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Thread: Making sense of strap button placements that impede playing up the neck

  1. #1

    Default Making sense of strap button placements that impede playing up the neck

    EDIT: Here is a video demonstrating my problem with certain strap button positions:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgqpN64W0GA


    I'm a fan of strap buttons on uke.
    Personally, if I was to play an ukulele standing up and want a strap, I prefer the security and stability of having my ukulele on a strap held by 2 strap buttons (one at endpin area and one at heel of neck).

    What I have never come to understood is the decision by some technicians or manufacturers to install it on the side of the neck that would poke your hands and interfere with playing high up the neck.
    (images borrowed from Google Image search):



    I've asked for strap buttons to be installed from reputable online stores, and sometimes they come like that. I have found this position to quite obviously interfere with any playing up in the neck - and they sometimes even install it in that position on instruments with a cutaway, defeating the purpose and advantage of a cutaway.


    This location of the strap button seems to make a lot more sense to me:


    It's not interfering with playing up the neck or with the instrument's cutaway.


    What I'm wondering is, are there any inherent advantages of installing it the first way, on the side of the neck?


    I'm enquiring because I emailed a store well in advance (a week ago) of them shipping that I prefer the strap button installed the second way. Unfortunately that email was missed and has been installed the first way and shipped. They have been gracious enough to say I can send it back if I don't like that strap button location, but I'm pretty sure in advance that I won't like it.

    But why install it there in the first place, when it quite clearly will interfere with high fret access?


    I am aware that on guitars, some people say that it gives better balance and avoidance of "forward tipping" in that location, but their necks and cutaways are massive compared to on ukuleles, therefore not interfering with high fret access:

    Last edited by kissing; 12-02-2018 at 10:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    I dislike strap pins installed on the back of the heel. To me, it makes the face of the uke angle away from you. When installed on the treble side of the heel (as in the pic), the uke top tilts slightly inwards towards you, which I greatly prefer. Of course, everyone likes different things, so there's no wrong answer. YMMV.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 11-29-2018 at 03:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    The treble side of the neck (#5) is usually preferred on acoustic guitars, as it does keep the guitar from tilting forward. Installing on the heel cap (#2) has two problems (again for guitars). First, the wood there is easily split by a screw, and second, on most cases there is no recess for that strap pin in the case, which means that the weight of the guitar can be concentrated on that point. For a lightweight uke this might not be as much of a problem.

    I can certainly agree that on ukes the neck position does seem to block upper fret access more than on a guitar. My favorite location is position #3, on the upper part of the upper bout. (Some folks call this the "Doc Watson" style.) Only problem with that location is that you can't just put the strap pin screw into the side of the uke (or guitar) without some type of block behind to reinforce things. This is the location on my Blackbird Farallon, Klos Tenor, and Beltona Tenor - but then all three of those are composite bodies that don't need reinforcement. If you wanted to use that location on most wood ukes it's a simple thing to glue a small block on the inside to hold the screw.



    Last edited by besley; 11-29-2018 at 02:51 PM.

  4. #4
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    All but one of my ukes have strap buttons on the heel of the neck. Pretty much in the positions shown in the top & bottom pictures above. I have never noticed it interfering with my hand position playing up the neck. But, then I don't play really high up the neck a lot. I do have one uke (my Gary Gill) that I couldn't put a strap button at the heel of the neck. Both Mim and Gary Gill himself advised against it because of the method used to join the neck to the body. I hate tying straps to the head stock, so I found a product called a Uke Loop that attaches to the uke body, more in the position of the middle picture, except it's a flat disc. I can't tell a difference in balance either way. The one lesson I learned the hard way ...... don't let someone who doesn't know what they're doing put a strap button on for you. I don't trust myself to do it, so if it doesn't come from Mim, HMS, Loprinzi, or Uke Republic with one in place, I take it to my local acoustic guitar & ukulele shop to do it. However, I found out that not all the guys at that shop know how to position it correctly.
    My ukulele family.....
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  5. #5
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    All of my ukes are cutaway and I install buttons myself. I've placed them like 4 and 5 depending on the space on the heel, I don't like 1 and 2 for the reason others have mentioned. I never thought of adding a small block inside to do 3, I like that a lot.




    8 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 7 mini electric bass guitars

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  6. #6
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    I too, fit them myself, & position them at roughly the #4 position, inside curve of the heel, as far to the rear as possible.

    (It's easy to fit buttons, you just need a pinvice with a small (2mm) bit to drill the tap hole for the screw thread.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  7. #7
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    (Double posted.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #8
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    I only have two strap buttons on my baritone and 6 & & string tenors. I fitted the neck button in position 2 as shown in posts #3 & #5. I fitted them myself. I used a small hand drill with a 1.5 mm bit to drill a pilot hole for the strap button. I find it works OK. Most guitarists I know seem to have their neck buttons in the same place.

    For my other ukes, I tie at the neck. I tie them between the tuners rather than just behind the nut. I find having the neck tie just behind the nut gets in the way of the left hand when playing first position chords. Between the tuners keeps the neck tie out of the way.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

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  9. #9
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    For years guitar players tied their straps to the head joint. I wonder why it changed at all. I never saw a Hawaiian uke player using a strap (except maybe Jake).

    I play my string instruments seated and don’t use their straps. I mostly use the straps when I’m carrying instruments around the house.

    I usually strum my small ukes, when I play them at all, so they don’t have straps.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD - Fingerpick
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  10. #10
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    Got a strap button on my Moore Bettah in the #5 position. I use the high frets all the time without any problems.
    Brad Bordessa
    Live 'Ukulele.com

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