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View Full Version : What's the best way to hold a tenor uke in order to minimize movement?



ianterrell
01-09-2012, 05:27 PM
I got an entry level tenor ukulele for Christmas and have had a blast learning to play. The issue I'm having the most is that between some of the chord transitions the uke itself is moving quite a bit, which makes making the next chord much more difficult than it seems it should.

Examples are from G to Bb, or D7 to F. The fingering is naturally different, but my hand positioning changes between them as well, which moves the uke around. Is this just part of what I need to learn to deal with through practice and practice, or am I making some things harder than they need to be?

This video captures some of the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNtblrQzwmA

Should I be striving to maintain the "thumb on the back" position for all chords, even the "easy" ones like C and F and G, instead of the cradling-it-in-the-palm position?

I bought a book on the uke (Hal Leonard Method) and it says that the instrument should be held in such a way that either hand can be removed and the instrument will stay in place—for the life of me, I can't find a way to make that happen. Every time I search for the topic I find advice for soprano ukes to hug it in place with my right arm, but the tenor seems too big for that.

Thanks for any tips on this!

Ian

haolejohn
01-09-2012, 05:35 PM
I got an entry level tenor ukulele for Christmas and have had a blast learning to play. The issue I'm having the most is that between some of the chord transitions the uke itself is moving quite a bit, which makes making the next chord much more difficult than it seems it should.

Examples are from G to Bb, or D7 to F. The fingering is naturally different, but my hand positioning changes between them as well, which moves the uke around. Is this just part of what I need to learn to deal with through practice and practice, or am I making some things harder than they need to be?

This video captures some of the issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNtblrQzwmA

Should I be striving to maintain the "thumb on the back" position for all chords, even the "easy" ones like C and F and G, instead of the cradling-it-in-the-palm position?

I bought a book on the uke (Hal Leonard Method) and it says that the instrument should be held in such a way that either hand can be removed and the instrument will stay in place—for the life of me, I can't find a way to make that happen. Every time I search for the topic I find advice for soprano ukes to hug it in place with my right arm, but the tenor seems too big for that.

Thanks for any tips on this!

Ian

I may get stoned for this but...hold it where you are comfortable.
Here I am playing a tenor...notice my thumb

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUmXvXpT6gE&feature=related
and here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEnjl1OvPZE&list=FLehQ5ct8qVNa_oFVr7oPUeQ&feature=mh_lolz

I hold it to where it is comfortable to me. when I play barre chords I usually use my thumb in the middle of the neck...But one way to keep it from moving is proper pressure from forearm on lower bout or top or whatever that part of the uke is called by sound hole.

Olarte
01-09-2012, 05:36 PM
Coming from classical guitar I always recommend the thumb in the back.

You should check out the uke leash from ukeleash.com which holds the headstock in place and frees up your left hand, and hold the bout (bottom) of the uke I'm the crook of your right arm. Or if the uke is too big for that then rest the bout in your lap when sitting down.

fretie
01-09-2012, 07:35 PM
A strap could make a lot of difference.

OldePhart
01-10-2012, 11:58 AM
One word - non-skid shelf liner. (OKay, so it's three words.)

Glue (removable spray trim adhesive) a strip to the back of the uke about midway between the centerline and the upper edge. No more shifting around and the rubber shelf liner won't snag sweaters, etc.

It's glued to the uke so you don't have to wonder which case your strap is in, etc. :)

PoiDog
01-10-2012, 12:24 PM
I may get stoned for this but...hold it where you are comfortable.
Here I am playing a tenor...notice my thumb

I hold it to where it is comfortable to me. when I play barre chords I usually use my thumb in the middle of the neck...But one way to keep it from moving is proper pressure from forearm on lower bout or top or whatever that part of the uke is called by sound hole.

Well, hopefully nobody gives you grief over the placement of your thumb, because it works for you. And the one thing I think I can safely say is that even though there may be some technically correct "by-the-book" ways to place your fretting hand, the real truth is the way that works best for you is the real correct way.

PS: Nice vids!

haolejohn
01-10-2012, 12:35 PM
Well, hopefully nobody gives you grief over the placement of your thumb, because it works for you. And the one thing I think I can safely say is that even though there may be some technically correct "by-the-book" ways to place your fretting hand, the real truth is the way that works best for you is the real correct way.

PS: Nice vids!
Thank you but...
I'm a total hack and anti-strap kinda guy. I like to show folks that you can hold a uke up without a strap.

Nickie
01-10-2012, 12:50 PM
I cheat... I can't squeeze it tight enough to me, so I use a mandolin strap. It's nice looking, and it works great. I have one for each uke.

Tootler
01-10-2012, 01:29 PM
Thank you but...
I'm a total hack and anti-strap kinda guy. I like to show folks that you can hold a uke up without a strap.

False pride, I'm afraid. Do not be ashamed to use a strap if it helps stabilise the uke. I agree that uke leash does the job very well. I have one and it makes a big difference.

haolejohn
01-10-2012, 01:32 PM
Still can't bring myself to try a strap or a leash.

molokinirum
01-10-2012, 01:36 PM
Still can't bring myself to try a strap or a leash.

I am with you John, no strap here either!

haolejohn
01-10-2012, 01:37 PM
I am with you John, no strap here either!

YES!!!! I may have to start a new club here. The strapless generation:)

molokinirum
01-10-2012, 01:40 PM
YES!!!! I may have to start a new club here. The strapless generation:)

LOL. Yes, a strapless club!!! Count me in!

Tootler
01-10-2012, 01:49 PM
LOL. Yes, a strapless club!!! Count me in!

False pride, the lot of you ;)

mm stan
01-10-2012, 02:06 PM
Aloha Ian...
I only would ues two type of positions..for the finger behind the neck type, Bb, E, Eb, Gm, barr chords and so forth etc.
As for the Bb when sitting..rest the bottom right bout on your upper right thigh and hold the neck at a 2 oclock position...
barr the first fret a and c strings at an angle for comfort and then c at the second fret and g at the third fret..Keep you
elbow close to you ribs and chording left hand palm upwards...tuck it uner your forearm and ribs while sitting..and get used
to it first the try and stand up...

haolejohn
01-10-2012, 02:08 PM
False pride, the lot of you ;)


LOL!! Maybe. I am a uke and strapless snob:) lol.

cantsing
01-10-2012, 02:52 PM
Hi Ian,

Definitely give some consideration to the Uke Leash. I had the same problem you are describing when I bought my first ukulele (a tenor). I was convinced I should be able to play without a strap, and I was pretty frustrated by the time I finally broke down and ordered a Uke Leash. It made a huge difference for me, and my only regret was waiting so long.

BTW, the creator of the Uke Leash is an active member of this board and a pleasure to do business with.