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View Full Version : Another strap thread: Is a strap button on the neck heel necessary?



mds725
08-27-2014, 02:48 PM
I currently use a strap on my tenor and baritone ukuleles. I secure straps to the ukuleles with a strap button on the lower bout and a string that ties the other end of the strap to the headstock. Recently a guitar player warned me not to hold an ukulele by attaching the strap to the headstock because over time that configuration would warp the ukulele's neck. I can understand this concern with guitars, which are heavy, but is it a potential problem with ukuleles too? I wouldn't mind having strap buttons installed on the heel of the necks of my ukuleles if it'll prevent the neck from warping, but I was wondering if it was okay to hold and play an ukulele with a strap attached to the headstock. Any thoughts?

janeray1940
08-27-2014, 02:56 PM
I've asked around about that (luthiers, other players) and been told that with a uke it's much less of a problem than with guitars. While I don't have a problem with installing a strap button on the heel of the neck, I haven't done so because I've tried a couple of ukes that were configured that way and they just felt... weird to me. Not as stable for me, and with an annoying tendency to flop downward (but I guess this depends on where on the heel the button is installed).

Nickie
08-27-2014, 02:59 PM
I wrap mine around the headstock too....I can't remember who gave me that idea. But I imagine with a concert uke, there's little danger of warpage...unless I make a habit of leaning on it all the time.

actadh
08-27-2014, 04:33 PM
I went with the strap button on the heel of my Opio for the potential stability. I have found the the soprano size is harder to use/hold than the concert size. I can rest the concert on my left leg and it is very comfortable, but the soprano on the left leg is not as comfortable to play. I just can't seem to find a sweet spot for holding it. I am still playing with different straps, but it only took a day for the button to not be noticeable to me - it was really weird and in the way the first day.

I had great box seats at Stuart's Opera House in Ohio earlier this year, and was sitting just to the side of Wayne Benson while he was on stage. He is the mandolin player for Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. He was using a button on the heel, and man, he can play. I figured if it was good enough for him, I would do the same on my next ukulele.

wickedwahine11
08-27-2014, 04:54 PM
I don't think you have to have the button. But it is a lot better for me. Three of my ukes involved having me tie to the headstock, and it was fine. But now I have a uke with a strap button and I really like it. It felt stable to me, and knowing it wasn't doing harm was a side benefit.

actadh
08-27-2014, 04:57 PM
I don't think you have to have the button. But it is a lot better for me. Three of my ukes involved having me tie to the headstock, and it was fine. But now I have a uke with a strap button and I really like it. It felt stable to me, and knowing it wasn't doing harm was a side benefit.
I saw your pics with the strap button - Nice! It looks great with the button, but it is a beautiful ukulele, too.

janeray1940
08-27-2014, 05:01 PM
I don't think you have to have the button. But it is a lot better for me. Three of my ukes involved having me tie to the headstock, and it was fine. But now I have a uke with a strap button and I really like it. It felt stable to me, and knowing it wasn't doing harm was a side benefit.

When you are, uh, "wearing" the uke, does it flop forward if you let go of the neck? Not sure if my question even makes sense but the couple of ukes I tried with the two-button setup both felt like they wanted to flop string-side-down unless I really supported the neck with my left hand.

bunnyf
08-27-2014, 05:09 PM
I think an asstrap might be dangerous on your headstock!

wickedwahine11
08-27-2014, 05:16 PM
When you are, uh, "wearing" the uke, does it flop forward if you let go of the neck? Not sure if my question even makes sense but the couple of ukes I tried with the two-button setup both felt like they wanted to flop string-side-down unless I really supported the neck with my left hand.

Nope, it didn't. But I am not sure if he put the button in a "strategic" spot on the underside of the neck so it wouldn't.

70326

janeray1940
08-27-2014, 05:21 PM
Nope, it didn't. But I am not sure if he put the button in a "strategic" spot on the underside of the neck so it wouldn't.

70326

Thanks - I can't recall the placement on the ones I tried but I'm keeping this photo for future reference in case I decide to go for it on my Ohta-San.

(And... because that rosette is just so pretty!)

