The ukulele is smaller and lighter than the guitar and can be supported by the hands as it is played. Many musicians, however, prefer the ease and security that a strap provides. Classical guitar straps clip to the sound hole and have the advantage of not requiring any modification to the instrument, but many prefer the type of strap that attaches to a pin or peg. Ukuleles are capable of handling this type of pin. If you proceed with care, you should feel confident that this minor modification will not harm your instrument. Mandolin straps are more readily available than ukulele straps and are the right size.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Mandolin strap
- Guitar strap pin (metal or plastic)
- Electric drill and selection of bits
- Felt washer
Select the right drill bit. Remove the screw from the pin and site it against the chosen bit. The bit should be the same thickness as the centre shaft of the screw, but narrower than threads. If the bit is too thick the threads will not hold; if it is too narrow, you will have to force the screw and risk splitting the wood.
Mark the spot where you will place the pin. It should be in the centre of the seam that runs from front to back at the end of the ukulele. Behind this spot is the wooden "end block" that will hold the pin securely in place.
Determine the depth of the hole. Put the screw back into the peg and measure the drill bit against the protruding length of the screw. The depth of the drilled hole should be the same as the length of the protruding portion of the screw. Mark the bit by wrapping it with tape.
Drill carefully and slowly. Make sure to drill straight into the instrument.
Put the screw through the centre of the felt washer. This is simply a circle of felt that is slightly wider than the base of the pin.
Screw the pin into the hole using a hand screwdriver. Go slowly. If it seems that you have to force the screw, stop and drill again with the next size bit. Make sure that the new bit is narrower than the threads of the screw.
Slip one end of the strap over the pin. Tie the string at the other end around the head of the ukulele between the tuning pegs and the fret board nut. The strap string goes under the ukulele strings.
Tips and warnings
- Instead of tying the strap around the head of the ukulele, it is possible to put a second pin into heel of the neck. The ukulele will be more modified but some players find this positioning more comfortable. Hold the ukulele in the playing position. Feel the rounded heel that braces the neck to the body of the instrument. The pin should go into the underside of the heel at a 45 degree angle to the ground.
- Do not use a drill or power screwdriver to screw in the pin. It is very easy to go too far and strip the wood.
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