View Full Version : Newbie Question: Grip

07-18-2008, 12:20 AM

I'm having a bit of an issue with my grip of my soprana ukulele. I've been holding it as instructed in the various books I've got but still have problems when making chord changes and find the uke jumps away from me by an inch or so sometimes.

For example if I change from an Am to an Em I find the neck of the Uke jumps away from me and I can't change chords smoothly. It's fine if I'm doing a basic strum but if I'm using the pinky mute method and jazzing up the strum a bit the thing gets uncontrollable and makes a delay between chord changes. Is this just something that comes from practice or am I making a fundamental error with my grip?

Thanks in advance,


07-18-2008, 12:44 AM
I had the exact same problem when I started playing like 4 months ago, especially when going from Am to Em. Don't sweat it, practice makes it all better. Soon you will have no problems in that department.

07-18-2008, 01:40 AM
These problems can partly be helped by cradling the uke body in your right arm a bit, and making sure that you strum where the neck meets the body. If you try to strum over the sound hole, a)that's not ideal soundwise and b)you will have a hard time to control the instrument with your grip.
I recently found out I can clasp a soprano between my, let's say, "upper ribs" and my right "chest", but it would be a better idea to experiment with cradling the body with your arm. Not to mention the grossed-out looks you get when you have a mini-guitar sticking from your b**b...

But seriously, taking care to have your thumb assist the neck at all times will help stabilize the uke as well. Check how others do it on video sites, I am still trying to figure out how that skinny Jake S. can hold a tenor and do all that magic without a strap.

Fellow member Howlin' Hobbit's videos show very nicely how to hold a soprano uke with one arm and strum at the same time, check his Youtube videos to see what I mean. Getting a steady hold is probably the answer to your woes.

07-18-2008, 04:09 AM
Part of the answer to the Am to Em switch is to hold Am with your middle finger.
Then use your pointer finger to start the Em on the A string as you change chords.
Plant the pointer then move the middle and ring to make the Em.

Try just strumming AmX4 to EmX4 to Amx4 to Emx4 over and over.

It's the same motion needed for the Am to G also as in Donovan Frankenriters "Free"

07-25-2008, 12:19 PM
I'm a newbie player, I think I grip it pretty well but after awhile my arm is bright red and starts to get a little painful from the uke digging into my forearm. Does this happen to anybody else? I have a flea btw so maybe it has something to do with the shape.

07-25-2008, 01:19 PM
Hi Roypoy! Welcome to the forum!

I had this problem a bit when I first started -- my first uke was a Fluke, the second a Flea. The Fluke is much thicker at the 'bottom' so this particular problem was worse with the Fluke.

Anyways, I later realized that it was amplified by me pulling the neck too close to me (so I could see the fretboard). As time went on, I could finger the chords without having to look at the frets, and this allowed the neck to drift farther away from my body, changing the angle of that 'bottom' edge of the flea against my arm, so now it's no longer much of an issue.

Try pushing the neck away from you a couple degrees so the edge is not quite so sharp against your arm, this should help. Am I making sense? Hope so .. .

Have fun!