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Delich
10-16-2018, 05:19 AM
I've never played guitar before so ukulele is my first plucking instrument.

I found it's really hard to hold the ukulele steady when I play, it's a tenor, but is still small for me, and the head would drop down when my left hand left the board.

Since I use 4 fingers approach with my right hand, so I can't hold it with my right, and I don't like to use a strap.

The only way seems effective is to play topless and put the uku on my belly, but that's awkward, you can't play in front of many when you are topless.

I've even thought about to put a piece of double tape on the back of the uku to stick it on my shirt, or rope the uku with my chest.

Any other crazy ideas?

kypfer
10-16-2018, 06:27 AM
Any other crazy ideas?

Give up and buy a harmonica! ... seriously though, all the symptoms you describe would be solved with a strap ... if you get a really thick one you could even use it topless ;)

Rllink
10-16-2018, 06:53 AM
Any other crazy ideas? Has your uke been set up? If so, you might try some different strings.:)

actadh
10-16-2018, 06:58 AM
I get shelf liners or rubbery rug underlays from the dollar stores and cut them about the size of the back of the uke. I put it under the bottom of the uke if sitting down, or on the back of the uke if standing. Helps with slippage.

ripock
10-16-2018, 07:10 AM
Since you have eschewed the obvious solution--viz., the glory and beauty of the strap, there are a few workarounds available to you.

1. Sit down while you play and position the uke like a classical guitar
2. look at the recent thread entitled "sticky pad"
3. improve your technique so that you can squeeze the uke with your right forearm while you're plucking with your right hand
4. look at the youtube channel of Uncle Raggy. He improvises with some velcro affixed to the back of his uke and a lanyard (but if you're going to do this, why not just get a strap)

There's a few options for you. I play tenors exclusively and I never have this problem. I use straps but when I pick up my deskside crappy uke to mess around, I basically just set it in my lap so that the neck is more or less parallel with the floor with the lower bout resting on my right thigh. Or sometimes it seems like I put the crotch of the bouts on my left thigh. Neither one of these postures is best ergonomically, but it works.

kohanmike
10-16-2018, 07:26 AM
Strap, strap, strap. I played guitar for almost 50 years, and uke for 5, the most efficient way to hold either is with a strap.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos

Barrytone
10-16-2018, 08:46 AM
Ukes are fairly light, even a tenor. If you can learn to wedge the lower bout between your shoulder and chest by hunching forward and lightly supporting the neck in your fretting Palm. Check out banjolele players like Formby or Andy Eastwood. Otherwise use a strap.

Down Up Dick
10-16-2018, 09:14 AM
Give up and buy a harmonica! ... seriously though, all the symptoms you describe would be solved with a strap ... if you get a really thick one you could even use it topless ;)

I think ya got it, kypfer. :old:

Jim Hanks
10-16-2018, 10:31 AM
I really don't know what to make of the topless comment. How does that help? :wtf:

There are other kinds of straps if you really don't like the traditional guitar-like strap. Google "ukulele strap hook" or "ukulele strap mobius" for examples

kypfer
10-16-2018, 12:15 PM
I really don't know what to make of the topless comment. How does that help?

The OP made reference to not being able to play in front of many people when topless ... I thought I'd expand the idea ... indeed a wide mobius loop could solve all problems ;)

Lacole
10-17-2018, 04:57 AM
You mentioned not being able to hold it with your right hand because you use all four fingers. This would be true because when you are picking with your right hand you wouldn’t hold the use with your right hand, but with your left. When fretting do you have your left thumb at the back of the neck cupping the neck in your left hand?

Point of contact would be left thumb and right wrist/forearm.

Delich
10-17-2018, 05:01 AM
I know, just don't like it, maybe I'll give a try.

Delich
10-17-2018, 05:09 AM
Since you have eschewed the obvious solution--viz., the glory and beauty of the strap, there are a few workarounds available to you.

1. Sit down while you play and position the uke like a classical guitar
2. look at the recent thread entitled "sticky pad"
3. improve your technique so that you can squeeze the uke with your right forearm while you're plucking with your right hand
4. look at the youtube channel of Uncle Raggy. He improvises with some velcro affixed to the back of his uke and a lanyard (but if you're going to do this, why not just get a strap)

There's a few options for you. I play tenors exclusively and I never have this problem. I use straps but when I pick up my deskside crappy uke to mess around, I basically just set it in my lap so that the neck is more or less parallel with the floor with the lower bout resting on my right thigh. Or sometimes it seems like I put the crotch of the bouts on my left thigh. Neither one of these postures is best ergonomically, but it works.

