View Full Version : How should I hold my uke? (with 2 pics)

11-15-2011, 04:32 AM

I'm a total beginner with the uke and music in general.
I only know 3 chords: C major, G major and F major.

I have some trouble holding my uke for the G major chord:

1. See pinch.jpg
If I pinch the neck of the uke, I can switch between chords comfortably but the uke don't hold if I have just my thumb (no other fingers).

2. See rest.jpg
If I let the neck of the uke rest in the hand in the corner between the thumb and the index then the uke hold without my fingers but I'm not comfortable at all for the G major. Switching between chords is also slower this way.

What do you think is the best way?

thank you!

11-15-2011, 04:39 AM
The common consensus will be to do what ever is comfortable for you, and gets the job done. That being said, if you can get comfortable with the thumb behind the neck, you will most likely find that to be advantageous as you add more and more chords. I actually changed the way I play G major, and now have my index, and middle fingers switched from what you have in your pics, it allows me to get to other chords faster.

11-15-2011, 04:47 AM
Thank you for the fast answer.

Ok so I'll stick with the "pinch" and think about a way to hold the uke without fingers.

edit: thumb behind the neck: you mean like in the first picture ?

For G major:
- I have the index on the bottom string when I pinch but I can't do it when the neck is resting so I put the middle finger on the bottom string.

11-15-2011, 05:10 AM
Sorry, I mean what you describe as the pinch. as opposed to cradling it.

didn't notice that you had different finger placement in the two pics. Ignore what I said about that, :o

11-15-2011, 05:14 AM
i have some issues with holding also, especially when playing the open chord (G6) .. i started off with my thumb warped around the back, and the beginner chords was really easy like this, but as i advanced i have to learn all over again, now i know you must keep your thumb on the back of the neck , there is just to many chords you need and cant do unless you use this technique

11-15-2011, 05:30 AM
Learn it both ways. Some times one way is easier depending on what chord you are playing previously or after that one. (i.e coming from a C vice coming from a F). Experiment and have fun.

11-15-2011, 05:51 AM
Well, this sounds familiar because I would wager that everyone has gone through this. You've pretty much already received the short answer, which is to do whatever is most comfortable for you. A little bit of a longer answer is that no matter which way you go, you will find that at first, switching between chords - even simple ones like C, F, G, and A - will be awkward and can result in losing your grip or having the uke slip. That will start to decline with repetition. And not just like a week or two, but a lot of it. Little by little, your left hand work will become more fluid and comfortable. And, your right arm will also start helping by doing it's part by cradling the uke's okole and providing more stability.

Yes, it's frustrating, but it's the nature of the beast. Think about learning to drive a manual transmission. At first shifting is really jumpy, and only by doing it over and over and over will your left foot moving between clutch and accelerator and right hand on the shifter become smooth and effortless.

In the mean time, I strongly urge you to consider the Uke Leash. It helped me a lot when I was having the same problem. It keeps the head of your uke stable, so your left hand is able to move along the neck without worrying about also supporting it. The only caution is that it is pretty easy to become dependent on it. That's not a bad thing, but if you do want to play free, you should be aware of that.

Sorry there isn't a easier answer to this, but as is often the case, the only way to learn and get better is to suffer through the learning pains. But then again, it should be about the journey, not just the destination. Keep at it and you'll soon find yourself making progress.

Good luck and have fun with it!

11-15-2011, 07:56 AM
Well thank you all for all the nice answers :)

I will try to learn both way and postpone the choice for when I'm more experienced...

11-15-2011, 08:41 AM
Well thank you all for all the nice answers :)

I will try to learn both way and postpone the choice for when I'm more experienced...

Things change all the time! I've been playing almost 4 years. I still find better ways to do things. You'll do fine. Fun, huh?

11-15-2011, 12:51 PM
The "conventional wisdom" in the guitar world is that you "must" have the thumb behind the neck. Ukulele is a bit different. I find that I move back and forth between the two positions (and everything in between, I suppose) depending on what I'm playing.

Bottom line, do whatever works with the least fatigue and lets you get all of the chords you're playing to ring clearly.