View Full Version : Uke safety!

12-12-2015, 06:12 PM
Hey guys.. Ive been playing casually for a couple years and i've never had A string break. My 2 year old nephew got his hands on his cousins ukulele while he was visiting and now he wants a ukulele for xmas. Or a "little guitar" as he calls it. I was thinking of giving him mine to give myself an excuse to buy a new one.. I just have one concern. If he breaks a string(which he probably will) how forceful is it? I know guitar strings can snap pretty violently. I normally would never be asking this because i doubt theres anything to worry about but this is my little baby nephew we're talkin about. I dont want him to get scared and turn his back on music forever.
I've been getting him musical toys since he was an infant so it's pretty exciting that he's actually asking for an instrument

Jim Hanks
12-12-2015, 06:47 PM
What kind of uke so you have? What kind of strings.? All strings are under tension so if they snap and hit you it will sting but doubtful it would draw blood unless they are steel strings. Wound strings might be slightly worse than nylon or flourocarbon but I doubt those would be on anything suitable for a 2 year old. I'd be more concerned about the tyke falling on it and getting a splinter. ;-)

12-12-2015, 10:46 PM
My soprano takes a lot of abuse from the children at work (day care centre). I had almost literally hanging two toddlers on my strings without breaking them.
I wouldn't worry too much, I know my boss doesn't. The one thing I do insist on at work is that the children can play the ukulele, but only within an arms length of me or any colleague, you could call it 'parental guidance'.

Croaky Keith
12-12-2015, 10:56 PM
From my limited knowledge of ukes, soprano have the least tension in their strings, so likely the best option.

Phluffy the Destroyer
12-12-2015, 11:41 PM
If you're truly concerned then perhaps someone should, you know, supervise the child...

12-12-2015, 11:56 PM
My first concern wouldn't be the strings snapping. The few times I have seen a string break it didn't snap or pop back. I would be concerned about sharp edges, throwing dropping the ukulele onto something someone or himself, and putting his fingers inside the strings.... stuff like that.

The $10 walgreens toy ukulele I bought was built with safety in mind (one would hope) and I just pulled the box out of the trash to look for an recommended age. It says 3+. It is light weight, doesn't have tuners w/ gears, no metal frets, rounded corners, and one can assume the plastic can be cleaned off before it goes in a kid's mouth.

12-13-2015, 04:39 AM
I read this thread, and pretty much dismissed it. But then I was doing a search on something else, and decided to type in "children injured by ukulele". I came up with nothing. So then I decided to just search " ukulele injuries". The only thing I found was on the third page there was something about a personal injury lawyer, but it was not specific to ukulele injuries. I know, there's a first time for everything.

12-13-2015, 06:39 AM
...there was something about a personal injury lawyer, but it was not specific to ukulele injuries. I know, there's a first time for everything.

Unless you can count it an "injury" when my heart came close to stopping when I had the chance to see Chuck Moore's "waterfall" ukulele in person last month...Or maybe that was more of a dental specialist injury due to the jaw dropping issue...

12-13-2015, 07:26 AM
FWIW - I've played uke steadily for over 6 years and only last week did I first encounter a string breaking while I was playing (Aquila Nylgut A string, in case anyone was wondering). The noise startled the heck out of me, but when it snapped I didn't feel a thing - not sure if that was because the direction it went was away from my face, or if it was because it wasn't all that forceful to begin with. But yeah, another vote for "adult supervision" - I'd be more worried about the buttons on the tuning pegs coming loose (I've seen this happen numerous times on inexpensive ukes!) and the kiddo swallowing those than I'd worry about injury-by-string.

Inksplosive AL
12-13-2015, 10:02 AM
General reply:

You can choose to live life to its fullest or live worrying about the what if's.


Coming from a guy who played with a Mattel strange change machine and the thingmaker remembering the many burns on my fingertips as a child parental supervision was a given back then. Before Americas childproofing of the 80's when rear car windows opened like garage doors yet we never fell out of the car.

For what its worth I do remember being bought a ukulele around the age of 3-6 and never being able to touch it so I didn't ruin it. I remember what that felt like without much effort. Pretty sure as an adult finding it in pieces I just threw it out without looking at the brand. I hope the Bahamas in the early 70's late 60's were selling junk.

To me the real issue with giving a child an instrument is it is only the beginning of a much larger project. You must be willing to take on the project of teaching the child to tune and play at least a few chords.

~Good Luck~

Inksplosive AL
12-13-2015, 10:04 AM
With that being said the real issue with uke safety is not catching UAS!


12-13-2015, 02:43 PM
But kids with these soft toys are not as rugged as we were. I am a little nervous because a child that age recently grabbed my ukulele by the strings lifted it over her head and knocked the crap out of herself recently... I also saw an immature 5 year old throw a friends prized uke across a restaurant recently. (neither of them my kids)

12-13-2015, 09:58 PM
I also saw an immature 5 year old throw a friends prized uke across a restaurant recently. (neither of them my kids)
As sorry as I feel for the uke this is definitely no longer a problem of the uke, not even when that little bastard gets hurt by some splinters of the smashed uke. Lawyers might have a different view here and try to sue the uke owner and/or manufacturer, but looking at it with some common sense....

If a kid (of any age) is not able to handle the ukulele with care it should probably not have the uke at all.

And besides all that I am convinced a properly treated ukulele will never have snapping strings - and in the unlikely event of a snapping string I seriously doubt it will cause serious injuries (it might leave a scratch or a bruise, but that should be it).


12-14-2015, 08:48 AM
Thinking back on my first encounter with a ukulele at about age six or seven I broke a string when attempting to tune it. That was probably the end of any attempt to learn the instrument, although it was plastic and probably more of a toy than a serious instrument.

Reflecting on how to achieve a better outcome I'd suggest that an ukulele given as a gift to a child should be accompanied by a tuner, tuition on how to use the tuner, and perhaps a spare set of strings.