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View Full Version : I have an issue with my ukes now



Nickie
07-04-2014, 12:10 PM
No, this isn't an excuse to buy another uke....yesterday, we were in Compass Music, and I saw 2 or 3 ukes I thought I'd really like, and Tammy took my hand, and gently led me away, saying, 'it's okay, you don't need them, it's okay....'
I think I'm gonna be okay....maybe I just need a shot of Ativan before we go next time....
Anywa, I digress. Now that I am learning to finger pick new songs, and not just strum chords, I find that I must rest on my pinkie and my right forearm. My arm rests on the edge of the side/top of my uke. After a little while, it starts to really hurt...I can barely keep it there long enough to learn a new song without a lot of pain....
is there something that can be mounted on the edge of my ukes? I've seen custom ukes that are beveled there and appear to have different wood there....I wonder how much it would cost to have that done....I don't really wanna hafta buy another uke just now....
or maybe I do.....nah, I love my Ohana....
what say you, fellow UUers?

Mattyukaholic
07-04-2014, 12:14 PM
A good excuse for another uke! ;)

cletus
07-04-2014, 12:30 PM
Hi there

This one has an "armrest".

http://southcoastukes.com/tenor%20largo.htm

:cheers:

Icelander53
07-04-2014, 12:32 PM
A good excuse for another uke! ;)

Bingo!

Or you can wrap your arm in bubblewrap.

stevepetergal
07-04-2014, 12:36 PM
On ebay, a seller called taisamlu sells armrests for concerts and tenors. I think they're about 16 bucks with shipping.

CeeJay
07-04-2014, 12:42 PM
No, this isn't an excuse to buy another uke....yesterday, we were in Compass Music, and I saw 2 or 3 ukes I thought I'd really like, and Tammy took my hand, and gently led me away, saying, 'it's okay, you don't need them, it's okay....'
I think I'm gonna be okay....maybe I just need a shot of Ativan before we go next time....
Anywa, I digress. Now that I am learning to finger pick new songs, and not just strum chords, I find that I must rest on my pinkie and my right forearm. My arm rests on the edge of the side/top of my uke. After a little while, it starts to really hurt...I can barely keep it there long enough to learn a new song without a lot of pain....
is there something that can be mounted on the edge of my ukes? I've seen custom ukes that are beveled there and appear to have different wood there....I wonder how much it would cost to have that done....I don't really wanna hafta buy another uke just now....
or maybe I do.....nah, I love my Ohana....
what say you, fellow UUers?

First ....and may I please say that as probably one of the least liked and most misunderstood posters on this forum that I am NOT having a go at the poster......really....but I did just pick up on the phrase "not Just strum chords" ...why do we tend dismiss strumming as somehow ...unworthy ,untalented or even un-entertaining ?

Some strumming ,particularly melodic strumming is as complex and difficult as any other style.......but ...to answer ...partly ..the question.....

Vary your position of picking ....look at what banjo players do ....they play around the bridge with the pinky "planted "because there is no real forearm rest..........
and they also play "up the neck" moving the right hand forward from the bridge toward the neck ..indeed up the neck and may float the right hand a little ...I do cos I play the banjo a little...and it as close a cousin to a re-entrant tuned ukelele as a guitar is to a bass strung uke....this stops the hand from cramping and gives a little relief to the muscles...then go back ..it also changes the tone of the playing somewhat ....usually .....

Don't forget as well that you are bringing new muscles and tendons into play as well ...if you are a "forefinger " strummer you will probably have a very relaxed hand and the wrist will be supplying a lot of the motion required ..finger picking the hand will remain more still and the fingers will roll and waggle (technical term alert) more....so basically just take it a bit at a time ....

Kayak Jim
07-04-2014, 01:12 PM
I didn't take Nickie's statement to be dismissive of strumming at all, just that she was expanding her realm of playing.

Some good options presented by the replies so far.

Icelander53
07-04-2014, 01:26 PM
CeeJay, knowing you're in the number one position of dislike takes a lot of pressure off guys like me. :D

I have a hard time playing chords and holding a strumming pattern even when not singing but when also singing forget it at this point. When I see someone strumming well and singing I'm totally impressed. That may say a lot about my skill level but still. At this point I think they are both challenging skills, picking and strumming if doing it well.

