Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 24

Thread: What Makes A Uke Easy To Play For You

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    180

    Default What Makes A Uke Easy To Play For You

    Since I saw another post discussion asking about easy to play ukes, it makes me wonder what are people's criteria for what makes a uke "easy to play".

    I definitely get different feelings with different ukes, but have not spent much time thinking what specifically made a uke easier to play. I rotate between playing a number ukes and still trying to see which one or two I find as my favorite or easiest to play. In many cases, it is a mixed bag. But, if I spend a minute to think about it, for me, some things come to mind.

    1. String action - prefer more on the low side, but too low and picking over the fretboard is a little harder without sometimes touching the fretboard for me.

    2. String tension and diameter - have to find a good balance between too high tension making it harder to fret and too loose, and also a balance in too thin diameter versus too thick. Too thin and high tension can also wear on my fretting fingers, if I play a long time in one sitting.

    3. Neck thickness and also shape - Neck thickness has already been discussed here, but it is subjective and also dependent on hand size. Shape also plays a role, have the traditional c shape. I also have a uke that has a flatter backside of the neck, so not as much a C shape. It is nice that is is thin, but probably I prefer the C shape more.

    4. Also, neck width - I have mixed feelings and pros and cons on different widths. 1.5" width necks are a bit easier for picking or allow more room for those with bigger fingers, but also make me stretch a bit more on some chords, vs 1.375" width.

    5. Weight of the uke - Also, mixed feelings, sometimes I like a nice light uke (like LdFM or Da Silva Thin Body), and other times nice to feel the heft and solidness (like Turner Compass Rose)

    6. Uke shape - One that fits you best, which is subjective, as ukes have different shapes and people have different shapes and likes/dislikes. I have one that has an arm bevel and I do find that very comfortable, as the ones without it, sometimes notice a little rubbing of the edge when playing in certain positions. It is only sometimes and not that big an issue though and not one that I would only choose an arm beveled uke, but it is a nice to have for me sometimes.

    7. I am sure fret spacing plays a factor, which goes along with choosing the size uke we want, soprano, concert, tenor, or baritone.

    8. Others?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    5,662

    Default

    As someone with little hands and short fingers who plays fingerstyle - I'd say in no particular order: nut width (smaller is better), neck thickness (thin-ness, that is!) and shape (not chunky), low action, high tension strings, concert or soprano scale, and my obsession as of lately, the 14th fret join - making playing higher up the neck *so* much easier for me. And I find them all difficult to hold without a strap, but for some reason have less trouble holding a pineapple shape uke than a figure 8 (although regardless, it's going to get a strap button drilled if I'm going to play it).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,945

    Default

    For me first is the over-all size, even though I only play tenor. When I pick up my Ibanez exotic series acoustic guitar, it feels like a truck. I also like low action and thin strings.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 02-28-2015 at 06:25 AM.

  4. #4

    Default

    As someone who plays a number of instruments, when I saw the topic I thought you were going to ask why is the uke easy compared to other instruments. Just a misreading on my part.

    Some ukes are more comfortable for me to play than others. I like enough spacing between strings so I can play cleanly so I like the 1.5 inch neck on a Kanilea concert, but I don't like an extra wide neck on a tenor. Ideally a neck is that is not too thick or too thin. Action that is low enough but not so low that strings are likely to hit the frets or develop a buzz and high enough so the volume can be pushed.

    Weight doesn't matter too much to me. The heaviest ukes are still light. A little weight can help with sustain. i'm not very consistent in what I like. Generally I like smaller bodied tenors, but I like my Ponos and Koolaus that are larger. I like thinner necks but I like the Ponos that have thicker necks. I like the figure 8 body style, but I love the Vita uke.

    I don't know that I find anything harder or easier to play but some ukes are more comfortable for me to hold or play. I like a lot about playing tenor because I like the sound and the extra sustain and also to some extent the room on the fretboard. But in other ways concerts just fit my hands and arms in a way that tenors don't. My hands get more sore and tired playing tenor so I tend to switch back to concert to rest.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Pickering, ON, Canada
    Posts
    5,992

    Default

    The more I thought about this question the more I realized at first blush there is a lot that goes into making a uke easy to play. But thinking it over there are just a few elements that make a big difference to me.

    First off the elements that do not matter to me.
    *Nut width, I have 1-1/2" & 1-3/8", makes no difference to me.
    *Neck thickness, I have a Loprinzi which is very shallow, almost flat and Pono which are very deep.
    *Overall weight, heavy or light, I play seated and every uke I own has a strap so not an issue

    Elements that matter to ME
    *Uke size, Tenor is easiest by far and it all boils down to longer space between frets and total length being longer which allows me to play up the neck without feeling "jammed up", especially barr chords as I roll my index finger which means my upper arm is into my side
    *Having a strap with buttons on the heel and tail eliminates the weight issue and neck dimension issues because the strap supports the uke. I don't have to clamp onto it with my right arm and don't have to support the neck with my left hand. The strap has made the biggest difference to me.
    *A great set up with a low action. I have a light touch so buzzing is not an issue.
    *A radius fretboard. Yea I know this debate gets heated but this is for ME. I have a degenerative condition that will not allow my fingers to straigthen. Making barr chords is so much easier with a radius. I am selling off non-radius and slowly adding radius fretboard tenors.
    Last edited by DownUpDave; 02-28-2015 at 12:23 AM.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Orleans,MA
    Posts
    2,671

    Default

    Excellent post UkeInTW. I agree with all seven of your points, they were well thought out. I think that they are all factors in a ukes playability.

    Not a specific feature of the uke itself, but how about playing standing up or sitting?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Columbus, IN
    Posts
    272

    Default

    For me it's low action together with small fret wire size. My fave uke is a Kiwaya KS-5 because it's setup so well and the frets themselves are very narrow. All my other ukes have wider taller frets and I can tell a real difference with the playing comfort of the Kiwaya.
    Kiwaya KS-5 soprano, Kiwaya KS-1 soprano, LoPrinzi custom concert, BugsGear Aqulele plastic soprano
    http://ukulelereview.com
    http://the-gadgeteer.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    257

    Default

    I'm with Julie on Kiwaya. I have many Kiwayas and the neck profiles are great also in my opinion.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    MN metro area
    Posts
    1,671

    Default

    Low action and lighter strings.
    Money can't buy happiness but it can buy a uke which is basically the same thing.

    Ukes are a lot like potato chips. It's hard to stop with just one!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
    Posts
    4,945

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DownUpDave View Post
    *Having a strap with buttons on the heel and tail eliminates the weight issue and neck dimension issues because the strap supports the uke. I don't have to clamp onto it with my right arm and don't have to support the neck with my left hand. The strap has made the biggest difference to me.
    Yes, I agree 100% and put that at the top of my list.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •