When you are sitting around your house on your couch, there isn’t much need for a ukulele strap. You likely won’t always be sitting on your couch playing though. This is when the uke strap comes in very handy.
Many people struggle to play the ukulele standing up, and there are some arrangements that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to play without a strap. A strap is not at all traditional for the uke, but if it helps you play better then why not use one?
The way many people, especially former guitar players, will think about using a guitar strap is by adding a pair of strap buttons, but because the uke is fairly light there are a handful of other options that we will look at as well.
Types of Ukulele Straps
When talking about straps for ukulele you have 5 major types. There are probably variations on these straps that we haven’t listed because they are fairly uncommon, but almost all fall into either a traditional strap, a sound hole mount, a semi-guitar style, a leash, or a Mobius strap.
If you’ve ever played guitar, or picture a guitar player standing up, this is what you probably think of. This strap is very comfortable and spreads the weight of the ukulele nicely. Most standard guitar straps will also work for a ukulele, so you have the benefit on a TON of options with a traditional strap.
A word of warning, if you don’t put your strap buttons in the correct spots the ukulele tends to fall forward when you let go of it. This isn’t a huge issue, just something you need to be aware of.
Here are a few we have tried out and like quite a bit:
The traditional style of guitar strap needs two buttons to attach to. If you have an acoustic-electric ukulele the pickup jack at the butt end of the uke can act as one. The other one will be placed at the base of the neck of the uke.
These can be made of metal or wood and will need to be pre-drilled with pilot holes to ensure they don’t split the wood.
The button at the base of the ukulele is pretty much always in the center of the body where it’s common to find the pickup jack mounted.
There are a few different places you can mount the strap button near the neck though. We recommend mounting it just above the neck on the side of the ukulele. This will keep the uke from falling forward if you let go during playing.
The other two locations we’ve seen are both on the back of the ukulele either directly under the neck or in the top corner. While these two locations aren’t as stable as the side-mount they do have the advantage of being hidden and the wood on the back is thicker than on the sides.
Sound Hole Strap
Pretty self-explanatory, this strap clips into the bottom of the sound hole on your uke, wraps around the back and then has a loop to place over your neck.
These tend to be fairly inexpensive and have the added benefit of being removable when not in use, but you won’t get any support in balancing the uke from this style so your hands will need to remain on the instrument.
This is something that has been seen with folk guitar players for a long time, and more recently Jake Shimabukuro has been seen with this type.
This is a great option if you already have electronics installed on your ukulele because it won’t require the addition of a strap button. The strap will attach to the pickup as you would in a traditional guitar strap, but the other end ties around the headstock just above the nut.
The Uke Leash
This is an interesting newer style of strap. The strap fastens to the headstock of the ukulele and the anchor point is actually attached to you. There are several different positions you can place it on your body included your strumming arm, your waist and even your leg.
The benefit to this strap is that just like the sound hole style you could remove it whenever you wanted and no buttons would need to be installed, but we could see issues with movement of your body bumping the uke in weird ways if you aren’t careful.
The Mobius Strap
This is another newer style of strap and is pretty ingenious. This strap loops around the body of the ukulele and hangs from your neck and shoulder like a traditional guitar strap would. To make it even better there is a little twist in the loop to tighten and loop it.
We’ve never actually played with one of these straps, but the concept looks really sound and potentially very comfortable!
Do You Need a Ukulele Strap?
So, now that you’ve seen these straps the question becomes, “Do I need a Ukulele Strap?”.
Using, or not using, a uke strap is really a matter of preference. Because the ukulele is a light instrument many people don’t have any problems holding it while playing.
That being said, having your hands and arms free from supporting the instrument can be useful. This is especially true the more difficult the song, strumming pattern, or chord shapes are that you’re playing. There is a reason that players like Jake Shimabukuro almost is always wearing a strap. His arrangements and finger picking patterns are complicated and holding/securing the instrument is not something he wants to worry about!
We recommend you try both with and without a strap to find your preference! Before you go check out our entire library of Ukulele articles and keep on learning!