I tried to play almost vertically, but that position gave me a weird feeling like I was playing a cello, too classical too solemn, don't like it.

I love tenor as well, the tone is so charming but not too deep like a baritone or guitar.

Ukecaster
10-17-2018, 07:18 AM
Magic Fluke sells Grip Strips, a fabric with adhesive on one side. It attaches to the back of your uke, and when in contact with your clothes, prevents the uke from slipping. Of course, it may not work when topless ;)

Spicysteve
10-17-2018, 04:15 PM
I am an all in strap person, 2 strap buttons on every Uke - even my Soprano.
They have been a tremendous help as I have only been playing for about a year, I am able to concentrate on what both of my hands are doing with greater detail.

cyber3d
10-17-2018, 11:17 PM
Magic Flute makes removable rubber grip strips. Place them on the back of the body. Oasis also makes them. They are for classical guitar players.

esank2018
12-19-2018, 12:36 PM
I used to play guitar and when I play I use a guitar support called Tenuto. With the ukulele, I also have trouble keeping it still. Especially when changing chords. I like to play sitting down so I don't want to use a strap.

Anyway, I checked tenuto.ca website and they have a new model which looks like it may work for the ukulele. A tenor ukulele at least. It's designed for narrow bodied guitars. It's called Tenuto Slim. I just placed an order and will let you guys know if it works.

13down
12-21-2018, 07:02 AM
If I'm reading this correctly, it seems like the OP generally doesn't like the feeling of playing with a strap, and wants to be able to play without one.

The only ukes that are *very easy* to play without straps are, imo, 12-fret extremely light solid wood sopranos with basic friction tuners. That includes, for me, the high-end Martins and Kamaks but also a lot of affordable ones, such as the Ohana SK-28 and SK-38.

So basically my advice is, if the strap isn't working for you, start playing an extremely light soprano that's built to be held up with nothing but your hands and balance from your body.

esank2018
12-24-2018, 05:27 PM
114380

I received the Tenuto Slim today. I'm happy to report that it works for the tenor ukulele.

kypfer
12-24-2018, 09:02 PM
Playing a ukulele without a strap is rather like driving a car without a strap - doable, but really not very sensible if you want to go fast ;)

YMMV :music:

peanuts56
12-27-2018, 04:09 AM
The one thing that concerns me is the use of the word tight. To me that would create tension. Excess tension is bad no matter what instrument we play. One great piece of advice I received came from singer/songwriter Michael Johnson, Bluer Than Blue was a huge hit in the late 70's. He was a world class guitarist and had an extensive classical background. He told me to find a comfortable position while playing and to stay as relaxed as possible. Michael used a strap when playing in concert. A good example of Mike's playing is a youtube video of Mike and Leo Kottke. The man had serious skills but he made it look so easy.

esank2018
12-27-2018, 05:15 AM
The one thing that concerns me is the use of the word tight. To me that would create tension. Excess tension is bad no matter what instrument we play.

I agree.


One great piece of advice I received came from singer/songwriter Michael Johnson, Bluer Than Blue was a huge hit in the late 70's. He was a world class guitarist and had an extensive classical background. He told me to find a comfortable position while playing and to stay as relaxed as possible. Michael used a strap when playing in concert. A good example of Mike's playing is a youtube video of Mike and Leo Kottke. The man had serious skills but he made it look so easy.

Nice advice.

peanuts56
12-27-2018, 10:05 AM
I agree.



Nice advice.

Sadly, Michael passed away in 2017. He was in his early 70's and had been battling health issues over the last few years. I know he had gone through bypass surgery at some point in time. He was a first class performer and a wonderful, warm, humble guy. He was incredibly funny and had a very dry wit.
I heard him perform twice back around 2013. The shows were about a month apart and he remembered speaking to me at the first show. I've heard many well known guitarists over the years and he was in my top 3.

Tim Mullins
12-28-2018, 06:21 AM
I've never played guitar before so ukulele is my first plucking instrument.

