Choosing a Ukulele Strap
There are many players out there who don’t use a ukulele strap when they’re playing. The small body and light weight of this instrument lends it to being held under the arm, but this does have its drawbacks. The ukulele is a resonating instrument, which means that it projects better when the wood is able to vibrate sympathetically to the note being played as much as possible. Holding the instrument against your body deadens the sound. While this does have its place in music, it tends to homogenize the sound when you have no other option.
It can allow you to let the instrument hang off of your shoulders, preventing it from being constantly deadened by being held against your body. This is particularly important with soprano ukuleles, which have a subtle sound to begin with that is not aided by deadening the body. A good ukulele strap allows the instrument to ring out and allows you to free up your hands to maintain your technique. Light or not, the energy you use to hold a ukulele up without a strap takes away from the energy you can put into your performance.
If your ukulele didn’t come with fasteners for straps, you can have them installed by a professional. Don’t try to do this yourself; you may damage the instrument. There are locking straps available that prevent the instrument from coming loose. Some performers leave the strap on more or less permanently, though these locks are easily disengaged when you need to case the instrument. Choosing a ukulele strap is not all practical. There are many ways that you can personalize the instrument with these accessories.
A ukulele strap with a Hawaiian motif is an obvious choice. This reminds people where the instrument came from, of course, and advertises its roots. If you want a more edgy look, consider a leather strap. These are also very durable and, like all leather items, they start to conform to your body after you use them for a while. Some musicians have the same leather strap for their entire careers and it becomes as important to them as the instrument it supports. Nylon and cotton straps are nice for hot environments where even a thin band of leather can become uncomfortable and sweaty.
If you have a very high quality instrument, be sure to get a ukulele strap that deserves to hold it up. There’s no sense skimping on your instrument’s accessories when you’ve laid out a lot of money for the instrument itself. When you’re looking around for one, take your ukulele to the shop or hold it up to the pictures on a site to make sure it’s a good match. There are some straps available that have quick releases that are convenient for removing the strap for transport. There are also some very eccentric-looking ones out there, which are good choices if you like to make a big impression on stage, or even when you’re just having fun!
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