How To Hold A Ukulele Properly: Ukulele Hand Positioning

A ukulele’s tiny size, making it simple to hold, is one of its most enticing features. Although there are various ukulele size options, including bass, baritone, tenor, and soprano ukuleles, most beginning players begin with concert ukuleles. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn how to hold a ukulele properly before you start playing it.

In this article, I mention some valuable aspects to help you know how to hold a ukulele properly as follows:

  • Ukulele Components
  • How To Hold A Ukulele Properly
  • How To Hold A Ukulele In A Nutshell
  • Is It Better To Be Left Or Right-Handed?
  • Left-Handed Ukulele Playing: How To Hold A Ukulele
  • Summary

Ukulele Components

Knowing the pieces of the ukulele is essential for continuing enjoyment. Understanding your ukulele will assist you in caring for it and keeping it in top functioning order. The ukulele’s primary elements have been given their most frequent names, and their basic features and purposes have also been defined. Where applicable, other terms for components have also been provided.


The soundhole, which is located right underneath the strings on the frame of a ukulele, projects a sound that resounds inside the ukulele body. The loudest sound is produced by plucking or strumming the strings precisely above the sound holes, whereas traveling away from it down the body or up the neck lessens the volume. A rosette is a design inlaid into the wood that surrounds certain sound holes.


The ukulele’s neck joins the headstock to the body and supports the on-top fretboard. This neck is curved so hands can gently cup the neck. The neck is frequently composed of a single solid bit of wood to hold the strings’ tension. Often, the headstock and neck are manufactured from the same bit of wood.


The bridge is attached to the top of the ukulele’s body, directly below the sound holes, and is topped with a saddle. The bridge is where the strings are secured at the ukulele’s body, usually by knotting one end.


The saddle rests on the bridge’s top and secures the string at the ukulele’s body like the neck’s nut. The saddle is lifted to hold the string at the right angle from the fretboard and keeps the string in position at the base.


The ukulele’s strings are plucking or strummed to produce the vibrations which are delivered through the sound holes to make the sound of the ukulele. Nylon strings are commonly used on concert and soprano ukuleles. Metal-wound and nylon strings are commonly used on baritone and tenor ukuleles. The metal-wound string is utilized to give the lower-pitched strings a richer tone.

G-C-E-A is the most popular ukulele tuning for concert and soprano sizes.  When you play reentrant tuning, the strings do not run in order from lower to higher as you progress through them. The strings have a gap in the chain, with the second-highest string – High G appearing before the low string – C in this situation. Although G-C-E-A is the most typical tuning applying for tenor size,  instead of using the nylon High G, a Low G metal wound is frequently substituted for. D-G-B-E, such as the top highest four strings on guitars, is the most popular tuning using for baritone size.


The central portion of a ukulele is the body, which produces sound by amplifying the strings’ vibrations when plucked or strummed. The sides, the back, and the soundboard or top are the three sections that make up the body. The base can be constructed of laminate or solid wood, and the three sections can be made of different woods to generate distinct tones. Its body is available in various sizes and shapes and may contain a scallop or cutaway to access the fretboard’s higher frets.

Fret Space

It is where you push the strings on the fretboard, causing them to rest against the fret, forming a chord or note.


Frets are the metal strips that protrude from the fretboard and span up or down. The frets indicate the various note pitches. There might or might not be stripes on the fretboard in which the frets will ordinarily be on fretless instruments.


On the front of the ukulele, the frets run the length of its neck. Therefore, the fretboard would also be where the ukulele’s frets are found. When strumming the ukulele, you push the string against the frets to make a chord or note. Many fretboards include fret marks (typically dots) inlaid at regular intervals up its neck that help you navigate the fretboard. On soprano size, fret markers are located at the tenth frets; on baritone, tenor, and concert sizes, fret markers are located at the twelfth, tenth, seventh, and fifth frets.


The nut is found near the end of the frets, where the ukulele’s neck and headstock meet. The saddle at the body and small notches in the nut keeps the strings in the right location at the neck.


The ukulele’s tuners are positioned on the head and keep the string in place. The quantity of tuners on the ukulele correlates to the number of strings, usually around four to eight. To tune the string, you should individually twist the tuners. Machine heads, tuning heads, tuning keys, tuning pegs, or pegs are all terms for the same thing.


The top section of a ukulele, placed at the end of its neck, is known as the head, or headstock. The headstock is where the tuners are connected. A slotted or solid headstock appears to be a question of individual choice with no significant impact on the ukulele tone. 

