Revisiting the Left-Handed Ukulele

I still owe you guys a post about what I’ve learned about my Scarlett Solo and audio interface in general, but today I’m going to go back to talking about other things. I would do them all in this post, but have to get to work, so will break them up.

Firstly, left handed ukulele again:

I apparently got an email in mid-december from someone asking if they should go lefty on ukulele if they air guitar lefty, but have an old injury to the right wrist that makes the left hand “stronger for fretting notes”.  So, I’m going to revisit this subject again briefly. (And, yes, it took me over two weeks to check my email. I’m not going to apologize for being terrible about email, and it’s not a new year’s resolution, but I am going to try to be better about keeping up with my blog reading and checking my email. I’m probably doomed to failure, but I’m going to try.)

Okay, here we go:

First off, ukuleles have nylon strings. Secondly the frets are really close together. Small children play ukulele. So, your right hand is weaker than your left hand. Is it weaker than a small child’s non-dominant hand? Because small children manage ukes just fine. Also, bear in mind that right-handed players are also fretting notes with their weaker hand. There is a common misconception by rookies of all stringed instruments that fretting notes requires ‘strength’, which we can’t help but perpetrate when we talk about finger strength and warn them that it’s going to hurt their fingers. BUT, what it really requires is closer to ‘conditioning’. Your hand has to get used to moving in certain ways. But, ukulele doesn’t require much by way of actual strength.

SO, unless this injury marks a very significant strength difference (For example, my mother had a stroke and a kid that gave her partial paralysis on the right side. She recovered from it, but to this day, even holding things in her right hand can be noticeably cumbersome for her. I’m talking this kind of significant strength difference. Again, small children play ukulele. There isn’t much strength required.), I don’t suggest trying to play backward – whatever backward happens to be for your brain.

Lefties playing as lefties and Righties playing as righties is not a matter of dexterity. It’s a NEUROLOGICAL PREFERENCE. And if your brain wants you to play lefty, then unless there is a very strong argument to the contrary, I don’t suggest arguing with your own mind, because it doesn’t matter what your fretting hand is doing if you can’t keep a beat.

So, that’s my opinion on the matter. Everyone is weaker on one side. Unless that difference is marked to the point of noticing it every day, I don’t see any reason to change my original advice.


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