Nickie
07-04-2014, 01:41 PM
Oh, I wasn't belittleing strumming at all. It's just that's pretty much all I did for quite a while, and I got tired of it. All of our beginners in my club are strummers....that's how we learn at first.
I find strumming and picking together to be a lot of fun....and the sounds can be very interesting....
But I've started trying to learn Classical/flamenco style, and it's all picking....so....ouch....but i will take these suggestions into account and fix this challenge! Thanks guys....you ALWAYS rock!

CeeJay
07-04-2014, 01:51 PM
Oh, I wasn't belittleing strumming at all. It's just that's pretty much all I did for quite a while, and I got tired of it. All of our beginners in my club are strummers....that's how we learn at first.
I find strumming and picking together to be a lot of fun....and the sounds can be very interesting....
But I've started trying to learn Classical/flamenco style, and it's all picking....so....ouch....but i will take these suggestions into account and fix this challenge! Thanks guys....you ALWAYS rock!

I did add the caveat that I was not belittling you , or having a go Nickie.....but no -one seems to get past the first couple of seemingly aggressive lines that I write... Oh well serves me right for being a grumpy old bastard ...there was some useful stuff afterward....

CeeJay
07-04-2014, 01:57 PM
I didn't take Nickie's statement to be dismissive of strumming at all, just that she was expanding her realm of playing.

Some good options presented by the replies so far.

yes ...nor did I ....I just picked up on it as something that a LOT of uke players say ...it was conversational ...not confrontational...and I tried to explain that I was not deriding the poster ...sorry if I did not make that clear....I also thought that I made quite a good couple of points afterwards ...but hey-ho ...no offence was intended (my latest phrase on this forum it would seem !)

Teek
07-04-2014, 02:05 PM
Maybe I have the wrong idea of how you are holding the uke but I had the same issue a long time ago, so now use a more classical guitarist position. Basically check out how Jake holds his tenor, or see Corey here (http://vimeo.com/99753923). I hold my ukes with the headstock a little higher like Jake. So try resting the heel/butt of your uke on the top of your right thigh about where the pocket of your jeans is. Tilt the headstock up toward your left shoulder and then push it forward away from your body to about 45 degrees. Now the top rim of the body should be under your arm, but the weight should be balanced on your thigh. Your forearm should now be mostly parallel to the soundboard/top of the uke, and resting only lightly on the top corner of the lower bout of the uke and just partially across the edge instead of just on the edge. You should be able to have your right picking hand and fingers float at a more comfortable and natural angle along the neck and be able to move from around the soundhole and up the neck and back.

Or is it mostly fingers hurting? Try magnesium gluconate and flaxseed oil supplements to help with stiffness and pain.

kohanmike
07-04-2014, 02:18 PM
I assume you do not use a strap. I've added strap buttons to all my ukes and it makes a world of difference, no more pressure pains. I'm about to receive a custom uke and I'm immediately going to add strap buttons.

Nickie
07-04-2014, 02:22 PM
Yes, I always use a strap.

Teek, are you a physical therpaist? Or a contortionist? LOL....I guess I'll have to try this at home...I'm at work now....no ukes allowed....sheesh....

Thanks!

Nickie
07-04-2014, 03:27 PM
Yes, Bill I always use a strap, except on my soprano, which I rarely play. It hurts like the devil....Drs have never been able to help me much with pain....I've learned to deal with it on my own. I have a very low threshold for pain, it sucks.
It is quite possibly incorrect technique. I have VERY short, small pinkies, so that puts more pressure on my forearm, and places my hand at a weird angle. I am NOT trying to hold the uke with my right hand/arm.
I only practice for 15-30 minutes, then I quit, usually due to pain. I never try to "play through it", I'm a 63 year old nurse, I know better. I don't usually last long enough to develop any hand/finger pain.
I have to work this out, these huge red creases on my arm look and feel horrid! I'm determined, and if it takes a whole new technique, or ergonomic positions, or a device, or any combination of these, I will perservere!

Icelander53
07-04-2014, 03:31 PM
That's the spirit. I'll bet you'll figure something out if you're willing to look under every rock. Usually where there's enough will there will be a way.

