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View Full Version : How should I hold the neck of my uke?



Bookworm
03-06-2014, 06:12 AM
So far, I've been holding my uke with my thumb pressed against the back of the neck. Should I be holding it more like a guitar, cradled in the crook between my thumb and forefinger? When I do that, I tend to mute the A string with my palm and it's harder to make chords. One website I saw claimed that holding the uke wrong could cause problems in your hands, so I was wondering if I should try to change my technique before it gets even more ingrained. Any advice?

KnowsPickin
03-06-2014, 06:27 AM
I recommend holding it with the thumb on the back of the neck. This is how you would be taught in classical guitar. It puts the least strain on the hand. I also use a strap most of the time which helps support the neck so all my fingers need to to is fret, not hold the neck.

A lot of guitarists hold the neck in the crook of the hand, which lets them use the thumb to fret as well. I've never had much luck with this.

Good luck!

Olarte
03-06-2014, 06:30 AM
as a classical guitarist I can tell you what works for me.

Your best bet is to free up both hands so you can move around easily both on the fretboard and to strum or pick.

while I can play without a strap as you can see on some of my youtube videos I prefer to have strap buttons installed on most of my ukuleles. there are other alternatives including the Uke leash which gives some added support as well.


once you start using a strap you now have both hands free. And for the left hand specifically I try to use my thumb only for balance not support. The optimum is to have the pad of the thumb resting behind the neck, balancing your hand so your fingers can move around. it may go up and be seen over the fretboard but only because of the size of the neck, not because it's supporting the uke.

Now without a strap you do have to kind of juggle between proper (free hands) technique and providing some support to the uke, although the main support in that case is from craddling the uke on the crook of your right elbow or holding pressure on it with your inner elbow against your mid-section.

In any case find what works for you, and stay with it consistently...

as a matter of fact one of the Assad Brothers, world re-known classical guitarists plays holding a classical guitar with his elbow pressure as I just described. I don' tknow how but I saw him play for 90 minute like that standing up, and with incredible technique and musicality, so I guess anything is possible. then again he's been playing for 40+ years!


Good luck.

Bookworm
03-06-2014, 06:34 AM
Thanks! I'll definitely be looking into ukulele straps. :)

peaceweaver3
03-06-2014, 08:24 AM
I recommend holding it with the thumb on the back of the neck. This is how you would be taught in classical guitar. It puts the least strain on the hand. I also use a strap most of the time which helps support the neck so all my fingers need to to is fret, not hold the neck.

A lot of guitarists hold the neck in the crook of the hand, which lets them use the thumb to fret as well. I've never had much luck with this.

Good luck!

This is what I do, and I use a Uke Leash. That's what works best for me.

kamaoleBrian
03-12-2014, 06:50 AM
as a classical guitarist I can tell you what works for me.
once you start using a strap you now have both hands free. And for the left hand specifically I try to use my thumb only for balance not support. The optimum is to have the pad of the thumb resting behind the neck, balancing your hand so your fingers can move around.


I don't have a strap yet, but will likely get one.

In the mean time, I finally *finally* found the right sitting position where I can get the right support without all the juggling. I ended up sitting back a bit more than expected and can hold a section of the body inside my right forearm. Once I got there it clicked (the feel, not my arm).

Good luck. You'll find it. If not, get a strap and move on!!

CasanovaGuy
03-12-2014, 10:39 PM
Thumb behind the second fret was how I was taught when I first started playing. The exception is playing beyond the fifth fret, but by then you'll probably be good enough to hold the neck however you want to :D

Tim Mullins
03-13-2014, 05:12 AM
Those considering using a strap may want to take a look at the Mobius Strap http://www.mobiusstrap.com, which gives hand-free support to the ukulele without requiring any strap buttons or other modifications to the instrument. I find it allows proper hand positioning without concern for supporting the ukulele. More playing, less juggling!