Strap Pros and Cons?

FrankoUkulelo

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Hi gang,

Bit of a ukulele newbie here. Tried looking around on the forums for this topic but was only finding bits and pieces.

What are the pros and cons of using a strap on your ukulele? Does the strap button at the base of the uke have adverse effects on the sound or the wood overtime?

Was looking to order a higher end uke and wondering if I should have them put in the strap button on ordering.

Thanks in advance for your responses!
 

UkingViking

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To me the only con is that purists will find it less ukuleley to have a strap button.
A strap button lets you focus on fretting and picking/strumming without worrying about holding the uke.

So you have an ukulele now, and how do you play it? Traditional or places on your knee? If the latter, imagine you want to play standing, and try to do the traditional hold on the uke. I think you will opt for buttons.
 

man0a

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The Ukulele Underground podcast discussed straps a couple of weeks ago. No need to use a strap if you play while sitting down and your technique will improve more quickly if you learn to play without a strap. If you are playing while standing for long periods, then a strap can take some of the weight off your arms.
 
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merlin666

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Advantage: you can hang your uke in front of the groin and look like an 80s metal rocker. Disadvantage: you will look like someone who has not learned how to hold a uke yet.
 

merlin666

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To me the only con is that purists will find it less ukuleley to have a strap button.
A strap button lets you focus on fretting and picking/strumming without worrying about holding the uke.

So you have an ukulele now, and how do you play it? Traditional or places on your knee? If the latter, imagine you want to play standing, and try to do the traditional hold on the uke. I think you will opt for buttons.
When I play seated most of the time I rest tenor ukes on my left leg. They concert uke I prefer to tuck in with my right elbow to hold at chest height.
 
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All my ukes have straps.
my opinion,
When standing, I could hold my concert without one, but the tenors have a tendency to be snugged up against my body. Sound is muffle, tone is affected.
A strap also allows you to ‘toss it behind your back’ and walk around the jam group or grab a snack. Some people play multiple ukes and it allows an easier transfer between instruments.
 

Kenn2018

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The biggest advantage to using a strap is that you can concentrate on your playing and not have to worry about your left hand supporting the neck at your preferred angle and make chords and notes. I have a hard enough time fretting my tenors when the uke isn't nestled between my thumb and index finger. I can place my thumb where I want it behind the neck as I play.

I think strumming and picking are also helped because your right arm is freed to move loosely and not worry about keeping the body of the uke tucked between your body and your arm. Which means you can angle the uke away from your chest and get the benefit of the resonance of the back to add to your sound.

I prefer two strap buttons, one at the side of the heel, and one on the butt. I played with the strap tied to the headstock and I found it distracting and an inelegant solution towards using a strap. Even when I used a leather strap extension instead of a shoelace.

It also prevents accidentally dropping or knocking the uke to the ground in a moment of inattention. Like reaching for your beer, or spilling said beer on your leg.

Luthiers and makers of high quality ukuleles have stated that adding strap buttons do not affect the resale value. Nor do they in any way degrade the sound of the instrument when properly installed.
 

rhiggie

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I played for a long time without straps and never seemed to miss them. I finally tried one out because I was playing standing up more often and found like many others here, it freed my arms/hands up, allowing them to focus more on strumming/chording. But what I found most important was whether I was standing or sitting, my uke was always in exactly the same place. Now all my ukes have straps, some 1 button, some 2. I prefer 1 button on my smaller ukes only because the loop is easier to slip in and out of when I change ukes. But other than that, I don't have a preference. My 2 cents...
 

rainbow21

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Lots of advice on whether to get one or not. You could figure it out before buying your next expensive uke.

If you know you want one, I would have the seller put it on if they are trustworthy. They should do it right and if they screw up, then they should figure it out before sending it to you. However, most luthiers should be able to do what is a straightforward procedure without issue. It is something that you could actually do yourself if brave. But I also took one into a well regarded shop and they took five minutes to do it, but I was somewhat displeased that they got the angle wrong on the neck so that it appeared a little crooked. Worked fine, just expected it to be done better.

One other consideration is that you could have just one button at the bottom and then the other end of the strap would be tied around the headstock. This is a common arrangement. I prefer the neck button, but also have it in this arrangement whereby I did not want one drilled into the neck.
 

M3Ukulele

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Don’t overlook the sound hole strap! Coming from guitar, I really liked this method. It was different. After all, the ukulele is smaller. Think, the strap that Jake uses or Willie Nelson bif red/white/ blue strap around his neck.

First, it works really well. Yes, you do need hands on or use elbow to keep steady when hand free. Second, it’s very unobtrusive. No need for strap buttons to be added, granted this is minor. Third, they pack easily into any case and they are always there to support you.

Often, I will use one sitting….sometimes not…….but most certainly if playing standing for a longer period of time.

Best $20 I ever spent on a ukulele. I even purchase the material and can make them really inexpensively.

I have three tenors with sound hole straps, one TT with a strap butt end pin and a Velcro at head stock and a Fluke, I just don’t bother with a strap. My most recent purchase, a five string tenor, came with traditional two strap button and wider guitar like strap. I find I use this one the least.

YMMV. It’s all good…..it’s a ukulele.
 

Sporky

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I'm not a fan of tied around the headstock, it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic. Haven't had a chance to try a heel button though, or a soundhole strap.
 

KohanMike

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I have two strap buttons on all my ukes, 'nough said.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

casualUkeDude

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I use a sound hole strap on my concert size. On the baritones I use 2 button straps.
 

Bluesy

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I use a Uke Leash. I just can't bear the thought of drilling holes in that gorgeous wood.

Bluesy.
 

Brad Bordessa

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The only downside is the aesthetic of the button. If you get a Mobius strap or similar, you can avoid that too.

I think there's something to be said for beginners riding the strapless struggle-bus for a while. It makes a little bit less of a difference with easy material.

The only way you'll know if it's "worth it" for you is to try it.
 

Jim Yates

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I like a strap and, except for a soprano uke which I almost always sit to play, all my ukes have straps. I hang the uke and mandolin strap from my right shoulder, the guitar and banjo from my left shoulder. I attach some to the heel and some to the headstock.
It is possible to stand and strum first position chords without a strap, but playing anything up the neck or complicated is very difficult with no strap.
I suppose if you always play seated, it won't make much difference. If I'm playing in a group where everyone else is standing, I like to stand as well.
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