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Thread: Basic Ukulele maintenance/ care

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2021

    Default Basic Ukulele maintenance/ care

    I am a relative newbie. How should I be taking care of my ukuleles? I have 3 soon to be 4. Two are laminates,two are solid koa wood. I keep them in cases, lying flat down. I wipe them down with a lint free cloth after playing them and have a humidifier in the solid wood one. I live in NYC.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2021


    I like to wash my hands before I play. Very formal approach.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Lots of info here. My main concerns are humidity and cleanliness.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020


    play often!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    It important for the ukuleles to be played often, preferably several times a week. If you have not played them for a while and pick them up, you will notice that they don't sound quite as nice. The only conclusion from this must be that the ukuleles needs the touch.
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Honoka'a, HI


    Keep them out of the heat/sun. Cars are BAD news for ukes.
    Brad Bordessa

    6th Sense Course - Learn to play Hawaiian-style, 6th harmonies

    Listen to my ʻukulele podcast!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020


    Get a hygrometer and maintain it at 50-60% RH.

    Learn to recognize signs of trouble:

  8. #8


    I play mine a lot so I make sure they are used. Also, I keep myself clean.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2020


    The good news is that proper maintenance is both easy and cheap. Many people over-do it IME.

    Clean them when dirty - dry microfiber for dust, slightly dampened with hot water for anything more stubborn. If you're restoring an old uke that has decades of playing grime on it, then you can consider more aggressive solutions. But wiping a new one down once in a while will keep you from getting there in the first place.

    If I'm coming straight from the kitchen, or have just put lotion on my hands, I will wash them before playing an instrument. If you've got sweaty hands or a lot of skin oil you might want to wash your hands every time, just in case.

    Know your humidity and do your best to keep it consistent. Case humidifiers make this easy. But be sure you're not over-doing it. I've seen many instruments ruined by too much humidity - either structural damage or nasty mold. A $20 humidity meter from Amazon will keep you on the right track. In NYC you probably get pretty high humidity in the summer and might not need a humidifier in the case, but in the winter you definitely will.

    That's about it.

    Be wary of polishes, oils, cleaners, or other products sold or suggested for instrument care. A clean instrument will look good all on it's own, and such products can lead to serious problems down the road (especially if they're abused or over-applied). Fretboards seem like a common target for these things. Your fretboard does not need to be oiled or moisturized. Just keep it clean and in a reasonable humidity range.
    Last edited by dwizum; 05-15-2021 at 01:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL


    "Your fretboard does not need to be oiled or moisturized."

    Pardon, please, but I strongly disagree. I have seen fretboards so dried out that the fret ends literally stuck out, and one uke even popped a couple of frets out.
    I use fretboard butter (never oil) every time I change strings. It gives it a wonderful feel, and my fingers glide over the frets more easily.
    Try it!
    "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.

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