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Thread: best position to hold uke?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default best position to hold uke?

    I have played a tenor uke for a few years now and have experimented a lot to find a playing position that balances comfort with good tone. The solution for me is tom play seated and have it on the left leg, ideally with a bit of distance to the body, which also works when I cross the legs.

    Now I just also acquired a concert uke, and it just sounds terrible (quiet and muted) in that position and also is not very comfortable. After a few days I was almost giving up on it and ready to post it for sale, but this morning I decided to play it standing tucked under my chin and against my shoulder and it actually sounded quite nice, almost like other concerts that I played in stores in this position and that I liked.

    So my questions are: 1) does playing position depend on uke size and 2) if so what is considered ideal for a concert. And also, 3) is it possible that I like the sound better playing standing because the uke is closer to my ear and it just feels louder and more punchy because of that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Whidbey Island, WA


    I would recommend using a strap, which can be adjusted to hold your uke in a comfortable position.

    If you are playing a concert uke while seated and the instrument is resting on your leg, you may be bent over and smothering the sound with your body and clothing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    If you look at videos of people who don't use a strap, especially Hawaiian players, notice they hold the uke with the elbow of their strumming arm against their body and they sound very good. I only play tenor but I have to have a strap for total support.

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    Last edited by kohanmike; 04-08-2018 at 07:21 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Seattle, WA


    several ukulele teachers in Waikiki (Royal Hawaiian Center) encourage first timers to
    grasp the ukulele at the neck/body join then, bending their elbow, draw the ukulele
    across their upper chest, above their stomach.

    the ukulele will then be held in place in the crook of their strumming arm/elbow with
    their chording hand supporting the head, ideally with thumb/finger pressure where
    there's room between the bottom of the neck and the web of the chording hand (generally
    speaking - versus supporting the neck without pinching pressure by the thumb).

    although I learned to play in the 6th grade in HNL, and although we learned to play
    while seated in our classroom chairs, most of us learned to hold our ukes as described
    above. back then, practically all of us had soprano ukes so the body of the uke was too small for
    us to comfortably position it on our laps. Our teacher, Mrs Wong, taught us while she
    was standing in front of us, and I guess we just mimicked what she was doing

    keep uke'in',
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Syracuse, NY


    Hold it the way the members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain do:
    ... or rather, one of the eight ways...

    ... or try a ninth way...

    Hold it so it's secure and comfortable for you. Use a strap or don't. Main thing is don't mash down on the top with a death grip that'll kill the sound, and make sure your hands are where they need to be with no awkward twisting or stretching. Anything else is personal preference.
    Rich Holmes
    Syracuse, NY
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  6. #6


    I play my baritone ukulele on my left leg classical style. I can only stand for a short time because of age and health. I have a wooden block under my foot so as to raise the ukulele to a position where I can easily play.

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