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View Full Version : How long did it take you to get used to a new Uke?



rappsy
07-30-2015, 07:04 AM
Over time, I have had the opportunity to play and own a variety of Ukes, from sopranos to tenors.

Although many of them have similar shapes, there are those, such as the Flea, Fluke, Boat Paddle, Pear, etc. that require a different way to hold and support

Recently having received a Pear type, I find my fretting hand is touching the strings a bit more, muting them, and my right hand is finding the resting position difficult to find as well as sometimes missing the strings when I pick.

When I switch to the bigger bodies, similar things occur, just in slightly different positions.

Is this just getting used to the instrument or is something more sinister, such as my psyche telling me what it wants to play?

WCBarnes
07-30-2015, 07:38 AM
In my experience the neck and string spacing have been the things I need to get used to when switching ukes. The neck shape of my KoAloha concert (my go-to uke) is so different from my Flea that it takes some time to be able to fret the Flea cleanly. Similarly, the string spacing on the Bonanza baritone I got recently is different from my Ohana baritone and when I try to finger-pick a song I over/under reach depending on which one I am playing. So I think it is very natural to have an adjustment period when switching between different ukes until your fingers regain their familiarity with the instrument.

k0k0peli
07-30-2015, 07:46 AM
Is this just getting used to the instrument or is something more sinister, such as my psyche telling me what it wants to play? That depends on the characters and motivations of the voices in your head, hey? I always listen to my voices. (Sometimes it's better to ignore them.) But I digress.

No, it's a mater of familiarity. I have 'ukes and mandos of various shapes: F-type and teardrop mandos, banjo mando and 'uke, guitar-shaped sopranos-concert-tenors, a thin pear-shaped baritone -- and of course the guitars, banjos, dulcimers, etc. Each has its own best way(s) to be handled. All my tenors (4- and 6- and 8- and 10-string) have the same body form but demand very different approaches to playing. And I have two identical Kohala sopranos but one is tuned standard gCEa and the other is strung in 5ths, so they handle quite distinctly. An almost-identical Ohana soprano is strung reversed and tuned to re-entrant 5ths, so it can't be played like the other sopranos either.

Each has its own feel and sound. I must merely familiarize myself with each's characteristics. Practice, practice, practice...

PhilUSAFRet
07-30-2015, 07:46 AM
Some instantly, some it took several weeks, and some never....these are the one's I sell or trade.

DownUpDave
07-30-2015, 08:04 AM
Depends on which finger I have cut with a kitchen knive. Pinkies aren't so badddd :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

Sorry buddy, just could not help myself.

Camsuke
07-30-2015, 12:20 PM
Good question Lenny, if I play a ukulele that feels and sounds nice to me, I'll get used to it in no time at all. I do need to like it from the get go though, life's way too short to waste time on a ukulele that's not a good fit.

Hippie Dribble
07-30-2015, 12:41 PM
Good question Lenny, if I play a ukulele that feels and sounds nice to me, I'll get used to it in no time at all. I do need to like it from the get go though, life way too short to waste time on a ukulele that's not a good fit.

I agree with this. I know almost instantly whether it feels right and sounds right. From the first few strums and notes. It's a gut feeling you get which is important and it's almost always spot on. I've sold on a lot of instruments but only a handful of those I really miss.

deschutestrout
07-30-2015, 01:06 PM
I generally transition smoothly, the only exception is the KoAloha concert I recently received ... for some reason my fretting hand almost ALWAYS goes a fret too low initially. Once I start playing, all is fine. I'm getting into the habit of looking before i strum my first chord with that uke. It has become one of my favorites :-)

rappsy
07-30-2015, 04:16 PM
I do find some feel good faster than others. I have felt disappointment in the sound of some I took right out of the box and then immediately changed the strings. I then liked it a whole lot more or my opinion stayed the same. When the opinion stayed the same, fair or not, it didn't have a long shelf life in my arsenal.

I have been lucky overall, and have absorbed a bit of information on each Uke I get and I get closer to knowing what I like.

Fleacia
07-30-2015, 04:45 PM
k0k0peli has said similar things in a thread I started about playing multiple ukes regularly, regardless of differences. I agree. The question you need to answer for yourself is: Is it worth it? any adjustment period, that is. Personally, my answer is no. So I have one uke and that's the way I (apparently) like it.

Having said that, the one uke way is new to me. Over the years I've played a lot of ukes. Some took no adjustment at all. In fact the first time I took a uke in hand, after I'd ordered online and never touched one before and only knew how to tune it with the pitch pipe, I was playing chords in minutes. But I've taken others in my hands and immediately the feeling was, eeewww I don't like this. Still others I've put up with the adjustment period and enjoyed them for a long time after that. The Flea and Vita ukes were 2 of those.

