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View Full Version : How do you hold these things?!



J_Tay81
12-04-2010, 05:09 PM
I have a few ukes, but consider myself a beginner. I also own a Uke Leash which I totally endorse as a great way to keep your jumping flea held up and free up your fretting hand. However, in the event of an impromptu jam or uke test at a music store, how do you hold these things effectively?

I have a couple books that say to cradle the uke in the right arm, butt-end against side of bicep, with its back sort of on the side of my torso. Problem is that if wearing long-sleeves they hit the bridge top and mute the strings (arm does the same thing with or without the sleeve, really).

Secondly, when changing chords, especially to barre chords, it's tough to keep the uke under control without a strap - the little suckers are slippery!

Do you guys and gals use a strap? If not, how do you wrangle these things?

John

janeray1940
12-04-2010, 05:17 PM
I try to play seated whenever possible, and I hold it in my lap, and it's never really a problem - sleeves do get in the way though so they get rolled or pushed up. When I have to stand to play, I'll use a Uke Thong (http://cgi.ebay.com/UKULELE-STRAP-UKE-THONG-CHOOSE-5-COLORS-/250737226737?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a611a73f1). For the music store uke tests, I ask for a chair or sit on the floor.

None of the book descriptions of how to "properly" hold a uke have ever worked for me.

Chris Tarman
12-04-2010, 05:27 PM
You're right about sleeves. I generally hold the butt-end of the uke by pressing it (lightly) into my body with my forearm. Then you can just sort of rest the neck in your other hand without really having to HOLD it there. I was just watching this video today (which is HILARIOUS, btw):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj4N0I7kby4. So today I was experimenting with his method of holding the uke. I think it could work with some practice (with sopranos, at least). It would work well with a banjo uke, I would think. As you see, he holds it a bit higher and kind of rests it on top of his right forearm. A bit unorthodox and old-fashioned-looking, but then, so is he!

lkdumas
12-05-2010, 05:05 AM
Since you own a leash, buy the button adaptor from Lori, attach a strap button available from Guitar Center or Stew-Mac, and problem solved - forever.

J_Tay81
12-05-2010, 06:24 AM
You're right about sleeves. I generally hold the butt-end of the uke by pressing it (lightly) into my body with my forearm. Then you can just sort of rest the neck in your other hand without really having to HOLD it there. I was just watching this video today (which is HILARIOUS, btw):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj4N0I7kby4. So today I was experimenting with his method of holding the uke. I think it could work with some practice (with sopranos, at least). It would work well with a banjo uke, I would think. As you see, he holds it a bit higher and kind of rests it on top of his right forearm. A bit unorthodox and old-fashioned-looking, but then, so is he!

I checked out that video - he does hold that banjo uke high, doesn't he?
I found this video that has been helping me out a bit :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t0DL50a1P4
I'll continue to play around with it a bit. Playing without a Uke Leash makes me appreciate them that much more!

Ingrate
12-05-2010, 07:43 AM
However, in the event of an impromptu jam or uke test at a music store, how do you hold these things effectively?

It seems that any friendly music store personnel would put a strap on the thing while you test it. They might balk at a strap that attaches at the sound hole, however. Why not take your 'uke leash when you go to the store?

savethecheerleader
12-06-2010, 09:54 AM
As someone else mentioned above, I generally try to be seated when I play. I never play as well standing up as I would sitting down. When I do stand up though, I just try to cradle the uke so my forearm closest to my elbow is applying a little pressure to my body. I get a little thrown off though when I have to make drastic chord changes though... maybe someday I'll get it down right.

sukie
12-06-2010, 10:31 AM
Savethecheerleader and I think alike. I sit when I play.

As for clothing -- I find that when I know I will be playing I dress accordingly. Weird.

DAPuke
12-06-2010, 10:52 AM
I would like to have the headstock supported. I'm having trouble making some chord changes because the headstock always needs to be held up. Anyone else? Will them in-the-sound-hole-around-the-neck-thingys help my problem?
DAP

Ingrate
12-06-2010, 10:58 AM
I would like to have the headstock supported. I'm having trouble making some chord changes because the headstock always needs to be held up. Anyone else? Will them in-the-sound-hole-around-the-neck-thingys help my problem?
DAP

Lots of solutions. Here's my cheapo solution:

18229

A shoelace and an adhesive cable-tie anchor.

savethecheerleader
12-06-2010, 11:12 AM
I would like to have the headstock supported. I'm having trouble making some chord changes because the headstock always needs to be held up. Anyone else? Will them in-the-sound-hole-around-the-neck-thingys help my problem?
DAP

Yeah my headstock always takes a nose dive on me.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-06-2010, 11:27 AM
Check out the uke leash, as it does support the neck/head area for sure.

if anything you might lose you grip on the body, but the neck/head is always supported.
No neck/head diving here.

Keep uke'in',

Miss Michele
12-06-2010, 03:17 PM
Am I the only one that likes to stand up while playing the uke?

Chris Tarman
12-06-2010, 05:00 PM
Am I the only one that likes to stand up while playing the uke?

I do some. I need to do it more.

Jnobianchi
12-06-2010, 05:39 PM
Am I the only one that likes to stand up while playing the uke?

No - It's nearly the only way I play. I have friends that have had trouble, so they've mounted a piece of faux fur on the back of the uke body, which really keeps the uke from slipping out of their grip.

I actually used to have a little difficulty with slippage, but once I started playing banjo uke standing up (my MayBell 24 and my Ludwig both weigh several pounds each), I found my problems disappeared. I can hold any uke now, and even sitting, I hold it off my lap, against my body using my forearm. The bicep has never worked for me.

zoegirl27
12-07-2010, 11:20 AM
I have a tenor and I found it difficult to play while standing. Tried the uke leash and while I find it better than using the one that goes around the sound hole, I found that I still had to support the rest of the body a lot more than I thought. I'm a guitar player so maybe that's why I'm not used to having to hold the entire instrument.

I just decided to get a strap button installed. Took it to a local music store who wouldn't do it cause they were afraid of cracking it (um... there's a block of wood at the bottom of the uke, it should be fine) and finally took it to a uke luthier who did it on the spot. I am one happy camper now :)

olgoat52
12-07-2010, 11:30 AM
I have been finding too that coming from a guitar background I tend to keep my wrist inline with the strings. I have found a lot of the uke strums and sounds are much more difficult to achieve like this. Most of the really good players hold their wrists above the strings (check them out on youtube and you will see what I am talking about).

To keep the wrist high you have really have to hold the uke with your forearm on the face and not cradle it.

I big beer belly comes in handy to. If yours is prodigious it can even help you standing up. Mine is more of a sitdown beer belly model at this point, but I am working on it.

SailQwest
12-07-2010, 11:35 AM
Straps for me. I live on a sailboat, and sometimes when we get a bad wake (especially from the idiot ferry drivers) I need to use both hands to hang on. :p