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Down Up Dick
06-12-2014, 10:33 AM
I've read somewhere that the fretting hand thumb should be on the backside of the fingerboard, and I mostly like it that way. But I've also read that the fingerboard should rest between the thumb and index finger, which I mostly don't like. I'm sorta changing to the first position which is a bit awkward of course, and I wondered if it was worth the trouble. I'm also wondering if the change will cause me trouble later on. I already have enough troubles to overcome.

Louis0815
06-12-2014, 10:40 AM
When you hold the neck pointing upwards (roughly 45 degrees) with the headstock at approx the same height as your shoulder it becomes pretty easy to keep the thumb behind the neck. Whether that is the "nicer" position or not has already been discussed endlessly without a clear result - IMHO it pays off in the long run to use this "classical guitar style". Esp. when you start using barre chords it will make things a lot easier (even though some use their thumb for barring the top string/s).

Ukejenny
06-12-2014, 10:52 AM
My thumb moves around quite a bit, but for the most part, is resting on the back of the neck. If I am slouching or sitting in a weird position, my thumb placement suffers because I'm using my thumb more to balance and hold the instrument, which makes chord changes more difficult. If I'm sitting/standing and the instrument is being held correctly, my thumb doesn't have to work nearly as hard. I've also noticed that using some kind of strap takes pressure off my left thumb and helps everything with that hand.

PereBourik
06-12-2014, 10:57 AM
Here's a vote for keeping the thumb on the back of the neck. I had a habit of letting the neck slip down into the crotch of my thumb and forefinger. It places strains on my thumb joint and wrist, leading to arthritis pain. I recommend working to make thumb behind the neck your normal habit. Also you can use pressure from the strumming arm to anchor your uke. As an experiment notice that you can use that arm pressure to fret your chords while keeping the thumb off the neck altogether.

niwenomian
06-12-2014, 11:56 AM
I found it hard to freely move my fretting hand in order to change positions if it was involved at all in supporting the uke. I got a strap which hooks into the soundhole (I would probably rather have an endpin-heelpin typical strap but didn't want to drill my uke) and it provides enough support that my left hand is freed up. Problem solved for me.

Nick

PhilUSAFRet
06-13-2014, 01:05 AM
Another "thumb behind the neck" fan. Mostly current and former guitar players do this, or someone taught by one, because that's the way they hold a guitar neck and are comfortable with that position. No good reason to start with a uke if you don't fall into that category. No real advantage for you. Of course that's just my opinion.

Down Up Dick
06-13-2014, 03:41 PM
Thanks for the info, Peeps. From now on I'm a dedicated thumb behind the fret board guy. I played that way this afternoon with no trouble at all. And no buzz with the A string either.

mm stan
06-13-2014, 11:43 PM
You have to be flexiable for what is comfortable and what works for you....fingers too come in all sizes and shapes,also so do uke necks, age is another factor :)

Daktari
06-14-2014, 01:06 AM
Don't sweat it!

The more you play, the more natural the uke feels in your hands the easier your thumb will find it's natural position.

That's my experience, although it has to be said I've been a guitarist for a long time which has made the transition to uke rather easy.

Practice, practice and more practice is the only way.

pixiepurls
06-14-2014, 02:16 AM
my hand moves around a lot, for a few chords I seem to need the neck in-between index and thumb and for others I seem to need thumb right behind it so it just sorta does what it needs to do to not have buzz or hurt my fingers!

CeeJay
06-14-2014, 02:51 AM
Another "thumb behind the neck" fan. Mostly current and former guitar players do this, or someone taught by one, because that's the way they hold a guitar neck and are comfortable with that position. No good reason to start with a uke if you don't fall into that category. No real advantage for you. Of course that's just my opinion.

Claassical guitarists do for definite...not always the "popular" music players ....you watch Stevie Ray Vaughan ,Bonamassa or Clappo and they hold their guitars so that they can bring then thumb over and fret the E and occasionally A string.....

I like to hold my uke between thumb and forefinger in the first "position" as I can flick about nicely and little finger diddle...a new and teckernickle word or phrase for you... and then as I start to barre or play the higher chord positions the thumb goes almost naturally behind the neck...not to the middle of the neck but on the upward side of the curve...that feels right at home...but that is just me ........

Keep it Ukey

Declaration @ Co. The word "popular" as applied to the word music used in the context as it has been after the term Classical is in no way an inference that Classical music or guitar playing of a Classical nature or in fact any music also referred to by the term Classical is in any way less popular than any other music in particular and with special reference to the music that has been specially referred to as "popular"this statement is by way of reassuring the reader with a Classical penchant that this author is in no way at anytime marginalising sidelining diminishing augmenting minorising (that's one too far) any individual who is of the classical music playing community no way nohow..uh uh..'kay?

Footnote: No Legal Elves were harmed in the production of this disclaimer.

Footnote Appendix: Except Shorty ...but nobody liked him anyway .

Icelander53
06-14-2014, 04:31 AM
You have to be flexiable for what is comfortable and what works for you....fingers too come in all sizes and shapes,also so do uke necks, age is another factor :)

This (but more must be said it seems)

Gary52
06-15-2014, 09:22 AM
Just watched the Roy Smeck video posted in the Uke Talk section. Roy played with the neck between thumb & forefinger, with his thumb sticking waaaay out.

rreffner
06-15-2014, 03:53 PM
Thumb behind the neck. Use a strap.

kypfer
06-15-2014, 09:17 PM
I'm a "lazy" (thumb around the neck) long-time guitar player than can play "properly" (thumb behind the neck) when occaision or chord sequence requires, but it does involve "sitting up properly" (or standing with a strap) to do so. With the uke's narrower neck, I find it almost impossible, with my older larger hands, to fret a Bb chord consistently and accurately other than with a barre and thumb behind the neck, the fingers just won't bend to a "three-finger" Bb chord comfortably.

YMMV obviously, and being young slim and flexible can help enormously with all sorts of contortions, but I'd suggest at least practicing a little with the thumb behind the neck, so's you can use it if you need it ;)

Down Up Dick
06-16-2014, 09:53 AM
I've changed my mind. I, like some of you others, prefer to fret both ways depending on the key of the tune. I was really having trouble though with the index finger/thumb method when using my baritone or six string. Lots of buzzing and or thunking on the A string(s) and just general unhappiness. I think I've fixed most of my problems. I hope I don't forget what I've decided to do (Ha Ha?).

peaceweaver3
06-16-2014, 11:05 AM
I generally keep my thumb behind the neck. Not stuck there, it can and does still move around some depending on chords, keys, barring and all that fun stuff. I also try not to analyze it too much. If I find something isn't working, I move.

When sitting, I usually hold the uke like a classical guitar, with the neck/headstock angled upward as a previous poster described. (Yet I wasn't taught by a guitar player, go figure!) Standing, I use a strap.

May whatever you do work for you and keep the uke in the fun/fulfilling department, instead of that frustrating/fretting one. Sorry, pun intended. :o

Rllink
06-16-2014, 11:28 AM
Well, trying to keep the thumb on the back of the neck kind of screwed me up a little. Some chords it works great, others I have to move my hand to hit them. What screwed me up though was having to think about it. But one thing, holding the neck of the uke up at a 45 degree angle, rather than almost flat, as I was playing, helped considerably.

YogenFruz
06-17-2014, 10:38 AM
I've been playing the cello for a long time, so having the thumb behind the neck was a no brainer for me. That cello muscle memory does tend to get weird once I get to the higher frets though :D