SteveZ
07-04-2014, 03:55 PM
Yes, Bill I always use a strap, except on my soprano, which I rarely play. It hurts like the devil....Drs have never been able to help me much with pain....I've learned to deal with it on my own. I have a very low threshold for pain, it sucks.
It is quite possibly incorrect technique. I have VERY short, small pinkies, so that puts more pressure on my forearm, and places my hand at a weird angle. I am NOT trying to hold the uke with my right hand/arm.
I only practice for 15-30 minutes, then I quit, usually due to pain. I never try to "play through it", I'm a 63 year old nurse, I know better. I don't usually last long enough to develop any hand/finger pain.
I have to work this out, these huge red creases on my arm look and feel horrid! I'm determined, and if it takes a whole new technique, or ergonomic positions, or a device, or any combination of these, I will perservere!

If there are creases on your arm due to the edge of the instrument, starting off by softening the edge seems like a logical first step. I'm not sure if the EBay ones which are taped are a good idea. There are folk who make these armrests here in the US for other instruments, and they may help. On the short term even a beanbag or small cushion of sorts may be worth trying.

bunnyf
07-04-2014, 06:05 PM
Nickie, I noticed the same thing myself (if I'm understanding you correctly). I get a crease in my strumming arm right where it hits the lower bout. I do use a strap too on most of my ukes and try not too rest heavily or clutch the uke tightly. I mostly notice this when I play my Flea as it has a much sharper edge than any of my other ukes and this is my only strapless uke. I haven't decided how I want to add one on the flea, so as to not disturb its flat bottom. I'm hoping that when I do add a strap, I can hold it in a way that is less annoying.

Icelander53
07-04-2014, 06:13 PM
I used a leash and then added velcro to the bottom of my Fluke and the end of the leash and easy attach it at the bottom of the Fluke. It works perfectly as a full strap. I mean perfectly.

Teek
07-04-2014, 06:21 PM
I have chronic pain issues and have also had serious repetitive strain injury that left me barely able to use my hands for over a year. I do a ton of stretches now for my hips and back to keep moving and I try to be aware of posture and other body positions that could create imbalance or injury. This was even before I had back spasms for five months that could be bad enough to make me have to slide out of bed and crawl to the bathroom because I could not stand up and walk. I even sleep on a board now because my mattress is a wreck. This was difficult with because I walk dogs for a living and I was doing 4 miles a day or so. I mentioned chelated magnesium because it's vital for nerves and a lack can cause muscle cramps, and it helped where muscle relaxers and Aleve only did a little plus made me dizzy and sleepy and sick to my stomach. Flaxseed oil is an anti-inflamatory but you have to be careful because it thins your blood.

I can play a little every day now but there were a few years where I couldn't even hold a few simple chords for 15-20 minutes once a week without pain.

Let me clarify the position I was suggesting with videos since words have failed me, lol. I am still struggling to figure out how to hold my own ukes but I aspire to this! :o



Jake Shimabukuro (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFaFxNNHvpI)

Corey Fujimoto (http://vimeo.com/99753923) (Note how straight he can keep his left wrist).

Zach Shimizu & Corey Fujimoto (http://vimeo.com/51812132)

Lil Rev (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxVtV2wojyo)

James Hill (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UyRjYVDP3s)

Tom Culbertson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6V_nWB4Ydk)

Sylvan Music guy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaHpQVEOoig)

Rick Turner (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8gFpPkpS0k)

Kimo doing a lazier version (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gihwY8jRXxM) though he does the other too. You'll have to fast forward to the 7 minute mark, lol.

Ukejenny
07-04-2014, 07:02 PM
yes ...nor did I ....I just picked up on it as something that a LOT of uke players say ...it was conversational ...not confrontational...and I tried to explain that I was not deriding the poster ...sorry if I did not make that clear....I also thought that I made quite a good couple of points afterwards ...but hey-ho ...no offence was intended (my latest phrase on this forum it would seem !)

I feel like I can get away with a lot more when strumming as opposed to finger picking - mistakes and flubs and whatnot...

A ukulele strap would take some of the pressure off of your forearm, and your left hand/thumb as well. Not everyone likes using them, though.

Just read the rest of the second and the third page and see where you are already using a strap. The creases in your arm - do you think if you used a more shallow bodied ukulele it would allow you to get your arm up and over the body without having to make a crease? I'm not sure if that would help or not, but it would have the top of the ukulele closer to you when you play, and you wouldn't have to "reach around" as far.

