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View Full Version : Uke falls when changing chords



Huskalator
06-25-2009, 11:30 AM
I have just begun learning to play, this is my first musical instrument and I have come across a difficulty. I am having a lot of trouble holding the ukulele at the neck so that it does not fall when changing chords.

When I rest the neck on the heel of my hand I get a buzzing noise from my hand interfering with the A string. When I keep my hand off the neck it falls when I change chords.

Could I be holding the neck incorrectly or do I just need to get really fast with my chord changes?

Dirka
06-25-2009, 11:39 AM
I had similar problems when I started. You kinda have to wedge it between your forearm and you chest. I also cradle the Uke somewhere between thumb and index finger. First the A-string buzzed alot, but now that problems gone. It's just something that comes with experience.

You could also just get a strap.

Edit: Experiment. There is no single "right way" to hold an uke. Everyone's different. Just don't drop it too often;)

GrumpyCoyote
06-25-2009, 11:46 AM
If you are using the heel of your hand, you may be twisting your left wrist too much... that can lead to more problems than a dropped uke (tendonitis, RTS, Carpal tunnel, for some...).

For many open chords, the neck should be resting sort of near your first finger at or just behind (or in front depending on the chord) of the big knuckle. This allows good natural positioning of your thumb behind the neck, and helps you sort of guide the neck between changes to keep it from dropping. I also use my right hand and arm too when I have to drastically move my left... For movable chords, I usually only need the tension between the thumb and fingertips to hang on.

It's more of an art than a science. There's no "rule" here - just find what works for you and allows you to play comfortably. Don't over-think it, just play standing up more and your body will find what's natural.

Huskalator
06-25-2009, 11:49 AM
Great reply, thank you. Sounds like this is something that just gets better with practice and experimentation and not something fundamental.

GrumpyCoyote
06-25-2009, 11:55 AM
Great reply, thank you. Sounds like this is something that just gets better with practice and experimentation and not something fundamental.

A little bit of both - but you got it, practice makes the difference. :shaka:

Check out Aldrine's lesson on the main site on how to hold a uke for some more tips(I can't find it at the moment because I'm on my phone, but perhaps others can paste a link?)

Lori
06-25-2009, 02:06 PM
If you're trying to hold up a tenor, you will have more trouble than a soprano. The strap idea is a good one, and it has a possible bonus feature. If you have to clamp your arm down on the soundboard to hold the uke, you are interfering with the sound, and may be muting the uke. If, however, it is hanging off a strap, you have both arms free to play, and you aren't smothering the soundbox with your body.

Just the view from my limited experience.

–Lori

HaileISela
06-25-2009, 02:23 PM
A little bit of both - but you got it, practice makes the difference. :shaka:

Check out Aldrine's lesson on the main site on how to hold a uke for some more tips(I can't find it at the moment because I'm on my phone, but perhaps others can paste a link?)

couldn't find that specific one on the comprehensive list, are you sure there is one?

generem
06-25-2009, 05:34 PM
After a bit of practice, it will get easier.. The neck of the uke usually rest between my thumb and pointer finger but if I have to make a chord change that I know i might need to let the uke go for a split second, then I squeeze the the uke a bit with my strumming forearm.

But practice, practice, practice.. its the only way

Bluke
06-26-2009, 09:25 AM
There are many chords and left hand fingerings that are difficult or near impossible to make unless you use a strap to support the instrument. As soon as you need to place your thumb behind the neck, you lose your grip and the neck will drop. A strap will support the uke with NO hands, when you need to reach for that frosty beer.

GrumpyCoyote
06-26-2009, 09:43 AM
There are many chords and left hand fingerings that are difficult or near impossible to make unless you use a strap to support the instrument. As soon as you need to place your thumb behind the neck, you lose your grip and the neck will drop. A strap will support the uke with NO hands, when you need to reach for that frosty beer.

Not sure I agree here (except fo rthe beer bit, that's clearly true:))... Your thumb should usually be behind the neck for almost all movable shapes. I've never had much of an issue hanging onto the uke under those circumstanses.

Some pros use a strap (Taimane Gardner for example), others don't (Jake S.). I think it's safe to say most players do without them.

Straps can clearly help, but they are not required fo any particular style or difficulty.

Ukuleleblues
06-27-2009, 01:32 AM
Make sure you aren't wearing long sleeves or slippery shirts. That helps to hold it. Alos some ukes with geared tuners and big headstocks are heavy on the end of the neck making it hard to hold up. Ths is one of the reasons folks use (put up with) peg tuners. My wife bought a uke thong (strap) it helps her greatly (search for uke thong on e-bay)