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View Full Version : holding the uke, supporting the tuners



de24
10-26-2008, 08:56 PM
Hello all,

Did a search for something addressing this, but couldn't find much.

I just bought my first uke and am enjoying messing around with it. My main problem is how to hold it. I've looked many places online, YouTube, etc. but still can't really find a way to use my R forearm to press the body of the uke to my chest so that the headstock doesn't droop. Obviously, that is the heaviest part of the instrument (I've got geared tuners).

The problem is this. Until I find a way to do so, I have to support the weight of the instrument with my L hand while fretting, which is no good and also is giving me that dangerous Carpal tunnel wrist curve.

Secondly, I play mandolin and use a strap for the mando (a much heavier instrument) but even so, not many mandolin players use a strap, so I would like to find a way to make the uke work without a strap.

Also, on a mandolin, you fret with the fingertip (which is where your callouses form). Is it different on a uke? This also might change how I fret with my L hand and might be different since I didn't learn on a guitar.

Many thanks in advance.
-kevin

ukeninam
10-26-2008, 09:18 PM
I have a question sitting down or standing up?

I find it tricky holding the uke as well standing up but its getting a little easier now as I progress. So maybe its just a matter of getting used to it and just practicing. The way I hold my uke is I cup the body between my upperarm and chest so that my hand can actually can grasp where the neck meets the body. I honestly don't think there is a wrong or right way of holding an instrument IMO, just go with what's comfortable for now because if you worry about how to be proper it takes away to actually having fun just playing the uke!!!

upskydowncloud
10-27-2008, 12:16 AM
Hello all,

Did a search for something addressing this, but couldn't find much.

I just bought my first uke and am enjoying messing around with it. My main problem is how to hold it. I've looked many places online, YouTube, etc. but still can't really find a way to use my R forearm to press the body of the uke to my chest so that the headstock doesn't droop. Obviously, that is the heaviest part of the instrument (I've got geared tuners).

The problem is this. Until I find a way to do so, I have to support the weight of the instrument with my L hand while fretting, which is no good and also is giving me that dangerous Carpal tunnel wrist curve.

Secondly, I play mandolin and use a strap for the mando (a much heavier instrument) but even so, not many mandolin players use a strap, so I would like to find a way to make the uke work without a strap.

Also, on a mandolin, you fret with the fingertip (which is where your callouses form). Is it different on a uke? This also might change how I fret with my L hand and might be different since I didn't learn on a guitar.

Many thanks in advance.
-kevin

This is difficult and quite important. My ukulele teacher said that they way I held the uke was too guitar like and recommended I did the following to hold it properly:

1. sit with your back straight, it's hard but try not to hunch
2. hold the ukulele at around a 45 degree angle from the ground
3. rest the base of the uke at the top of your thigh
4. you should only really have to use your thumb to support the instrument
5. rest your right forearm on the top part of the body of the uke, roughly between your elbow and wrist.

This might seem a bit tricky and uncomfortable at first but you will get used to it. When I started I couldn't stand up and change chords but I can now. A lot of this will be practice and feel, it does help if you can get someone who knows what they are doing to show you what's going wrong if possible.

I hope that helps a bit.

Ukuleleblues
10-27-2008, 12:51 AM
If you don't have breasts you can hold it with your stumming arm inside of forearm/elbow againt your peck muscle/side. Can't wear longsleves or silky/smooth shirts.

hawaiianmusiclover06
10-27-2008, 12:54 AM
Here's what my ukulele teacher taught me..

1. Make sure that you place the back of the ukulele against your stomach
2. Rest the lower part of the body on your lap
3. Place your right hand on the "waist" of the ukulele's body
4. Hold your left hand out if to shake hands
5. Put the neck of the ukulele in your hand
6. Slide your hands towards the head of the ukulele and raise it to the height of your shoulders

I hope that helps. I am still learning and I agree that it does help if you can get someone who knows how to play and show you what you are doing wrong.

Kaneohe til the end
10-27-2008, 10:29 AM
i think it comes down to practice. eventually your muscles will get stronger, you wont notice it until you think back, like "wow, this used to hurt." thats how it was for me when i started, but now it doesnt hurt anymore. then i started guitar, and that feeling was back again. after a while though, it went away and although i cant play guitar as well as uke, it doesnt hurt to hold it anymore.

if you do decide to get a strap, this might help you:
nukeDoc's vid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2yitWBv194&feature=PlayList&p=4CACE8DE22D71E76&index=9)

UkEdman90
10-27-2008, 05:14 PM
just hold it to where its most comfortable! you dont have to follow tradition! make the instrument yours! hold it tight or loose don't matter as long as you get the nice sound of music! :nana:

my lil 2 cents
-DOn

de24
10-27-2008, 07:40 PM
A few more pieces of info:

1. I'm not that concerned about the "right" way to hold the uke, but I am concerned about using my wrist in a healthy way so as to avoid Carpal tunnel. I know this comes from the angle.

2. I don't have breasts.

3. The most helpful description was from hawaiianmusiclover06. Holding the headstock higher with the body in the lap seemed to help. For the others I didn't quite understand the definition.

4. I'm trying to do this sitting down. Eventually playing standing up would be a bonus.


To upskydowncloud, do you mean holding the uke like this? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHG7j9-d0d0&feature=related) Since I'm right handed, how could I support the weight of the uke with either of my thumbs?

Again, main prob is that I cant hold the body tight against my chest/pecs/stomach with my right forearm or any part of the arm with out the headstock plummeting down because of the weight.


Thanks for all the advice! I know I will get it.
-kevin

upskydowncloud
10-28-2008, 10:44 AM
A few more pieces of info:

To upskydowncloud, do you mean holding the uke like this? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHG7j9-d0d0&feature=related) Since I'm right handed, how could I support the weight of the uke with either of my thumbs?

-kevin

Hey yeah that's what I meant! He seems to hold his a bit further down his thigh than I do but as he says there's no strictly right or wrong way of doing it.

It's hard to describe what I mean about the thumb position. The basic principle is that the thumb of your fretting hand (right in your case) should roughly be positioned opposite the second finger of your fretting hand and should be placed towards the lower half of the neck. Given the curve of the wood this should mean that the thumb supports the neck.

If you take the C chord as an example. If you fret a C chord using the ring finger of your left hand on the third fret of the A string, your thumb should roughly be positioned opposite the second fret of the uke. The thumb should be towards the lower half of the neck so that you suppot the whole of the neck on it.

I think I'll get a picture cos I'm making this sound a hell of a lot harder than it is.

Here's a photo, I don't know if it's any help!

http://www.jgr-design.com/images/uke.jpg