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ItMakesMeHappy
05-18-2010, 12:10 PM
Hey,

I got my first ukulele about 4 days ago, and I can't hold it at all. I can play songs on it, but I know I'm not holding it right, because once I came across one with an Em chord and a B chord, I realised I couldn't do the switch well because I depended on my left hand.

How do I make it balance firmly without using my hands?

Thanks :)

King FarUke
05-18-2010, 01:59 PM
You will hear a lot of opinions about straps. So.... I will give mine. Before you get frustrated and stop playing, get a strap and learn to form and switch the chords correctly. You will get much more enjoyment and stick with it when you don't have to worry about dropping the uke or pinching it your thumb and/or other fingers while trying to change chords. After you get some confidence, then try playing without a strap. I had some real trouble trying to support that uke (especially while standing) and playing until I got a strap. Keep playing... it gets easier.

Chris Tarman
05-18-2010, 02:36 PM
What size is your uke? It's pretty easy to hold a soprano without a strap (in my opinion at least), but it gets trickier with the larger sizes. With a soprano, I just lightly cradle the neck in my left hand, while my forearm comes in from the bottom of the body and slightly presses the uke to my chest. It's positioned so that my wrist is just about directly over the sound hole and my arm is parallel to the strings. I strum with my fingers/thumb just at the end of the fingerboard. Actually, if I am concentrating on doing it RIGHT, the neck sits on my left thumb rather than in the crook of my left hand.
I use pretty much the same technique with my concert sized ukes, but I generally play my tenor on a strap. But then, I don't play my tenor all that much anymore. I really like sopranos best!

lindydanny
05-19-2010, 03:10 AM
A good way of getting good at switch chords without dropping or pinching the neck is to set down, cross your left leg over your right, and rest the curve of the body on your left thigh. It will release the guitar for your kung fu grip and you can play easier. After a while you can stand and play pretty easily.

~DB

Uncle Rod Higuchi
05-19-2010, 04:24 AM
I like the suggestion to play with a strap first. Then do it without the strap.

However, if you cannot place a strap on your uke, then just know that everyone who has had to make the change from Em to B or B7, etc, had to figure out how to make the change while keeping up with the beat and rhythm of the song.

Part of it is anticipating the change and part of it is developing your fingering dexterity in changing any chords, and both will become easier with a lot of 'practice' (read fun playing with your uke).

Playing the uke without a strap means, for me, resting the neck very briefly on the fleshy part of my hand near the index finger. Physics being what it is, it's very difficult to play the uke in an UN-supported manner. In time, along with the rest of us, you'll figure out a way to do it and you won't even think twice about it. Then you can give your advice to other beginners who seem to be stumped by the process.

Keep uke-in',

Captain_Lovehandles
05-19-2010, 07:00 AM
Also, since you're a girl, you might find this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?24725-Awkward-question-for-the-ladies-%28Holding-the-ukulele%29) interesting.

penster
05-19-2010, 07:32 AM
I am a long time guitar and bass player before taking up the ukulele, so I had the hand dexterity but struggled to make the chord changes in the way you say. I also used a strap at first, but gradually stopped. I play a soprano and a tenor without a strap. It comes with practice. Part of it is using the right forearm to jam the uke body onto your chest so it does not move.
Penster

Lori
05-19-2010, 10:22 AM
I too, had the same problem keeping the neck in place. A strap solved the problem for me. If you don't want to put a permanent strap button on your ukulele, you could try my Uke Leash. It can be used as a training device if you like, or, for me, I have no intension of going without. It just makes it so much easier to do difficult left hand finger changes. It's a ukulele, after all... why should I have to struggle?
–Lori

SailingUke
05-19-2010, 11:48 AM
Here's a method, once you learn the fret board.

12876

Bill Tapia is still playing today at 102 !!

ryanOriley
05-20-2010, 02:09 AM
i'm also fairly new to uke and i was having the same problem but for me i found changing my sitting position made it easier, i'll have my butt on the very front of a chair and lean all the way back so i'm kind of laying down at like a 45 degree angle with my uke on my stomach. obviously this only works when i'm sitting down and playing, i havent fully gotten the hang of standing up and playing but i'm working on it.

ichadwick
05-23-2010, 01:47 AM
I got my first ukulele about 4 days ago, and I can't hold it at all.
That's mostly a matter of practice (and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice...) but in the meatime, take a look at the Uke Leash (http://ukeleash.com/). It's an innovative strap that gives your left arm a lot of freedom to move and change chords, and lessens the effort to clamp the other end, so your right arm is also much more free to strum.

I prefer a strap when I play - old habit from playing guitar I suppose. I've got guitar straps, homemade straps, the uke thong and even a mandolin strap. The Uke Leash works for all but two of my ukes (a very heavy Risa and the U-bass).

JamieFromOntario
05-26-2010, 12:34 AM
I'd say go with a strap.
I have found playing my tenor waaaaaaay easier with a strap. I went to my local guitar shop and had them install a strap button for $5.

Also, I like playing with a strap because i feel that, when I hold the uke with my right arm, I end up deadening some of the sound that would have come through the sound board. And anything that makes a uke quieter is no good by me!

Jamie

brickerenator
05-26-2010, 01:24 AM
That's mostly a matter of practice (and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice and practice...)



http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/2360130/Beirut+Zach+Condon.jpg

Playing without a strap makes you better, IMO.

ichadwick
05-26-2010, 03:15 AM
Playing without a strap makes you better, IMO.
Well, if muffling the sound and constraining the top makes it better. IMHO it makes it sound worse.

Look into the Uke Leash (http://www.ukeleash.com/). Really. It works, give you more flexibility to strum and pick, and lets the top have more freedom to create the sound.