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View Full Version : Boobs vs Ukulele: an ancient battle



Danochka
10-28-2011, 08:16 AM
It seems to be fairly well known that women have a harder time holding ukuleles. Boobs, while usually an asset, are a serious obstacle when it comes to ukes.

I am well endowed, and I just started playing the ukulele. My first couple weeks of playing have reduced me other to a hunchback, stooped over a uke resting in my lap, or some sort of greased pig wrestler, chasing the damn uke all over my body as it slipped, slid and slanted into a hundred different unplayable positions.

Just holding it: it slides down until it's resting under my rack, either way too low to play or with the strings actually facing the floor. Easily dropped.

Squashing/squeezing it under my elbow: This does result in a securely held uke, but it's one that pokes straight out from under my armpit as though it is a machine gun and I am holding the rest of the world at gunpoint. If I hold it parallel to my body, my elbow has nothing solid to press it against and it makes a dive for the floor.

Cradling it from below with said elbow: My arms are not long enough to do this without also holding it in place with my chin. Uncomfortable, to say the least.

Uke thong: I had to make one, since I am in a country where they are not sold and things can't be ordered from abroad. I put together a working model, had a brief moment of hope that it would work... and then realized that, while I was nowhere near as likely to drop it, its back rested against my bits and caused it to slant down and attempt to flip over. I hoisted it up so that it was on the opposite curve and would point upwards- and found that, once again, I'd be better off just tucking the damn thing under my chin.

Upside down uke thong: Tried hooking it from the top. Almost worked. Almost. Still way too squirrely, making it impossible to support it enough for quick chord changes. Plus I had to tighten the strap so much it was like I was wearing a choker with a life-size ukulele pendant.

I'm stranded in Russia, where I was lucky to find a ukulele and some strings. They do not sell ukulele thongs here. I have not found a luthier, let alone one that I would trust to install a strap button on my precious. I felt that I was out of options. I started to think that I was never going to be able to play without wrapping my entire body around the ukulele and holding it in place with an elbow, a wrist, and a leg. In desperation, I tried

Just running a strap around the whole damn thing. I took the hook off of my handmade uke thong and just ran it under the strings and around the body. Comfy, secure, perfect. I need a thinner strap so that it won't interfere with the strings as much, but it's magical. It's rock solid and placed just right, doesn't tilt, and doesn't seem to bother my neck. It may mute the uke a little, but certainly not enough to cause problems unless I was going to try and play for an audience in a noisy room. This being unlikely, I am now satisfied. When I return to America, a strap button is on the top of my list.

And that's that. I hope that my tribulations might help some other struggling members of the curvier sex. :D

austin1
10-28-2011, 08:19 AM
I had this problem for forever, then I installed a strap button, and voila! instant win! I don't know what the situation looks like in Russia, but if you can find a guitar guy, he can probably install it for you. guitars and ukes are apples and---smaller apples. At any rate, nicht oranges.

Skitzic
10-28-2011, 08:24 AM
Yeah a strap button install is pretty simple. You could probably do it yourself!

Mouthy1
10-28-2011, 09:01 AM
I am going to continue to try not to ask for pictures to help clear up this important problem. Must resist.....

coriandre
10-28-2011, 09:08 AM
I am going to continue to try not to ask for pictures to help clear up this important problem. Must resist.....

Damn you Mouthy, you wouldnt beleive how hard I laughed when I read your comment.:D

Lori
10-28-2011, 09:12 AM
You could check out my Uke Leash. I have been shipping all over the world. If your country isn't on the web store as an option, just email me and I will add it.
My design is very helpful for women. If you can still cradle your uke a little in your strumming arm, the Uke Leash will hold the neck in place, and there is no interference with the strings.
ukeleash (http://ukeleash.com)
ukeleash@mac.com
–Lori

Danochka
10-28-2011, 09:22 AM
I'd love to try a uke leash, but the customs fees are prohibitive. Like, buy-another-uke-with-that-money prohibitive.

And Mouthy, I tried to post illustrations, because I know this is the internet. Blame my uncooperative webcam. *grin*

ukulelezo
10-28-2011, 09:34 AM
I recommend reading this thread for fun.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?15164-Has-anyone-designed-a-uke-to-accommodate-a-woman-s-body

I like to call it "THE BOOBALELE". It was made for my friend Amy and her "endowments" and it sounds awesome to boot. Little bit more than at uke leash or strap button though. ;)

Rick Turner
10-28-2011, 09:35 AM
Velcro on back of uke, Velcro on special uke player's blouse... "Look, Ma, no hands!"