The only time I get a little crease is if I'm not using a strap and sitting on the couch, or kind of slouching around. I hope you get it figured out!

itsme
07-04-2014, 08:01 PM
Nickie, what you've described is something I'm familiar with from the classical guitar world. The weight of your arm resting on the sharp 90 degree edge of the lower bout puts pressure on a certain nerve on the inside of your forearm. It can cause pain, or in the long run, even nerve damage.

You might want to try something like the padded guitar sleeve from Oasis.

http://www.oasishumidifiers.com/sleeves2.html

Or, just cut the end off an old tube sock and stuff some padding in at the right place to see if that will work for you.

This is a simple "device" that requires no installation and can be used across all your ukes. :)

itsme
07-04-2014, 08:13 PM
The creases in your arm - do you think if you used a more shallow bodied ukulele it would allow you to get your arm up and over the body without having to make a crease? I'm not sure if that would help or not, but it would have the top of the ukulele closer to you when you play, and you wouldn't have to "reach around" as far.
Wow, that's a really good point. :)

Nickie, you owe it to yourself to check out one of the Kala thinline travel ukes. I love my spruce top tenor. Despite it's thinness, it's one of my loudest ukes.

It's probably the one that goes to more meetups than any of my other ukes, just because it's thin enough in its case to stick in the tote bag I use to carry my music stand and sheet music, so I don't have to carry both a tote bag and a bulky uke case.

CeeJay
07-04-2014, 11:52 PM
If you only have a small little finger try this ...again it 's nicked from the banjo world and "plant" your finger next to the little finger .This means that your little finger can fly or stick out or flex and basically stay out of the way .

It does mean that you are going to pick with thumb,forefinger and middle finger
but the uke is no wider I see than a 5 string banjo (I'm just looking across the room)and plenty of players of that 5 string machine use those three digits.......

I don't recall reading (though you may well have written and I cannot find)which you play low G or re-entrant.......


There are some beautiful tunes that can be played with three finger rolls...even claw hammer style (thumb forefinger) or even combinations of strum 3 finger
2 finger and all fingers...as well as the more Classical style of assigned digit /string method.

When you support your hand with the little finger or it's larger neighbour you should try and arch your wristand the back of the hand away from the uke ...slightly ..this will take some pressure off forearm.....

The Big Kahuna
07-05-2014, 12:19 AM
tl;dr

In case nobody has mentioned this already, stop resting your pinky on the uke. This will give you an extra finger to pick with, and give you more freedom to move your picking hand around.

It's difficult at first, but you'll be glad you did.

pixiepurls
07-05-2014, 03:08 AM
My teacher told me to learn by not pressing my pinky, so that I could play both ways. Practice that way for a while and you may find you have no pain and no pain = good.

Teek
07-05-2014, 08:09 AM
+1 on the pinky anchor. You can add it in later if necessary but learn to float first.

CeeJay
07-05-2014, 11:46 AM
+1 on the pinky anchor. You can add it in later if necessary but learn to float first.


If you float the pinky you must rest the forearm on the edge of the uke body but you have more fingers available and more movement option.

If you plant little or fourth finger you become a little fixed but can relieve the pressure on the inner forearm.

Do both, when one aches move on ....there is no right way or wrong way .....there is your way and what works best ....and often combinations of two methods ....rigidity has no place in playing a musical instrument ...either of the mind or the form.

phlatpicker
07-05-2014, 01:23 PM
Nickie, I had to modify my playing because of injuries that have progressively worsened. I played guitar. Got to the stage where I could no longer hold chords or strum, so I learned scales & began flat-picking & was soon 'playing by ear.' Then I could no longer play the guitar; it was too big under my right arm & the neck was too long. I was only playing 4 strings well up the neck. I met a fellow who told me I needed to play baritone uke. I now have 2 bari's & I flat-pick. I use linear tuning. One day I may have to scale down to a tenor.
So, if injuries get bad enough, don't allow it to stop your music, find a different way to play. Perhaps try what I've done.
phlatpicker

Teek
07-05-2014, 06:34 PM
If you float the pinky you must rest the forearm on the edge of the uke body but you have more fingers available and more movement option.

If you plant little or fourth finger you become a little fixed but can relieve the pressure on the inner forearm.

