Do you ever find yourself struggling to hold your ukulele when you’re practicing or performing? While the traditional way to hold the ukulele doesn’t require a strap, many people find that using a ukulele strap can help by giving them support so they can focus on playing, and not dropping, their ukulele. Think of it as a ukulele safety net!
But not all ukuleles have strap buttons installed. My very first ukulele didn’t have a strap button, and when I found myself struggling to hold the ukulele while I practiced, I decided to find out what kind of strap I could use with my instrument.
Even if you don’t have a strap button on your ukulele, you can still use a strap without a strap button!
How to Hold the Ukulele
Originally, the ukulele came in just one size: soprano! Just like my very first ukulele, the soprano ukulele is usually held (without a strap) by tucking it into the elbow crook of your strumming arm (usually your dominant arm/hand) and holding it close to your body, up in the center of your chest near your heart.
A good way to figure out if you are holding your ukulele properly is to let go of the neck of the ukulele and see if the instrument starts to slide out of your arm. (Disclaimer: ALWAYS do this in a place where if you accidentally drop your instrument, it won’t be damaged. If you’re going to try this, make sure you try to hold your ukulele over a soft bed, couch, etc., or put pillows on the floor underneath you!)
Read more: Does Ukulele Size Matter?
Why Should You Use a Ukulele Strap?
While most people can hold a soprano ukulele this way without a lot of problems, some of us who have more abundance in the chest area might feel a little more secure by using a strap. And people who may have a hard time with mobility in their upper body would also benefit from using a strap.
Sometimes using a ukulele strap is a must for any of the larger-sized ukuleles, like tenors and baritones. The shape of your ukulele matters, too – it may be easier to tuck a traditional guitar-shaped ukulele into your arm securely instead of a pineapple or other shaped ukulele.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to use a ukulele strap without a button, there are lots of options for you to choose from!
Using a Ukulele Strap Without a Button
When you have a ukulele with a strap button installed (either at the bottom of the ukulele or somewhere on the ukulele where the neck meets the body of the instrument), you can use any guitar strap on your ukulele.
A regular guitar strap has two special pieces of leather or leather-like material on either end of the strap. There’s a small hole cut into the material that allows it to slip securely over the strap button on one end. If there is another strap button installed higher up on the ukulele, the other end of the strap just slips over the second strap button. In case there isn’t a second strap button, a short length of braided cord is attached to the other end of the guitar or ukulele strap and that cord is tied around the base of the headstock of the ukulele, usually under the strings just above the nut.
But if there’s no strap button on your ukulele, and you really don’t like the idea of drilling a hole in your ukulele (or having someone else do it for you), what can you do to use a strap without a button?
One very popular option for using a ukulele strap without a button is to use what’s called a ukulele sound hole strap. These straps have an adjustable loop on one end that slips over your head and rests around your neck. The two ends of the loop are securely stitched into a leather or imitation leather connector. At the other end of the connector is a strong nylon cord or strap that ends with a soft plastic hook. The plastic hook is designed to slip over the edge of the sound hole of your ukulele, holding it in place while you play.
While this option is very popular with many professional ukulele players, there are a few drawbacks to using it.
A sound hole hook uke strap won’t hold your ukulele as securely as a regular ukulele strap with a button. If you release your strumming arm from the front of the ukulele, a sound hole hook strap will still let it fall, although you may have a few extra seconds to catch it.
Some players also think that using a sound hole hook strap on your ukulele frequently might eventually damage the ukulele by causing friction and wear between the hook and the sound hold of the ukulele.
If your ukulele doesn’t have a strap button and doesn’t have a traditional sound hole in the center of the front (sound board) of your ukulele, you won’t be able to use this kind of strap.
So while there are a few drawbacks to using a ukulele sound hole strap on a ukulele without a strap button, it’s still a good option for anyone who wants to make it a little easier to hang on to their ukulele while practicing or performing.
Whether or not to use a strap on your ukulele is a highly personal decision – there are no right or wrong answers here! It’s really about what makes you feel most comfortable so you can get the most out of your ukulele.
Don’t forget that if you’re purchasing a ukulele from Uke Like the Pros and it doesn’t have a strap button, you can always ask the professionals at Uke Like the Pros to install one or two strap buttons for you! For a small fee, our ukulele experts can safely and carefully install strap buttons on your ukulele to give you added peace of mind and added protection of your investment. So whether you prefer to use a sound hole hook strap or have a professionally installed strap button on your new ukulele, we’ve got you covered!