Skottoman
10-28-2011, 09:49 AM
I recommend reading this thread for fun.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?15164-Has-anyone-designed-a-uke-to-accommodate-a-woman-s-body

I like to call it "THE BOOBALELE". It was made for my friend Amy and her "endowments" and it sounds awesome to boot. Little bit more than at uke leash or strap button though. ;)

Would love to see the custom creation, but alas, all the pictures have been de-linked... :(

Cheers,
Skottoman

ichadwick
10-28-2011, 10:13 AM
I'm not sure why, but this thread makes me want to learn a James Brown song on my ukulele...

mds725
10-28-2011, 10:52 AM
Boobs vs Ukulele: an ancient battle

I don't have to choose sides, do I?


Would love to see the custom creation, but alas, all the pictures have been de-linked... :


Here's the URL for Bradford Donaldson's website. http://donaldsonukuleles.com He's the luthier who builds "Amy" ukuleles.

Here's a photo of two Amy ukuleles. The backs curve inward to accommodate the user's curves.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=29431&d=1319835063

bbycrts
10-28-2011, 11:01 AM
I recommend reading this thread for fun.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?15164-Has-anyone-designed-a-uke-to-accommodate-a-woman-s-body

I like to call it "THE BOOBALELE". It was made for my friend Amy and her "endowments" and it sounds awesome to boot. Little bit more than at uke leash or strap button though. ;)

I have a custom uke built by the inventor of the boobalele - he does beautiful work!

OldePhart
10-28-2011, 11:59 AM
Velcro on back of uke, Velcro on special uke player's blouse... "Look, Ma, no hands!"
A strip of soft rubbery non-slip shelf lining material glued to the back of the uke works pretty well no matter what you're wearing, and won't snag sweaters, etc.

As for well endowed ladies, I've seen some that hold the uke above the endowment, up almost by their cheek.

John

sukie
10-28-2011, 12:03 PM
A strip of soft rubbery non-slip shelf lining material glued to the back of the uke works pretty well no matter what you're wearing, and won't snag sweaters, etc.

As for well endowed ladies, I've seen some that hold the uke above the endowment, up almost by their cheek.

John

I'm not well-endowed, but I still play sitting down with my ukulele on my lap. With time I've found holding my ukulele gets a lot easier.

ckellogg
10-28-2011, 02:55 PM
Hi Danochka, this is Tinochka (only my mother can call me that now). I have the same well-endowed problem as you. I put a hook on the ukulele, where a strap button would go. We have hooks that stick on to walls, I stuck it on my ukulele. Worked great until I could get a strap button. Yep, you need either a strap button or one of those hooks. Use a ribbon (or a shoestring or anything), tie the other end around the part where the tuners are, then put the strap over your head (and under your right arm) - ocheen harasho!

ukegirl
10-28-2011, 03:37 PM
Those Amy Ukes are sweet!! I have the same issue...but a lot worse trying to wrestle a martin D-18!

KamakOzzie
10-28-2011, 05:14 PM
a martin D-18! :worship:

Bill

hmgberg
10-28-2011, 06:00 PM
When I saw the title to this thread, I thought you were deciding whether to buy a new ukulele or new boobs; was thinking, that's some cheap plastic surgery or a very expensive uke.

I don't even know what to suggest. It's nice that the ladies are offering suggestions.

Keep us abreast ...sorry, couldn't resist.

RyanMFT
10-28-2011, 06:17 PM
I actually see this problem for my wife.....when she tries to play a uke.....seems like it is over or under. None of my ukes have a strap button but I think a full strap would help.

xtoph
10-28-2011, 09:57 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about the relative merits of both boobs and ukuleles. Possibly a discussion of which is better, which one you would take to a desert island etc...

austin1
10-28-2011, 10:21 PM
I thought this thread was going to be about the relative merits of both boobs and ukuleles. Possibly a discussion of which is better, which one you would take to a desert island etc...

I read this first as "which one you would take to a dessert island," and I thought, well, no decisions there.

v30
10-29-2011, 02:22 AM
".....these are the two of my favorite things......da, da, da, da"

joeybug
10-29-2011, 02:33 AM
I also recommend the Uke Leash, I actually find it really hard now to play an Uke that doesn't have an Uke Leash, for no other reason than it slips and slides and with me being in a wheelchair and having little space to hold the Uke even with the leash. Thanks for posting this for our advice :D

byjimini
10-29-2011, 03:04 AM
Well I don't have boobs, and I don't have much body fat either, at least around my chest; I got strap buttons put on all my ukes after 3 days of gigging whilst holding the uke left me with bruised ribs. :(

Leodhas
10-29-2011, 05:14 AM
I thought this thread was going to be about the relative merits of both boobs and ukuleles. Possibly a discussion of which is better, which one you would take to a desert island etc...

I too was lured into this thread by misinterpretation. I feel somewhat deceived and believe our understanding to be the more pressing question.

