All posts by Martin Hall

About Martin Hall

Martin came to the uke relatively late in life after playing guitar, mandolin and bouzouki. He writes and performs his own material solo as well. When he is not playing, Martin is a published children's author: both books and school productions (music and words written to order). Along with a day job, he also runs marathons (and further). He's currently wondering how to get a life.

Left Handery

The more eagle eyed of you will have noticed that I play my uke the other way round to the rest of the group.  As a long time guitar player, I’m used to hunting down the left handed models (and paying the inevitable extra).  With the larger, steel strung, instruments it’s important to have the internal bracing set for left handed (not to mention scratch plates etc.)  You could just reverse the strings like Hendrix, but his instruments didn’t survive long enough for the changes in stress to become evident.

Anyway, despite the fact that I had been playing left handed guitar for longer than I’d been married, my wife completely forgot and bought me a right handed ukulele for a present.  At first, I thought this is not going to be a bother, there’s only four strings.  How hard is it going to be to play it upside down?  Well, years of reversing chord diagrams in my head have taken their toll and so I did some research.  Turns out, that we lefties are quite well off when it comes to ukes.  Because the nylon string tension is so much lower, they’re made symmetrically, so you can reverse the strings without damaging the instrument.  And since, you might want to get good strings instead of the supplied ones anyway, it’s no great bother.  Some shops will supply you with a left handed strung uke for little more than the price of a new set of Aquila strings.

The only hassle is with electrics.  I would love one of these

as it would match my Ovation guitar, but when I turn it upside down, where are the controls going to be?

So, when I saw the pretty uke on ebay that had been wired up for a left hander with a volume control in the right place.  It was going to be mine.

In the meantime, do remember, for the most part, ukuleles are very left hander friendly.