Yes, there will be adjustments. If you enjoy the instruments, and for me sound is a big part of that, they may be worth it. If there are too many things to get used to though, you may find it's time to walk away from some. And you may find, too, that you'll come back to some of those later and have no trouble, as if by magic... But it's just time and preferences changing.

I've rambled enough, but hopefully something here has helped!

kohanmike
07-30-2015, 05:15 PM
My first uke two years ago coming from guitar was a whim purchase of what I found out was a soprano when I had a hard time making the tight chords. I learned about sizes and immediately went for a tenor and that's all I use (other than u-basses). As I went through about sixteen ukes in about eighteen months, I could feel the difference between them.

I'm down to four now, the Uku Hanknn and Kala cedar are very comfortable, but the the gypsy and mandolele customs made by a builder in Vietnam were a little more difficult to play. In closely comparing them, I discovered that the string spacing at the nut was closer on the two customs, so I had new nuts made with wider spacing and now they're all equally comfortable.

k0k0peli
08-01-2015, 05:23 AM
I sort of side-stepped the question earlier. How long? How much practice-practice-practice? For me it depends on physical familiarity. When I concentrated on 6-steel-string acoustic guitars, getting used to a new one of similar size and weight to a prior git was trivial, but exploring its capabilities and character might take forever. I'm still learning new things about my Ibanez Performance PF5 maybe 25 years later. (Getting used to mandolins is also a long-term project.)

My first usable 'uke was the Kohala sporano KD-STPD from just two years ago; getting used to its small fretboard and re-entrant tuning took a few weeks. My second 'uke from just 3.5 months ago, the Kala KA6 6-string tenor, is a tricky beast; getting used to its g-cC-E-Aa stringing may take quite a while. Getting used to the 4-string Harmonia UKLL2N baritone and Alvarez RU22T tenor was trivial; they play like small guitars. After playing sopranos and tenors, the Harmonia UK201 concert felt like an old friend. When I restring a baritone for Venezuelan cuatro tuning (GceA) it will probably be as disconcerting as the KA6 and the old Martin tiple (gG-cCc-eEe-aa) -- unsettling because of their un-guitar-like imbalances and odd re-entrances.

How long to get used to a new 'uke? That depends on how strange it is shaped and strung.

Nickie
08-02-2015, 01:20 PM
" banjo mando and 'uke, guitar-shaped sopranos-concert-tenors, a thin pear-shaped baritone"

All this cross breeding is really going to mess up the breed.....

k0k0peli
08-02-2015, 01:47 PM
" banjo mando and 'uke, guitar-shaped sopranos-concert-tenors, a thin pear-shaped baritone"

All this cross breeding is really going to mess up the breed..... I plan to build resophonic and banjo dulcimers, 2- or 3-neck banjo 'ukes, a 'uke d'amore (with hidden sympathetic strings), and I'm working on a mando-balalaika. Nothing is safe here, nyeh-heh-heh! [/me rubs palms together and considers further atrocities]

Nickie
08-02-2015, 01:55 PM
I plan to build resophonic and banjo dulcimers, 2- or 3-neck banjo 'ukes, a 'uke d'amore (with hidden sympathetic strings), and I'm working on a mando-balalaika. Nothing is safe here, nyeh-heh-heh! [/me rubs palms together and considers further atrocities]

Sacrilege! Is nothing sacred? (sights and sounds of an angry mob with torches and ugly tools raised high)

k0k0peli
08-02-2015, 02:13 PM
Sacrilege! Is nothing sacred? (sights and sounds of an angry mob with torches and ugly tools raised high) I am fortunately far-off in the forest surrounded by a trained pack of guard squirrels. And my escape is planned. But still, I should dig a cave for my secret la-BOR-a-tory. I'll just put my pack of trained excavation moles to work. Igor, loose the rodents!

rappsy
08-05-2015, 09:35 AM
I like thinner necks and bodies, so when one of these variables is different, it changes the feel for me. I also find that different neck types are also a bit hard to get used to. I look down to find the top part of my hand near the pinky seem to hit the A string, muting it.

I need to be a bit conscious of it when I change Ukes. I am sure it will be something I get used to as I play different Ukes.

Opinions seems to be that there shouldn't be that much of a transition period. That's what makes it a fun place to discuss things. We all have different ways to approach the same thing.

Recstar24
08-05-2015, 10:11 AM
3 months appears to be the rough amount of time it takes me to get an instrument to sound pretty decent. It's remarkable how subtle differences in spacing and neck width, shape, action, strings impact the overall feel and performance of an instrument. On top of that, each uke I've had has been so different from each other with its own strengths and weaknesses that it's take me some time to learn how to hold and evoke the inherent sound the builder was trying to create. Plus the wood is an organic changing thing so it literally is morphing underneath your hands, I think it's important to try to give an instrument it's due time to see how it fits you as a player.

sam13
08-05-2015, 10:39 AM
Hey Lenny,

Too long if you don't like it ... just way too long. Don't go against your gut ... it is always right.