Many assume they know how to hold a ukulele properly, so learning this process is often overlooked. However, if you’re not holding the uke in the optimum way, you risk the ukulele slipping, as well as making it harder to go from string to string.
So let’s look at how to hold a ukulele correctly.
How To Hold A Ukulele Properly
Here is a simple 5 step process:
1. Let The Ukulele Rest On Your Right Forearm
To hold a ukulele properly, you’ll want to hold the back of the uke up against your belly, with the bottom of the base resting on your right forearm. Having the ukulele rest on your forearm will allow you to cradle it while also having the ability to strum easily, comfortably, and properly. While strumming, be sure not to bend your wrist too much. You want your hand to move freely.
2. Let Your Thumb Rest On The Middle Part Of The Neck
The neck of the Ukulele should rest slightly in your left hand. To get the best range of finger movement, let your left thumb rest on the middle of the back of the neck to help stabilize it. If your left hand is tired after only a few minutes, you may be holding the Ukulele too tight.
It’s important to remember that you are not carrying the weight of the Ukulele with your left hand; that is what the right hand is doing.
3. Hold The Neck Of The Ukulele At An Upward Angle
Be sure the angle of the Ukulele isn’t too high, but you don’t want it too low either. Allow the neck of the uke to point towards your shoulder. Some people think you want to hold it at a 90-degree angle, but if it’s too low, you won’t have a good range of motion to reach the frets.
4. Test If You’re Holding It Properly
An excellent way to know if you’re holding the Ukulele properly is to let go with one hand. It’s a good idea to try this out while sitting down in case it falls.
If the Ukulele slips, you’ll need to hold it a little tighter. The Ukulele should stay in place when removing either hand. Remember to only test this out with one hand at a time to avoid dropping the instrument.
Once you’ve figured out how to hold your Ukulele properly, you can try it out with a few strums.
5. Practice A Few Strums
Using this position, try out a few practice strums to ensure you’re holding it properly and can comfortably reach all the notes.
When first beginning, try not to look at the face of the Ukulele as it can cause it to turn upwards. There are other common positioning mistakes that you want to avoid.
Common Mistakes While Playing The Ukulele
You want to avoid a few common mistakes when playing the Ukulele.
You don’t want your elbow sticking straight out or have it too close to your body. You’ll want it a few inches out from your side. Proper elbow placement will help you keep your left wrist straight to help avoid straining it; however, it is common to slightly bend the wrist to reach some notes. Remember not to hold the neck too tight, or you’ll tire out quickly.
When you’re sitting down and playing your Ukulele, it’s important to remember good posture. When sitting while playing, it’s very easy to lean forward. Leaning forward can cause hunched shoulders and hurt back. Remember to listen to your body. Something needs to be adjusted if you’re feeling any strain or tension while playing.
Incorrect Angle Of The Ukulele
Don’t turn the face of the Ukulele up towards you. It’s common to want to see what we’re doing, and that’s true even when playing the Ukulele. Trying to watch causes you to lean it towards you. Make sure it is facing outward completely.
The Ukulele is frequently played standing up, but if you’re a new beginner, it may be easier to play while sitting down.
How To Hold A Ukulele If You’re Sitting Down
If you’re a beginner or playing with a larger ukulele, it may be easier to play sitting down. Sitting allows you to rest the uke on your leg instead of relying on your right arm or a neck strap to hold it up.
Don’t forget to maintain proper posture when playing while sitting down. It’s important not to hurt your back while playing. You’ll also need to ensure appropriate handling of the Ukulele while sitting.
It’s common to tilt the uke towards you while playing so that you can see what’s going on. Tilting the instrument is even more common when sitting down. It’s easy to lean it so much that it is almost entirely on its back on your lap.
How To Hold A Ukulele If You’re Left-Handed
Most people play the Ukulele right-handed, even if they are left-hand dominant. Remember that most instruction books are designed for right-handed players, so you will need to reverse the instructions if playing with your left.
If you’d prefer, you can switch your strings around to accommodate playing with the left hand easier. To ensure proper placement, the G-string will need to be on the top when being held by your left forearm.
Holding the instrument will be backward from the original list of directions.
- Hold the body of the Ukulele with the left forearm.
- Ensure the back of the instrument is on your stomach or chest.
- Gently brace the neck of the uke with your right thumb.
- Hold the Ukulele with the neck pointed towards your right shoulder.
How To Hold A Ukulele The Right Way, Final Thoughts
How to hold a ukulele properly may not be something that’s always looked into, but thankfully it is relatively easy to accomplish. Be sure that most weight is carried by pushing the instrument into your right forearm. Gently lean the neck of the Ukulele on the left thumb while keeping your wrist straight. If needed, you can sit down or use a neck strap to help hold the instrument while playing.