I found it's really hard to hold the ukulele steady when I play, it's a tenor, but is still small for me, and the head would drop down when my left hand left the board.

Since I use 4 fingers approach with my right hand, so I can't hold it with my right, and I don't like to use a strap.

The only way seems effective is to play topless and put the uku on my belly, but that's awkward, you can't play in front of many when you are topless.

I've even thought about to put a piece of double tape on the back of the uku to stick it on my shirt, or rope the uku with my chest.

Any other crazy ideas?

I came up with the Mobius Strap to solve this exact problem. It gives complete hands-free support without modifying your ukulele. You can check it out at http://www.mobiusstrap.com. Works for me!

Rllink
12-29-2018, 09:53 AM
114289

I received the Tenuto Slim today. I'm happy to report that it works for the tenor ukulele.That is an interesting contraption. My question is, can you move the ukulele around with it attached? I move my ukulele while I play to get a better angle when I change from one chord to another. Would that hinder the movement?

esank2018
12-29-2018, 10:54 AM
That is an interesting contraption. My question is, can you move the ukulele around with it attached? I move my ukulele while I play to get a better angle when I change from one chord to another. Would that hinder the movement?

Iím not sure I understand your question. The purpose of the support is to prevent the ukulele from moving when playing (e.g. when changing chords, etc.).

Anyway with the support on, you can adjust the supportís strap to adjust the height of the ukuleleís neck. The metal part below the suction cups can be swivelled so the ukulele rests better on your belly. You can also rest it either on your right or left leg whichever is comfortable.

Below is a link to a video on how it is used. Itís a different model but same concept.

https://youtu.be/Q0sULb42gtQ

Hope that helps, Sir :D

zztush
01-03-2019, 06:35 PM
I can play guitar in standing posture without strap. There is a hidden technique about it. See these Youtube videos in this order.


Left Hand Technique by Shinji Maki (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9T7-_KDnEM)
Left Hand Technique by Inotomo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTbAQPwOHe0)
Hidden Left Hand Technique by Inotomo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8fPUSr_ZK4)


A is Japanese famous comedian Shinji Maki. He can hold ukulele only with his left hand. B is Inotomo, she also uses her left hand technique in this video. C. Inotomo plays guitalele in standing posture without strap. The left hand technique is not clear but her left hand support helps her playing.

Marty Robbins plays his terz guitar (small guitar) in standing posture without strap. If you see his play in Youtube, you can understand the importance of left hand support in his play. Because the head of his guitar heads to floor and we can see that he holds his guitar in his left hand. Jake Shimabukuro plays his tenor ukulele without strap sometimes. We may see his left hand support sometimes in his play in Youtube.

We may play banjolele without left hand support, because the shape of it's tail is round and we can bit easily hold it only in our right arm. After you've got this technique, your ukulele floats between your left and right hands.

zztush
01-21-2019, 07:48 PM
I found it's really hard to hold the ukulele steady when I play

Ohta-san says that we should hold the ukulele with our thumb and index finger on our left hand steady in his book (Herb Ohta Ukulele Mothod).

The top figure is good example of him. See the base of his index finger. He holds the ukulele with his thumb and base of index finger tight. He opens his side in order to hold his ukulele in this manner.

https://i.ibb.co/YLT4yj6/100-2655-vert.png (https://imgbb.com/)

Bottom one is wrong example. This finger position is often seen on ukulele players with straps. He holds ukulele with his thumb and tip of his index finger. We can not hold ukulele steady or play easily in this style.

Rllink
01-22-2019, 02:54 AM
I’m not sure I understand your question. The purpose of the support is to prevent the ukulele from moving when playing (e.g. when changing chords, etc.).

Anyway with the support on, you can adjust the support’s strap to adjust the height of the ukulele’s neck. The metal part below the suction cups can be swivelled so the ukulele rests better on your belly. You can also rest it either on your right or left leg whichever is comfortable.