Then Jake, Corey and I are doing it wrong, sigh. :(


685946859368595

consitter
07-05-2014, 06:38 PM
No, this isn't an excuse to buy another uke....yesterday, we were in Compass Music, and I saw 2 or 3 ukes I thought I'd really like, and Tammy took my hand, and gently led me away, saying, 'it's okay, you don't need them, it's okay....'
I think I'm gonna be okay....maybe I just need a shot of Ativan before we go next time....
Anywa, I digress. Now that I am learning to finger pick new songs, and not just strum chords, I find that I must rest on my pinkie and my right forearm. My arm rests on the edge of the side/top of my uke. After a little while, it starts to really hurt...I can barely keep it there long enough to learn a new song without a lot of pain....
is there something that can be mounted on the edge of my ukes? I've seen custom ukes that are beveled there and appear to have different wood there....I wonder how much it would cost to have that done....I don't really wanna hafta buy another uke just now....
or maybe I do.....nah, I love my Ohana....
what say you, fellow UUers?

Heh...tell Tammy you come with ukes and UAS. She can't cure that. ;)

CeeJay
07-06-2014, 02:50 AM
Then Jake, Corey and I are doing it wrong, sigh. :(


685946859368595


I don't know if you and the three people that you cite are doing it wrong ...or right ....if you didn't read the whole post then that's up to you .

But hey ,don't Cherry Pick my post and tie it up into an edited "quote" to make yourself look "right" thank you very much . It isn't fair and smacks of tabloid journalism tactics.

I actually carried on and wrote use both methods, I do not believe there is any "right way and wrong way".......there are personal preferences and what works for you as an individual.

I don't get your intention in the post ?

Teek
07-06-2014, 09:35 AM
My intention was to clarify that actually one does not have to choose to either anchor a finger or push the body edge into your arm when fingerpicking which is what you stated. You made statements, i.e, factual "either" "or".

"If you float the pinky you must rest the forearm on the edge of the uke body"

Maybe by "edge" you meant "top"?

I had previously tried to describe a method of holding a uke that doesn't have the edge digging into one's arm, because that happens to bother me personally. But sometimes words don't clearly convey meaning and I was jokingly asked if I was a contortionist so I was thinking visuals spoke more accurately than words, so I posted videos showing people fingerpicking without having the edge digging into their arms because they were using a classical guitar style position.

However videos of professionals playing in a classical style without having the body edge digging into their arm didn't seem clear enough so I posted still photos. That has not proved helpful either so. oh. well.

No offense intended to anyone and I give up because this is heading into CTown territory! :cheers:

CeeJay
07-06-2014, 12:19 PM
My intention was to clarify that actually one does not have to choose to either anchor a finger or push the body edge into your arm when fingerpicking which is what you stated. You made statements, i.e, factual "either" "or".

"If you float the pinky you must rest the forearm on the edge of the uke body"

Maybe by "edge" you meant "top"?

I had previously tried to describe a method of holding a uke that doesn't have the edge digging into one's arm, because that happens to bother me personally. But sometimes words don't clearly convey meaning and I was jokingly asked if I was a contortionist so I was thinking visuals spoke more accurately than words, so I posted videos showing people fingerpicking without having the edge digging into their arms because they were using a classical guitar style position.

However videos of professionals playing in a classical style without having the body edge digging into their arm didn't seem clear enough so I posted still photos. That has not proved helpful either so. oh. well.

No offense intended to anyone and I give up because this is heading into CTown territory! :cheers:

I think that we are talking the same language just in different tongues:D having read your PMs ....I can come across as a bit authoritarian ...my fault ,not intended ..just my dictatorial writing skills ...or lack thereof......I mean that if you "float "your hand that you will probably need a fulcrum somewhere and this will be the top edge of the body of the Uke...hence the gouge or mark...this can be alleviated by the "banjo" finger plant method ....but a combo of both is probably better ...but even better is move the uke around in your hands /arms ..it is small enough and light enough ....strapped or not....

The Big Kahuna
07-06-2014, 11:32 PM
Looks like the post was removed, either by the poster himself (if that's even possible, or by a mod').

CeeJay
07-07-2014, 12:08 AM
Or you could just take the free advice given in previous posts.

For free.

Did I mention it was free?

How much ???