View Full Version : Getting Comfortable

07-28-2013, 10:21 PM
It was an adjustment for me (and it would be for anyone, I suppose) when I moved from the guitar to the mandolin.

There's a lot of levels to that statement, but the one I'm focused in on right now is holding the instrument.

In order to allow as much resonance to the Ukulele, I want to limit how much I hold it against me obviously. I did a video that I posted here yesterday, that shows how I had crossed my legs to support it, and tried to hold it "machine gun" like (sorta) to keep it away from my ever expanding belly (lol).

Suggestions for a good, stable, trustworthy (don't want it to shift on me in the middle of a song), way to hold the Ukulele during performance? (or "practice" for that matter).


mm stan
07-28-2013, 10:59 PM
Aloha Soup,
have you thought of using a ukulele strap....if you're standing..

07-28-2013, 11:25 PM
I've seen some "straps" in use by folks in YouTube Videos, yes. Sorta remind me (the ones I saw, anyway) of the way Willie Nelson slings his guitar (wraps around the instrument and hooks into the sound hole from the front).

I want to NOT strap it, if at all possible, which forces an arm tuck I guess.


07-29-2013, 02:20 AM
There are strap options other than the hook/thong style you mentioned. Here's one recent thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?83066-To-strap-or-not-to-strap-That-is-the-question) about the topic.

07-29-2013, 02:53 AM
I find that holding the uke - hugging it into your heart - is one of the joys of the instrument.... You can feel the vibrations of the music. Don't give up on holding it yet, it might grow on you.

07-29-2013, 05:12 AM
I went from guitars to mandolins and now to ukes. Where manner of holding a much larger instrument such as a jazzbox guitar has relatively little effect on tone or resonance, smaller sound boxes as come with mandolins and ukes can change in resonance from note to note depending upon changes in how the instrument is held.

Several years ago, I tried a device on one of my mandolins that is designed to isolate the mando body from the player's body; sort of like a wire frame (don't immediately recall the product name). While it seemed to work in controlling player induced tonal and resonance dampening, it felt awkward and added weight to an otherwise light instrument.

One of my ukes has a strap and the other does not. I find that I can settle into playing comfortably with either and without adversely affecting tone and projection, but the technique is different for each setup. I also find that, to the extent that my fretting hand is free to fret as opposed to somewhat doing double duty supporting the neck, both tone and playability are enhanced (probably because a relxed fretting hand encourages overall relaxation).

Playing with the strap, my left hand is, by definition, free to fret and without the strap, I find that I have to support the uke more with my body in order to maintain a light left hand. For me, this is easier to do while sitting with my legs crossed and holding the uke in a modified classical guitar position.

FWIW, I find that I am much more conscious of the value of a light contact with the uke while fingerpicking. Makes it easier to produce distinct and clear notes.

07-29-2013, 08:21 AM
I find the uke leash very useful for freeing the left hand to fret while you can still cradle the body in your right.

I use it mostly with my concert ukes (I don't have any tenors) as I feel quite comfortable just holding the sopranos.

07-29-2013, 12:21 PM
I have one of those whatcha call em wire spider cages on the back of one of my mandolins. It really does help (I even put a couple of sound comparison videos on YouTube about it). I wonder if they make one for the Ukulele?