Icelander53
08-27-2014, 05:22 PM
Maybe it's unlikely with something as light as a uke but why risk it if you have an expensive instrument you love. A tenor uke just doesn't look right to me without the strap buttons. And I don't even sit without a strap.

kypfer
08-27-2014, 09:32 PM
I have strap-buttons on all my instruments. The only one that has a second button on the heel of the neck is my 6-string jumbo guitar, and that's because "it's always been there". I even removed the "neck button" from my 1/2-size Yamaha guitar because it "got in the way" when I was up around the 12th fret. Even my 12-string jumbo has it's strap tied off at the machine heads since I got used to that configuration with my mandolin and ukuleles ... it just feels "right", somehow, and hasn't caused a problem yet :)

janeray1940
08-28-2014, 04:40 AM
I even removed the "neck button" from my 1/2-size Yamaha guitar because it "got in the way" when I was up around the 12th fret.

Thanks for mentioning that - I play up there a lot and hadn't even considered that it might be an issue.

JonThysell
08-28-2014, 08:39 AM
Nope, it didn't. But I am not sure if he put the button in a "strategic" spot on the underside of the neck so it wouldn't.

70326

This is how I have the button on my bari - no problems with it flopping or falling at all, it's very convenient. For all of my ukes without a neck button, I simply leave a small (3-4" diameter) loop of string on the end of the strap, which I wrap around the head (under the strings) and finally loop onto the 4th string tuning peg. Quicker than tying/untying a knot, but sturdy enough to avoid any flopping or falling.

jla
08-28-2014, 09:18 AM
I really like having strap buttons on the heel and bottom of my ukuleles. Mya Moe puts them in as standard. Les Stansell was wonderful about adding them upon request.

Here is a video about strap buttons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfqi5E0gB9Q

kypfer
08-28-2014, 11:16 AM
For all of my ukes without a neck button, I simply leave a small (3-4" diameter) loop of string on the end of the strap, which I wrap around the head (under the strings) and finally loop onto the 4th string tuning peg. Quicker than tying/untying a knot, but sturdy enough to avoid any flopping or falling. Nice idea ... and there was me custom-making "straps" (lengths of fancy cord) for each instrument :rolleyes:

bunnyf
08-28-2014, 03:54 PM
I know it's been corrected, but really, no one else thought ass trap was funny?

janeray1940
08-28-2014, 06:16 PM
I know it's been corrected, but really, no one else thought ass trap was funny?

I might have giggled a little. Or a lot :)

sukie
08-28-2014, 06:30 PM
I have a strap button on the heel on mine. I found the strap tied to the headstock got in my way. Because of my headstock inlay, I could only tie it near the fretboard though. I only wish I knew these things when I had Chuck make my ukulele. It woulda been a much classier button.

mds725
08-28-2014, 06:38 PM
I know it's been corrected, but really, no one else thought ass trap was funny?

"Ass trap" might be funny, but the original typo was "asstrap." As with most humor, it's not the joke but the way you tell it.

kypfer
08-28-2014, 09:29 PM
Sukie wrote :
I found the strap tied to the headstock got in my way. Because of my headstock inlay, I could only tie it near the fretboard though. I can see the quandary between being able to show the classy inlay and tying off the strap in the optimum position ... not a problem I've afforded, yet ;)

sukie
08-29-2014, 03:22 AM
Sukie wrote : I can see the quandary between being able to show the classy inlay and tying off the strap in the optimum position ... not a problem I've afforded, yet ;)

Some day you might, though. :-D

I would say even without my "problem", the strap button is probably a safer, more secure way to go.and I do not ever feel that my ukulele is gonna flip on me. And I don't have to worry ever about the string-end of the strap wearing out. I have soooo many other things to worry about when I play. I try really hard to get all possible obstacles taken care of. I'm about at the point if I suck at playing I can only blame my fingers for not cooperating and nerves. Everything else has been taken care of.

kypfer
08-29-2014, 05:16 AM
... the strap button is probably a safer, more secure way to go.and I do not ever feel that my ukulele is gonna flip on me. Whatever you're happy with is the right way to go. Different people have different physical make-ups as well as different styles of playing and holding the instrument. I've no end of admiration for those who can wedge a ukulele against their body with their forearm and still get enough hand movement to give a presentable performance. Without a strap, I'm hanging on so tight I struggle to change chords!

