View Full Version : Holding my uke...

07-09-2013, 09:24 AM
...hi, new here and I have a question about how to hold the uke. I have a concert but have started using a strap because I couldn't figure out how to get my chord hand to move when I held it without the strap.

I was resting the bottom of the neck on the bottom of my left index finger. When I did that I could do the easy chords like C, F, and G7 but not Em or anything requiring movement (like picking). So with the strap I barely hold the neck and can move much better.

Just wondering if other newbies have had similar problems.


PS When I look at the pics in Ukulele for Dummies I realize I don't like having my thumb stick out over the top of the neck.

07-09-2013, 09:39 AM
I play a concert, and I always use a strap--it lets me concentrate on fretting instead of holding, and I need all the help I can get! When I started playing, I struggled until I got a Uke Leash (a "half strap" that doesn't require any modifications to the uke). I had a strap button installed on my next uke and I bought (from Lori at UkeLeash.com) an adapter that converted my Uke Leash into a full strap. You can google "how to hold a ukulele" to get plenty of suggestions on holding a ukulele without a strap, but I'm happy with a strap.

07-09-2013, 12:42 PM
Whatever works for you is fine. I am not crazy about straps on the small ukes (concert and soprano) so I glue non-skid rubber shelf liner to the backs of them (yes...I'm not kidding...even my $700 KoAloha has a nice big patch of non-skid rubber glued to the back).

For tenors and baritones I use a strap.


07-09-2013, 01:29 PM
Check some of these tutorials out:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=how+to+hold+a+ukulele&oq=how+to+hold+a+ukulele&gs_l=youtube.12..0l2.3976.15859.0.18775. fXCf4

07-09-2013, 02:11 PM
I play soprano (and sometimes concert) and have strap buttons on all three of my ukes. Using a strap for the first time was like a revelation for me - my playing improved considerably once holding on to the slippery little thing was no longer an issue!

As for your thumb - I've never seen Ukulele For Dummies, but - none of my instructors have ever told me that my thumb should stick out over the neck. I was taught to keep the thumb firmly behind the neck, more or less in the middle, as in this photo (http://www.ukuleletricks.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/1-thumb-behind-the-fretboard.png).

07-09-2013, 03:00 PM
I cannot play without a strap. I had a button installed and made my own straps from strapping that I got from a material store and a plastic buckle. Just slice a hole in one end of the strap and slip it over the button and run the other end under the strings on the head stock and fasten with your plastic buckle. Only cost around $2.00 for both.

Uke San
07-09-2013, 04:01 PM
hi guys, I have the same problem. I don't have a strap and I have some difficulties in going from G to D7 with the barre. There is a little leap in time between the two chords because of finding the right balance in switching position with the left hand. Do you have the same issue? I might get a strap too!

07-10-2013, 05:03 AM
I use one of the Uke Leashes that I got for my slippery soprano but it works just as well on my concert. It has helped my speed as well.

07-10-2013, 06:13 AM
I have the same issue. When I had to reposition from one chord to the other everything felt so unstable it was a distraction. So I installed a strap and button and its much better since it allows me to focus a bit better on the other techniques.

I'd like to be able to play without it and i dont like it tangling around things when i want to put the uke down. I figure it will come with time once my fretting hand figures out how it's supposed to behave and discovers its home position. Waiting for that Aha moment.

My biggest problem is patience, there is so much I want to learn....right now :-)

I like the sticky pad idea though

07-11-2013, 07:27 AM
Different folks, different preferences. Sometimes I sense an undercurrent of reluctance to use a strap from folks who have not tried one--almost like you shouldn't have to use one since you should be able to play just fine without one. Does anyone else sense that? Just wondering why?

07-11-2013, 06:00 PM
Take a good look at the really skilled players like Jake, James Hill and Brittni Paiva.. they usually perform with straps. What is the big deal?


07-12-2013, 08:15 PM
My guess it probably has to do with spending money. I'm new and have balked at spending more money... after a tuner, the uke, music material... bag maybe, etc.. Especially if your not sure if playing the uke will be a long term thing. However, it could also be that most uke's don't come with the buttons to easily attach something. For me, there's no way I'd put a metal hook on my sound hole. I saw a video where someone attached velcro to the back of their uke and used a regular key leash that goes around the neck with the mate to the velcro on it.

07-13-2013, 12:32 PM

That's what I'm wondering, too. Glad I have my straps.