenor and the baritone.
You can find out a lot more about the different ukulele sizes, shapes and materials in our article about the different types of ukulele!
Do You Need A Left-Handed Ukulele?
Likely the last answer you want to hear is, “It depends.” Sorry…
We do have some feedback and advice for you if you’re considering going out and buying a left-handed uke specifically. So, lets go over your options when deciding if you should play right-handed or left-handed!
Brett McQueen from Ukulele Tricks is a lefty and he’s been playing uke as a righty for over 20 years! He states that he does this for two reasons.
The first reason is that you’ll end up using both hands anyway, so the dominance is less important. This is true, and while it may feel weird to strum with your weaker hand at first, everything kinda feels weird when you first pick up a stringed instrument.
The 2nd, is that it makes it easier to follow instructional material. Most of the chord diagrams, tabs and songbooks are done for a right-handed musician. Left-handed ukulele chords would be flipped.
It is definitely doable to learn this way, but it will take a little more mental effort.
2.Re-String your right-handed uke for a southpaw
Frankly, this isn’t difficult, and you’ll need to re-string your instrument sooner or later anyway. This can be a good option if you want a specific instrument that is not made in a “lefty” version.
Now, if you’re playing an electric ukulele you probably want to avoid this. All of your electronics will end up on the wrong side and the volume and tone controls will be hard to reach.
3.Flip a right-handed uke and leave the strings
Albert King famously played a guitar in a left-handed position on a guitar that was strung for a right-handed player.
We don’t recommend this honestly. You probably aren’t Albert King to start with, and this would make the instrument harder to learn and frankly, confusing.
The only benefit that we see is that you wouldn’t have to restring your instrument, but if that is your concern most music shops will do it for you for a reasonable price!
4. Buy a Left-Handed Ukulele
By playing an instrument left-handed you instantly become unique and rebellious and aren’t all musicians at least slightly rebellious by nature?!
More and more companies are making instruments for lefties, so your options are really getting better. You may have to shop around a bit more but you definitely will be able to find a quality instrument designed for you!
If you do go this route, we’ve linked to a great left-handed ukulele chord book that may make learning a little easier for you!