Different strokes for different folks :)

Dan Uke
08-29-2014, 06:30 AM
Whatever you're happy with is the right way to go. Different people have different physical make-ups as well as different styles of playing and holding the instrument. I've no end of admiration for those who can wedge a ukulele against their body with their forearm and still get enough hand movement to give a presentable performance. Without a strap, I'm hanging on so tight I struggle to change chords!

Different strokes for different folks :)

I was at a beginning group session with Daniel Ho and the first thing he told everyone was to get a strap to make it easier.

Steedy
08-29-2014, 06:44 AM
I took my Big Island Concert ukulele to a local guitar repair shop to have strap buttons installed, and the tech who did the work advised against installing a strap button on the heel of the neck, claiming it "didn't line up" and would make the uke feel unbalanced. He installed an end pin on the bottom, but recommended I use a strap tied to the headstock. I didn't push the issue, because it was a guitar shop after all, and if the guy wasn't comfortable putting a strap button on the heel, I wasn't going to force him to. Guess I'll look around and find someone who works on ukuleles more than guitars...

Radio Flyer
08-29-2014, 07:38 AM
i had an Ibanez guitar with a Martin headstock strap on it for years, never any signs of warpage and the little Martin strap was nice looking. i prefer a strap button and have installed a few and they are easy to install with careful planning ie. location of the button and patient drilling. i'm too picky to let some 'shop tech' drill my uke.

Ukuleleblues
08-29-2014, 03:43 PM
A heel button is nice cause it frees up hand space that can be taken up by a neck strap if not positioned correctly. Personally I don't use straps on my concert/tenor or baris. This reminds me of last year at Christmas when I was playing my 12 string guitar at the local lights festival and the strap popped off the bottom button. Didn't miss a beat, just held it like a huge bari. All those years of uking saved my 12 string.

actadh
09-13-2014, 12:24 PM
My second attempt at a strap was successful. The first one was a Levy meant for a ukulele, but it was too short for me.

I ended up with a Franklin guitar strap that is 2" black cotton with leather ends. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/franklin-strap-2-black-cotton-guitar-strap-with-leather-ends

The heel end is tapered and works well. There is enough flexibility to install and remove easily.

Now I am really glad that I ordered my Opio with a strap button at the heel of the neck as well as on the lower bout. I played outside most of the afternoon - trying it out while sitting in different chairs and playing standing up, which I have never been able to do.

Icelander53
09-13-2014, 12:59 PM
For me two buttons make everything work better.

JoeJazz2000
09-14-2014, 11:50 AM
I use the Uke Leash on all my ukuleles, soprano, concert, tenor and banjo. No drilling needed, excellent left hand and neck stability. You tuck the body of the uke under your right arm as usual, but the neck is supported from the headstock. I use straps on all my guitars so when I started on uke, I didn't want to be supporting the neck with my left hand while holding or changing chords. I have a headstock attachment for each of my ukes and the banjo uke needs another adapter, but I love these things. Lori, you out there?

Lori
09-14-2014, 12:03 PM
I use the Uke Leash on all my ukuleles, soprano, concert, tenor and banjo. No drilling needed, excellent left hand and neck stability. You tuck the body of the uke under your right arm as usual, but the neck is supported from the headstock. I use straps on all my guitars so when I started on uke, I didn't want to be supporting the neck with my left hand while holding or changing chords. I have a headstock attachment for each of my ukes and the banjo uke needs another adapter, but I love these things. Lori, you out there?
Yes, I am here. Checking in occasionally while filling Uke Leash orders. I have Uke Leash Guitar Style straps as well, both one and two button versions. Boy, it is very hot in Los Angeles today. Could use some AC... good thing there is a little breeze right now, or I would be napping.
–Lori

PhilUSAFRet
09-14-2014, 12:20 PM
Love my Softee mandolin strap. Ties onto the headstock