UKULELE STRAPS: One Size does not fit all

Sometimes when you buy a product it does not always fulfill your expectations or ends up creating unforeseen problems. I have found this to be the case with the Ukulele Straps that I have purchased. Luckily I was able to come up with some creative solutions.

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My first Ukulele was concert sized and did not come with a strap button at the base so I bought a common lasso type that hung around my neck with a hook to support the ukulele at the sound hole. I thought that this was the best option, as the ukulele did not have the internal support needed to drill a hole for a strap button. After playing with the lasso strap for I while I found that the neck of my ukulele would wobble around as I played and always felt unstable which did not help my left hand fingering. I thought that if the strap anchored the neck in some way that this would resolve the problem. I had seen the type of straps designed for classical guitars where one end of the strap was tied to the neck and the other end came from behind the guitarists back to hook into the sound hole. I decided to change the lasso strap so that it supported my ukulele in this manner.

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First I undid the strap from its buckle, removed the hook and turned it to face the opposite direction. Next I reinserted the strap into the buckle and adjusted it so that it was long enough to go diagonally over my back and under the ukulele to connect to the bottom of the sound hole at the front. Then I sewed the free end of the strap back on itself to form a loop and ran a strong shoelace through this and tied it to the head under the strings. (a word of caution: don’t let go of the neck or the ukulele will flop forward, come adrift from the strap hook and fall to the floor). Now with the ukulele supported in this way the neck no longer wobbled when I played and I did not need to buy a new strap.

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My second ukulele does have a strap button and I first bought a thin leather Mandolin strap, but this always slipped around on my back and drove me crazy. Fortuitously I received a colourful brocade strap as a birthday present that was wider and less likely to slip. It had leather fittings to attach to the neck and strap button. When I went to attach it I found that the leather was very stiff and thick and it was really hard to fix it around the button, which is also the output jack of the electric pick-up. Eventually I managed to get it on. It was quite a tight fit because the jack button was not very deep. Over time the tightness of the strap started to unscrew the jack and that was not very desirable, so I took off the strap. As I really liked it, I decided to shave off some of the leather on the back of the strap with a scalpel blade to reduce the thickness by about half around the jack button. Now the end moves freely without undoing the jack and I can still use my favourite strap.

You don’t need to put up with these irritating problems. There is always a solution and a bit of simple DIY can customize a strap or you could even make your own. So get creative!

Kat, Bayside Ukes Member

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