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View Full Version : I seriously can't hold this thing...



FakedSympathy
05-20-2013, 05:03 PM
So I just picked up my first uke and I figured by now I'd at least know how to hold the thing.

But I've been watching Youtube videos and reading beginner's material for about 90 straight minutes, and I can't hold this thing for the life of me. No matter where I rest my forearm, I can't hold it in place against my body without it muting the strings. I know I'm supposed to hold it relatively high up on my torso and strum where the bridge meets the body, but no matter which way I position it, I can't get it to stay put. Any movement in my right arm makes the instrument swing around to where I can't functionally use the fretboard.

I'm right handed and I'm playing a Hilo 2652. Anyone know how to solve this???

7warriorlion
05-20-2013, 06:50 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPxc2AN5sag
Uke Minutes 149 - How to Hold Your Ukulele

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?80711-Super-annoyed-and-frustrated-Can-t-hold-the-Uke-properly

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?953-Get-a-grip-holding-the-uke

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6ae3x_free-ukulele-lesson-how-to-tune-and_music#.UZruS7Xvvh4
Free Ukulele Lesson - How to Tune and Hold Your Ukulele

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-hold-your-ukulele-for-playing.html

http://www.strictlyukulele.com/pages/How-to-hold-a-ukulele

Kanaka916
05-20-2013, 07:08 PM
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?9046-How-to-hold-an-Ukulele-D
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?49234-Holding-the-Uke
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?30792-Holding-the-ukulele

armchair_spaceman
05-21-2013, 01:49 AM
From one newb to another...try to relax? A friendly uke shop guy told me to shut my eyes and just hold the uke lightly for a while, move it around to a spot where it feels easy. I thought he was taking the mickey but I have moved/experimented with mine a bit over the first few weeks and it tends to sit easiest where the shut-your-eyes-exercise put it.

And are you wearing long sleeves or other loose clothing? and if so are they interfering with the strings at the bridge?

Just a couple of thoughts, one newb to another.

ichadwick
05-21-2013, 01:59 AM
Try a strap... the Ukeleash is a great item.

PhilUSAFRet
05-21-2013, 02:40 AM
As an added note, many synthetic fabrics are very "slippery." I have a few microweave type long sleeve t-shirts and when I wear them, my uke wants to slip right out from under my arm. Never happens with any other fabric or my bare arm.

teruterubouzu
05-21-2013, 03:14 AM
I'd also try sitting on a different chair. I find it's much easier to hold my uke properly if I'm sitting on a chair instead of slouching on the sofa. This issue bothered me a lot when I first started playing, then I just decided to go with whatever felt comfortable. Don't over-think it. You'll get it eventually.

Tim Mullins
05-21-2013, 07:01 AM
FakedSympathy,

If you continue to have trouble, you might want to consider a Mobius Strap. Here's a video of it in use on a soprano ukulele:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeriA2ZfxAg

Best,

Lori
05-21-2013, 07:30 AM
Yes, a strap will make a big difference. A full Guitar Style Strap will be the most stable, but you will need to have a strap button installed. I have full uke straps on my website (see below). I have also developed the Uke Leash as a button-free solution, and it has helped many people. You can check out all the options on ukeleash.com (see link in signature). They are all made by me in Los Angeles California.

–Lori

Bill Mc
05-21-2013, 07:49 AM
Are you standing or sitting while playing ? Try sitting and get a uke leash.

ranilus
05-21-2013, 10:59 AM
I'd recommend sitting as well. Remember the point is to play your ukulele, not to hold your ukulele. Once you become comfortable enough to play the ukulele, you'll just know how to hold it.

Sit and let the bottom right of the ukulele rest on your right lap, and start playing. After a few days you'll be able to hold it.

Shastastan
05-21-2013, 11:54 AM
Having a strap has helped me a lot. I fought the idea of having one at first, but there were so many positive posts in favor of them, I finally got one. The strap has helped me to relax my left hand some which helps in changing chords--I didn't even think about that at first or I would have gotten a strap sooner.

FakedSympathy
05-21-2013, 12:16 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. I really don't wanna go with a strap, part of the allure of playing is how lightweight and portable the instrument is - I don't wanna have to use any more tools than I need. Watching videos hasn't really helped at all... but I've tried a variety of sitting and standing positions and I think just the very act of trying to play more and more and not think about it has helped me get comfortable with the instrument in my hands.

Thanks for all your replies, I think I'll enjoy this forum :)

Hippie Dribble
05-21-2013, 12:26 PM
Are you standing or sitting while playing ? Try sitting and get a uke leash.

yes I agree with Bill. Sitting on a stool is a great idea.

Raise your right knee slightly and rest your right foot on a low rung on the stool, then rest the lower bout of the uke on your right thigh.

ChaosToo
05-21-2013, 12:39 PM
As daft as it sounds, I just walked around strumming for a while. It helped ...... :D

UkeKiddinMe
05-21-2013, 02:18 PM
FakedSympathy,

If you continue to have trouble, you might want to consider a Mobius Strap. Here's a video of it in use on a soprano ukulele:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeriA2ZfxAg

Best,

For the win.

Tootler
05-21-2013, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. I really don't wanna go with a strap, part of the allure of playing is how lightweight and portable the instrument is - I don't wanna have to use any more tools than I need. Watching videos hasn't really helped at all... but I've tried a variety of sitting and standing positions and I think just the very act of trying to play more and more and not think about it has helped me get comfortable with the instrument in my hands.

Thanks for all your replies, I think I'll enjoy this forum :)

I had problems like you describe when I started so I got a uke leash. I found it helped tremendously and gradually over time, I found I needed it less and less until I could manage without it.

There's nothing to be ashamed of in using a 'prop' in the early days until you get confident.

The advantages of the uke leash are that it needs no strap button, so no mods to the uke and also you still have to support the body, so you are not straying too far from where you eventually want to be. By having the neck supported you get more freedom to move between chords which is a great help early on when you are building up the memory for placement of chords.

Edward Ronald
05-21-2013, 11:57 PM
Really helping and useful talks I saw here. I enjoyed the experience of seniors with authentic replies. Really impressive post I enjoyed here.

Lori
05-22-2013, 08:26 AM
You might check out the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLgJ7pk0X-s
They hold their ukes on the lap/ leg, allowing for the back of the uke to vibrate.
James Hill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gyxeXW_2T8 and Jake use straps. It just frees you up to concentrate on other things, like playing. I have been playing for years now, and I don't expect to ever stop using a strap. It is just too helpful, especially for more difficult songs.

–Lori

addicted2myuke
05-22-2013, 08:32 AM
I cannot play without a strap. Who cares if it doesn't look right? The point is to play as well as you can and make music people enjoy. if it takes using a strap to do this so be it.

addicted2myuke
05-22-2013, 08:38 AM
Jake Shimabukuro wears a strap. Nuff said.

Edward Ronald
05-23-2013, 12:52 AM
I have used "the Ukeleash", It is good and reliable item to use. I strongly recommend it for you.