~Tuesday 1st of December 2020~

Welcome to UkuGuides!

Viva La Ukulele

UkuGuides offers you tons of guides and resources to learn playing the ukulele, how to take care of your beloved instrument and much more. Some guides are directed to newer ukulele players, while others are for advanced players. At the top you can find maintenance guides. After that we go to the moment before your first ukulele (green booklets) until you are an advanced ukulele player (orange booklets). At the end you can find some more theoretical guides. UkuGuides is constantly being updated and new guides are added frequently. Can't find the answer you were looking for? Request a guide by clicking here!

  • Picking up the ukulele
  • Finger placement
  • Squeezing the ukulele
  • Arm positioning

How To Hold Your Ukulele

Since I’ve started posted videos again on the UkuTabs YouTube channel, I’ve gotten the question on how to properly hold the ukulele. While it’s not that difficult to learn how to play the ukulele, it can take some time to learn how to properly hold the ukulele.

Picking up the Ukulele

Before we start playing the ukulele, we need to pick it up. Don’t swing your ukulele by the headstock or use the hole in the ukulele. This can cause warping of the neck and body. The right way to pick up your ukulele is by grabbing it by the neck where the neck meets the body.

How To Hold Your Ukulele

How To Hold The Ukulele Properly

There is no one correct way on how to hold the ukulele. Be aware of your stance (or position when sitting down) and the location of your hand. Ensure that you are feeling comfortable and relaxed.

The right way to hold your ukulele is to place the ukulele against your chest by holding it tightly with your (for most people) right (but for other people left) forearm across the top edge of the lower part of the ukulele.

While some people find it more comforting to hold it horizontally, it might be more comfortable to tilt it slightly upward in order to reach difficult to play chords. You can adjust this position while playing of course so that you’re not straining your hand.

Try to keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle while pressing the ukulele against your chest with your forearm. Notice: this angle will (and should) change while playing! This is for initial setup. Do not try to maintain this 90-degree or you will strain your arm and back.

How To Hold Your Ukulele

If the ukulele is slipping, hold it a bit tighter. Make sure however that you’re not bending the neck of the ukulele as it might sound out of tune. A quick test to see if it’s tight enough is by letting loose the neck and see if the ukulele stays in position.

Fretting Chords

So, our first arm helps us holding the ukulele in a fixed position. Our second hand is used for fretting chords. Place your thumb behind the neck somewhere between the nut and the third fret. It is recommended to place the pad of your thumb at the back and not wrapping your thumb over the top of the neck. As you might notice in my videos, I do wrap my thumb around the neck most of time. Don’t tell my mom :-). I find it more comfortable that way and my fingers are long enough to reach the chords.

Wrap the rest of your fingers around the front of the neck so that your fingers are parallel to the fret. Let your fingers float above the frets. Important: Your fretting arm should not hold the weight of the ukulele. Use the quick test in the previous section to check if your grip with your holding arm (mostly right arm) is strong enough.

Playing The Ukulele

While playing the ukulele it’s important to keep your elbow away from your body. Don’t press it against your side. There should be a straight line from your elbow to your wrist.

How To Hold Your Ukulele

Power to the Left-Handed People!

If it’s more comfortable to play with your left hand, do so. Most people are righties, but there is nothing wrong with being a lefty. UkuChords and UkuTuner have a dedicated section for left-handed people! If you do not want to reverse playing instructions, you can restring your instrument to reverse the strings.


Hopefully this UkuGuide gave you a better insight into how to properly hold your ukulele. If you have any more questions or some feedback, feel free to ask them below are send me an email using the contact form. Happy playing!


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