Below is a link to a video on how it is used. It’s a different model but same concept.

https://youtu.be/Q0sULb42gtQ

Hope that helps, Sir :D

I watched the video and I see what his is doing. That might work. The point of the question was because I do not play a static instrument. I need to be able to tip the neck up to hit some chords, and move it back down a little for others. Plus I'm kind of animated when I play, I don't sit still. I would need a range of motion, some fluidity to play with. I did not know what this was. Someone one time was suggesting an adjustable contraption that stood on the floor and held the ukulele for the player, so they did not have to hold it at all. That seemed to be constricting, and that is what was coming to my mind when you first mentioned it. That said, I get along well enough just holding my uke, and sometimes I use a strap if I need a little more support, and that works fine. So I was just interested. Probably not something I'm going to invest in. Thanks for the video link.

Bill Sheehan
01-22-2019, 05:55 AM
I can play guitar in standing posture without strap. There is a hidden technique about it. See these Youtube videos in this order.


Left Hand Technique by Shinji Maki (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9T7-_KDnEM)
Left Hand Technique by Inotomo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTbAQPwOHe0)
Hidden Left Hand Technique by Inotomo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8fPUSr_ZK4)


A is Japanese famous comedian Shinji Maki. He can hold ukulele only with his left hand. B is Inotomo, she also uses her left hand technique in this video. C. Inotomo plays guitalele in standing posture without strap. The left hand technique is not clear but her left hand support helps her playing.

Marty Robbins plays his terz guitar (small guitar) in standing posture without strap. If you see his play in Youtube, you can understand the importance of left hand support in his play. Because the head of his guitar heads to floor and we can see that he holds his guitar in his left hand. Jake Shimabukuro plays his tenor ukulele without strap sometimes. We may see his left hand support sometimes in his play in Youtube.

We may play banjolele without left hand support, because the shape of it's tail is round and we can bit easily hold it only in our right arm. After you've got this technique, your ukulele floats between your left and right hands.

Hey Tush, I enjoyed watching those videos; the third one, in particular, is a good example of how nice it can be with just a uke (guitalele, in this case) and a single voice. Ms. Inotomo really has a pretty voice. And it's cool the way she handles the instrument without any kind of strap.
P.S. When I woke up this morning, if there were two words I never thought I'd say today, they would have been "Hey Tush"...

zztush
01-24-2019, 09:25 PM
Hey Bill! I am Tush. ZZ Top's Tush is my favourite song. Inotomo's Youtube videos have taught me two things. The first one is that we can play guitalele without any kind of strap in standing posture. That is very cool. And she put long sleeve shirt dress. I know that half sleeve shirt helps to hold ukulele on my right arm. I've believed that they could hold ukulele only by left hand. Holding ukulele is very basic technique for us beginners. And this basic is important even if you put straps on. I rather recommend OP to learn how to hold ukulele than strap. There is proper method of holding ukulele and we can play ukulele without straps. Now I can hold ukulele only by left hand.

And the other thing I've learnt from her Youtube is that such small lady can play Gibson J-45 (jumbo guitar).

Hi, Dave! The only one I win you in my collection is Gibson J-45. But I know you will soon over take me. :-)

Bill Sheehan
01-25-2019, 03:00 AM
Thanks, Tush! Yes, the ZZ Top tune is pretty cool! I was in college during the seventies and thought those guys were awesome! But my main idol was always Jose Feliciano; always loved his nylon-string guitar playing. And Terry Kath of the band "Chicago" was my other idol; I'll never forget the first time I heard "25 or 6 to 4" on the car radio in the Spring of my junior year of high school, and how I was just astounded at the guitar playing; Terry died way too young, but that is life. I've always felt so lucky to have grown up during a time frame where the musical artists I listened to (all of whom were popular at the time) included the likes of the Beatles, the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, the Beach Boys, Chicago, James Taylor, America, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, The Kinks, Glen Campbell, Three Dog Night, The Hollies, the Temptations, Earth, Wind & Fire, Poco, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and so on, ALL going on at the same time!! I know I might sound like an old cranky guy here, but somehow the music scene seems to have lost something nowadays, and I honestly don't mean to stir up a hornets' nest with that remark, because there are of course many wonderful artists out there, but somehow, something seems to have been lost along the way. But we have to go with the ebb and flow of things, I suppose, and try to find the good in everything!

peanuts56
01-25-2019, 09:52 AM
Ohta-san says that we should hold the ukulele with our thumb and index finger on our left hand steady in his book (Herb Ohta Ukulele Mothod).