I personally would go for boobs in the desert island scenario as I'm sure with some effort I could forge a ukulele out of a coconut husk, wood and sinew from a wild animal captured.

I believe I can some up the quandary with a simple sentence. Ukuleles are great, boobs are f**king amazing!

There you go ladies, a small insight into the male mind.

musicmonsterw
10-29-2011, 05:22 AM
This has been a very interesting morning read for me. Thank you all.

bbqribs
10-29-2011, 05:29 AM
Speaking of ancient battles, the Amazons of mythology were said to have cut off their right breasts in order to more effectively use a bow...Never mind. Stick with the uke leash.

Tor
10-29-2011, 05:58 AM
Would love to see the custom creation, but alas, all the pictures have been de-linked... :(

Cheers,
Skottoman

Skottoman,
Inside that thread is a link to another thread with pictures:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17675
and in that first posting there's also a link to Flickr for more ukulele pictures.

I watched the videos and looked at the pictures and thought about some guitars with unusual shapes, and I can easily believe that a ukulele with that shape could be a boon for many, not just women. A solid wood instrument which isn't vibrationally damped by your body should help the sound. There are even add-on devices for guitars to keep your arm from resting on the guitar body and it's claimed to improve sound. So if you can avoid damping the whole back of the instrument? It can only make things better.

-Tor

cantsing
10-29-2011, 08:17 AM
I'd love to try a uke leash, but the customs fees are prohibitive.

If there are others who don't have customs fees who are wondering whether to give the Uke Leash a try, check out this recent thread:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?54320-Problem-with-holding-the-uke-and-changing-chords.

byjimini
10-29-2011, 08:26 AM
How much is a uke leash, and where is Danochka from? I know in the UK that anything under the value of £20-odd sails through customs, and even then it's only 20% (if we're talking £30 or less).

bbqribs
10-29-2011, 01:04 PM
29446 prototype

vanflynn
10-29-2011, 01:19 PM
bbqribs, get a patient on that! Pink for the cause?

Lori
10-29-2011, 01:42 PM
How much is a uke leash, and where is Danochka from? I know in the UK that anything under the value of £20-odd sails through customs, and even then it's only 20% (if we're talking £30 or less).
The Uke Leash in polypro is $14.99 USD. I sell quite a few to the UK. Leather Uke Leash is $29.99 USD.
–Lori

bbqribs
10-29-2011, 02:40 PM
Pink for the cause? yup. I thought it would be fitting.

itsme
10-29-2011, 03:11 PM
I'm not well-endowed, but I still play sitting down with my ukulele on my lap. With time I've found holding my ukulele gets a lot easier.
I'm with you there. :p I play mostly tenors, and sitting down it rests on my right thigh without interference.

OP, you said things were hard to find in Russia, but when you get back to the states, you might look into the Kala thinline travel series of ukes. The body depth is about half that of a regular uke, so there's less to get in the way of your "girls". ;) They are, however, surprisingly full-bodied sounding and quite affordable.

Waterguy
10-29-2011, 03:56 PM
I'm a guy, and my perspective on this subject is kind of automatically skewed. However, I'm going to link a vid that was posted a while back due to a post from Seeso. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN104VMoIr8 That's UU member MissZooey. I am aware that this is a solution that will work for an extremely small portion of the the female ukulele playing population, but I liked it.....a lot. Sue me;)

KamakOzzie
10-29-2011, 04:17 PM
I'm a guy, and my perspective on this subject is kind of automatically skewed. However, I'm going to link a vid that was posted a while back due to a post from Seeso. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN104VMoIr8 That's UU member MissZooey. I am aware that this is a solution that will work for an extremely small portion of the the female ukulele playing population, but I liked it.....a lot. Sue me;)

That's a simple solution. She's playing in the key of B-flat.:o

Bill

Dan Uke
10-29-2011, 09:09 PM
I'm with you there. :p I play mostly tenors, and sitting down it rests on my right thigh without interference.

I'm not well endowed either but I'm a guy...that's why I can rest it on my inner thigh without interference! LOL

consitter
10-29-2011, 09:48 PM
I'm not well endowed either but I'm a guy...that's why I can rest it on my inner thigh without interference! LOL

I've thought about posting the same thing this entire thread, but just didn't have the guts! Cheers to you!

consitter
10-29-2011, 09:51 PM
Wouldn't a uke thong kinda hurt?? Get 'er done!!!

ckellogg
10-30-2011, 06:05 AM
For those of us with pineapples, the ukulele thong doesn't work as well. C'mon, guys, I'm talking about pineapple ukuleles!

JanineH
10-30-2011, 07:20 AM
I made a uke - leash - type strap from a small dog leash attached to the headstock, then round the back of my neck and around my wrist.

It was a great make-do until I could get the real thing.