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Thread: The Danger of Playing with Straps

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    Default The Danger of Playing with Straps

    I began to use straps pretty soon after I started playing the ukulele a year ago. The strap stabilizes my ukes, makes finding barre chords easier, and helps me make lots of progress!

    But today when I was visiting the local music store and trying to show off some of my progress on all these fascinating ukes, without a strap of course, I was shocked that I've lost all my ability in the playing!!! My left hand can not move as freely as usual, and the song I tried to play has broken in every possible way!!!

    Guess now I will just stick to my straps FOREVER, possibly bring one with me when I walk by my local music stores. Playing with strap is really addictive!
    Falling in love with Fingerstyle!
    Makala Dolphin, Kala KA-SLNG, Martin C1K

  2. #2

    Default

    I don't think you should feel bad about that; think of guitar players.

    The only reason people can play a uke strapless is because the instruments are so lightweight. You could retrain yourself if you want to. Thing is, though, you've learned to play without the separate and specialized extra effort of supporting the uke. As small as that effort is, it makes a big difference in everything about your physical interaction with the instrument.

    Have you tried playing in a sitting position and supporting the uke on a knee?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    5,101

    Default

    Yeah I can't play without a strap either, at least a UkeLeash "half strap", but I greatly prefer the ones with a button. The half strap would not be a bad idea for music store use as it does not require a button (which most new ukes don't have) and can easily go on/off different headstocks.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, B reentrant
    Jupiter #71, A, UG1

    !Flukutronic!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Default

    I have seven ukes and fourteen bass ukes/mini basses, each with their own strap and on most I installed two buttons.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by plastuku View Post
    I don't think you should feel bad about that; think of guitar players.

    The only reason people can play a uke strapless is because the instruments are so lightweight. You could retrain yourself if you want to. Thing is, though, you've learned to play without the separate and specialized extra effort of supporting the uke. As small as that effort is, it makes a big difference in everything about your physical interaction with the instrument.

    Have you tried playing in a sitting position and supporting the uke on a knee?
    Thanks for the comment!

    Actually I only play/practice when I sit and put the uke on my knee with the strap ties to the head stock. Even when sitting I need the strap. The neck is quite heavy on my long neck soprano, and the glossy body is slippery. I can find tons of excuses!

    The bright side of using straps, for a beginner like me, is that it makes the uke stays in the same position everyday, so it kinda makes me form a "stable" way of playing. And I can always free both of my hands to have some snacks without completely putting my uke down
    Falling in love with Fingerstyle!
    Makala Dolphin, Kala KA-SLNG, Martin C1K

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Byron Bay, Australia
    Posts
    378

    Default

    I really like the feel of picking up a uke, pressing it close to my chest and strumming... I can do that for anything I want to play on soprano or concert, but find that for tenor and baritone it gets a bit harder to leap up and down the neck. It can be done, just hug tighter - I can even play a baritone standing without a strap, but it starts to limit more complex playing. I wear a strap when performing with a tenor.
    I came from playing steel string guitars (as many here did), and love the feel of finger flesh connecting nylon (or FC) strings, and hugging that little instrument close when you play, there's less between me and the music the more "naked" I get. In fact playing naked would work well too!!!
    p.s. no photo - it didn't happen
    Last edited by Strumdaddy; 03-25-2017 at 04:06 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Germany
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    Default

    I like being independent of a strap, so about half of my practicing time is spent playing without one. The other half is spent with Uke Leashes. I really prefer the Uke Leash to regular/full straps even after buying several rather costly ones. Definitely a matter of preference, anatomy, playing position, and dimensions of the instrument.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    Default

    Seldom do I use a strap, but then I mainly pick melodies with my thumb, holding the uke with my hand, but on the occasions when I strum, I still don't feel the need of a strap, perhaps it is really only necessary for those who do fast strumming.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Posts
    1,809

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    Try practicing your playing without a strap sometimes.
    Just to experiment, see how it feels.
    I'm from the opposite school; I have never used a strap between soprano and baritone.
    Playing without a strap forces you to focus your energies in other directions and they can be quite liberating.
    Don't get me wrong, I understand the convenience of a strap
    but also it is nice to freewheel. I think of busking situations et al.
    Here you can adjust your stance/sitting position and move around the crowd etc with more freedom.
    There is no one way to roll. We each roll as we do.
    Interesting thread. Thank you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    5,662

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    I've played for 8+ years and am a big fan of the strap. The first year I started playing I insisted a strap was not necessary since ukes are small, but I wasn't making nearly the progress I felt I should be. In frustration, I borrowed a friend's uke that had a strap button and - it was as if I progressed exponentially within minutes! I've never looked back. I also really don't like to be constrained to sitting down, and using a strap frees me from that.

    True, it's kind of a drag not being able to play at my usual standards when trying strapless ukes in stores or at friends' houses. For just casual trying-out it's fine, but if I'm seriously considering the purchase of a uke, I'll bring a Uke Leash with me which helps me recover a good part of my playing ability.

    But I'll admit that I do lament my inability to play without relying on a strap occasionally. I can strum just fine sans strap, but for the more complicated fingerstyle playing I prefer to do, it's a necessity. It is what it is!

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