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Thread: Correct fretting hand techique

  1. #11
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    Thanks for your comment Jarmo. I think learning to play anything well without a strap is worth it for me personally. Just need to tinker with the technique a little by having the neck supported between the thumb resting at top side of Uke in the main and somewhere at the bottom of index near the knuckle. There should be a gap between the index and thumb looking side on. So the neck is not cradled.
    The fretting fingers are angled towards the bridge, wrist not bent to reach over. I have a tendency to reach around and over the fretboard with straighter fingers than this new to me method.

    I had been playing without a strap until recently, but the more I move away from thumb picking the harder it is. I found myself playing with the neck up fairly high while sitting. I wanted to see how it felt with a strap. The strap is great for standing, but i am not yet comfortable using one myself. It would be great not to have to rely on one.
    Clive

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    I was just doing the best I could for all these years without thinking about it. Now you got me all confused and feeling insecure. Thanks alot.
    Sorry, I seem to have drawn you into my confusion and insecurity
    Clive

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliveyG View Post
    Just need to tinker with the technique a little by having the neck supported between the thumb resting at top side of Uke in the main and somewhere at the bottom of index near the knuckle. There should be a gap between the index and thumb looking side on. So the neck is not cradled.
    When usually playing Dm7, as I described, "cradling" is very much what I do. The other way is thumb behind the neck same as in barre chords that I do too, a few times, depends of a situation. You can't have index finger knuckle contact with it, in my opinion.

  4. #14
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    I guess I just don’t see any point to devoting lots of time learning to play without a strap while standing. I even use them while sitting, especially with sopranos, so I don’t put my back out “hunching” over such a little thing balanced on my lap.

    Seems to me the arguments I’ve read against straps seem to boil down to “because it’s tradition” or “because this famous player or that doesn’t use one.”

    Those are not on my list of considerations
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swamp Yankee View Post
    I guess I just don’t see any point to devoting lots of time learning to play without a strap while standing. I even use them while sitting, especially with sopranos, so I don’t put my back out “hunching” over such a little thing balanced on my lap.

    Seems to me the arguments I’ve read against straps seem to boil down to “because it’s tradition” or “because this famous player or that doesn’t use one.”

    Those are not on my list of considerations
    Exactly me

    Never having been a "follower of fashion", one of the first things I did when I acquired my first ukulele was to fit a strap button and strap. Simply can't manage comfortably without it

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  6. #16
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    Usually chords like Am, Em, B7 3 finger one are played cradled. Meaning my thumb points out when playing without a strap. G allows the index finger knuckle support too. Main thing is to have the enough support.

    Using a strap takes away those problems and then you can always keep your thumb behind the neck if wanting. It is in my mind too difficult do that without strap all the times.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I recommend looking at Ohta San's elbows, not just his hands. Its about the position of the entire arm from he shoulder down. Your tendons and muscles just wont work if you hold your arm the wrong way, you need to hold the entire arm so you can get maximum benefit in your fretting hand.
    Also a strap wont magically make your fretting hand more flexible all by itself, you still need to hold the uke in a way that allows all your muscles and tendons maximum agility. If you have a uke which you had to save up for, even it is not considered expensive, using a strap when you are a beginner is the best idea if you want to look after your investment. When you are new, you are at the most risk of dropping your new uke onto hard concrete or floorboards.
    There is no such thing as a bad way of playing a ukulele, you can do what ever works for you. However, if you have started lessons to learn a genre or technique, you need to follow the teachers instructions and realise that when the teacher calls something "bad technique" it is a barrier to you learning the genre or technique you are studying, it is not a universal comment, it is about learning a particular technique or genre. So if you want to get the most out of a series of lessons, just listen to the teachers and follow the directions and ask them the questions when you have a question.
    I understand and appreciate your observations but I am still left wondering why a player should strive to learn a style of playing that involves so many nuances, in both fretting and strumming techniques, all of which are necessary because the player is forced to support the ukulele without a strap. I genuinely see no actual benefit to it from a practical standpoint... in fact, I see a lot of good reasons not to.

    I agree that using a strap will not make your fretting hand more agile on its own ... and many players that use straps seem not to update their fretting hand technique at all even though their fretting hand is now freed from the job of supporting the uke. But I firmly believe that using a strap allows the player to more easily develop an agile fretting hand. And I suspect that denying themself the use of a strap might prevent a player from attaining a level of proficiency they might achieve by slinging the dang thing.

    Of course if a player is striving to learn to play just like Otha San, then by all means do so. But who is to say that the strapless luminaries of ukedom that we emulate might not be even better players if they learned to use a strap. Sacrilege... I know
    Last edited by Swamp Yankee; 07-06-2019 at 02:05 AM.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  8. #18
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    I never play strapless.
    Except when wearing a dress like this...

    a fave of mine.jpg
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  9. #19
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    This Ohta guy seems mostly a thumb strummer and uses it also in melody play. He supports many times uke with his other right hand fingers.

  10. #20
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    I appreciate all of your responses here. I can play with a strap and I think for standing up, they are great if you are performing. I’m fairly new to straps though and I’m not totally comfortable with one personally, I don’t know why.

    I will follow the advice of these teachers who are well respected in the ukulele world. They don’t have a problem from what I can see to play anything comfortably without a strap. I will give it a chance and stick with it for a while. They are not against straps at all, but they like us to be able to learn without one so as we don’t have to rely on it too much.
    Clive

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