The top figure is good example of him. See the base of his index finger. He holds the ukulele with his thumb and base of index finger tight. He opens his side in order to hold his ukulele in this manner.

https://i.ibb.co/YLT4yj6/100-2655-vert.png (https://imgbb.com/)

Bottom one is wrong example. This finger position is often seen on ukulele players with straps. He holds ukulele with his thumb and tip of his index finger. We can not hold ukulele steady or play easily in this style.

Great advice from one of the masters. I've heard Ohta San and Herb Jr. live a few times. Any advice Ohta San gives should be followed to the letter. He still plays great at 82 or 83. I had the chance to meet him in 2016, great guy. I also got to meet and talk with Herb Jr at the Kamaka facility. Extremely gracious as well.

zztush
01-27-2019, 12:30 AM
Hi, Bill! Thank you for the reply. My favourite album of Jose Feliciano is "And the Feeling's Good" (See the figure below). I had this one both LP and CD, now I have only CD. I like his voice. I had Chicago's LP "The Great Chicago". This one is Japan only. hehe

A1 Introduction
A2 Does Anybody Really Know What Time Ii Is?
A3 Questions 67 And 68
A4 I'm A Man
A5 Prologue, August 29, 1968
A6 Someday (August 29, 1968)
B1 Poem For The People
B2 Make Me Smile
B3 25 Or 6 To 4
B4 Flight 602
B5 Free
B6 Lowdown

This album is released for their Japan tour 1971. They've released only double ablums but this one was single album and best selection. I thought this one was very reasonable. I like 25 Or 6 To 4 too. I remember that I tried to play by ear Terry Kath's lead guitar on this album with my acoustic guitar. LP was not good for repeat dictation and my dad was angry with me. My Idol is the Allmann Brothers Band. When I was senior in high school, we had a Rock festival in a college near by. There was a tribute band of the Allmann Brothers Band in Kobe Japan. It is Idle Wild South. I knew nothing about the band before I went there. The opening was "Don't want You No more". The sound was exactly the same as Duane Allman's Les Paul and Marshall amp to me. I thought Duane descented to the stage. The funny thing about the concert was that there are many muscular college students were employed for the guard of the stage. That was mid 70s. Not far from Woodstock. Audience were all crazy. The muscular students were employed from Karate, Judo, American Football team and so on. We were long hair, they were short cut. But they were laughing too. Just their appearance was not suitable for the concert. Yes we had a really good era for music.


https://i.ibb.co/HGvTMzM/6.png (https://ibb.co/dk94323)

Hi, peanuts56! You are lucky you met Ohta-san in person. You might see his famous big thumb nail on his right hand. I quote a chapter "Listen to the music" in his book below.



Good musicians are good listeners. This doesn't mean that we listen to music on radio doing something else. The serious music students listen to music with some criteria.

Which key, major or minor
Beat
Sound variety
Sound volume
Tempo
Which intruments
Which chords

Listen to any kind of music (Hawaiian, Folk, Country& Western, Rock, Pop, Standard, Jazz, Renaissance, Baroque, Roman, Contemporary). You can distinguish the kind of chord, after listening various kind of music with close attention. After this step, you can play music by ear without music sheets.


I did not believe this advice because I thought practice is most important. Ms Seiko Sumi is a pianist and educator. She says that listing is the basic of music in her book. Two masters say same thing. I thought it worth to try.

https://i.ibb.co/FJVTKvF/2.jpg (https://imgbb.com/)

Now a days, we listen to music while driving, reading, walking.... We do not much attention to music. Our ear is get used to it, we can do anything with listening. Our ear is half closed and eye are working when listening music. When I was kids I listen to music in front of Stereo Hi Fi system. LP records require concentration. I can not do all of the criteria Ota-san gives during listening, I just close my eyes. Then image of the musicians, instruments and stage come up. This changes my music life. I enjoy listening music every day. This brings me better chord recognition as Ota-san said. Now I really appreciate chord progression of Stairway To Heaven (Am AmM9onG# Am7onG Don F# F6), intro of Yesterday (C B7sus4 E7 Am) and so on. We can play any songs we hear, chords are same. We can play any chords we hear. Ohta-san is great ukulele player and educator.

Bill Sheehan
01-27-2019, 05:04 AM
Thank you so much, Tush, for your thoughtful and detailed reply! Have a good Sunday and a good week ahead!