If you’re still interested in learning more about ukulele parts, such as what to look for in a ukulele, keep reading. If you’re looking for something specific, take a look at the suggestions I’ve provided below:

LAVA U Carbon Fiber Ukulele with Effects Tenor

Kmise Concert Ukulele Kit Vintage Uke for Beginner With Starter Pack

Ukulele Soprano Beginner Mahogany 21 Inch Vintage Hawaiian

How To Hold A Ukulele Properly

The majority of ukulele players traditionally strum with their right hand while fretting with their left. However, even left-handed people prefer to play the ukulele with the right hand because finding a left-handed ukulele might be difficult. Follow these instructions on how to hold a ukulele properly:

Keep Your Ukulele Near Your Chest 

Hold the ukulele’s body against your chest, also with its neck parallel to the ground. Cradle the ukulele’s weight with the right arm.

Grasp The Neck With Your Left Hand

Hold it toward the top of its neck, but not on the headstock or the very top. Allow your fingers to gradually curl over the front and across the fretboard by pressing your thumb on the neck’s back. 

To hold varied uke chord shapes, you will have to create enough pressure, therefore alter your left-hand side position that makes fingering as effective as possible. An A string, an E string, a C string, and a G string will be the order of the strings on your ukulele, from closest to the floor to the closet to your head.

Your Right Arm Should Be Bent At The Elbow

Your strumming arm is your right arm. Therefore stretch it in a horizontal path over your ukulele. Let your right-hand fingers rest comfortably on the uke strings a few inches above the sound holes. It’s vital to maintain your right hand free and flexible because you will be strumming your ukulele and selecting notes using your index finger.

How To Hold A Ukulele In A Nutshell

You ought to:

  • Unless you’re playing chords that need you to turn the wrist, keep your hands parallel to the frets.
  • Hold the ukulele against your belly/chest and erect.
  • Put your forefinger behind your neck at all times.
  • Hold the ukulele in a comfortable position.

But don’t:

  • It’s most likely more uncomfortable than it should be. Examine yourself in the mirror and relax your posture as much as possible to troubleshoot how you are holding your ukulele.
  • Keep your elbow in front of you or completely tucked in.
  • Extend your elbow.
  • Squeeze your ukulele till it’s dead. Then, find a happy balance that both supports the item and allows you to unwind.
  • Lay the ukulele flat on your lap. It makes things a lot more difficult on your wrist.

The below video is some excellent tips about how to hole a ukulele properly:

Is It Better To Be Left Or Right-Handed?

Because most individuals are right-handed, they strum with the right hand while fretting with their left. But what if you are a lefty?

There is no such thing as a correct answer. Some left-handed people like myself learn how to play with the right hand. Some people play their ukulele in the opposite direction.

If you’re still unsure how to play, simply use your left hand to hold the uke on the fretboard and your right hand placed on the fretboard. Check to see which one is more at ease.

Go on with your journey and learn how to play with the right hand if the ukulele seems more natural with the left hand on the fretboard. There is also nothing improper with it, and it’ll undoubtedly make learning the ukulele a lot easier because most teaching material is written for ukulele players with the right hand.

You are a true left-handed if you prefer to play the uke using the right hand on the fretboard. You can also string up a ukulele in a few different strategies to assist your Southpaw-ness:

  • Turn the ukulele upside down with the A string closes to the face and play it as how it is. It reverses the direction of all learning materials.
  • Remove the strings and reattach them reverse with the G string closes to the face. On the horizontal direction, this resembles a right-handed ukulele.

You’ll have to choose which setup is best for you, although the former will allow you to play any ukulele. It alone is a compelling incentive to learn “backward.” On the other hand, you probably don’t want to get stuck playing an instrument that requires unique tuning. But there’s a reason the uke is strung this way, and it’s pleasant to higher up the lower notes on the fretboard.

If you could not tell the difference and no position appealed to you, I’d suggest picking up the ukulele for right-handed. It has the advantage of being simple to begin with. You will not have to juggle your uke or convert chord diagrams in your brain.

Left-Handed Ukulele Playing: How To Hold A Ukulele

To hold your uke left-handed, try to simply flip it over so your left arm is cradling the ukulele’s body and your right hand is gripping the top of its fretboard. But keep in mind that you’ll need to restring the uke to have appropriate note access lefty. G4, C4, E4, A4 are the standard tunings in descending order.

Although a left-handed uke can be purchased, expect to spend a premium on one. Since most components of the uke are virtually the same regardless of how you hold your instrument, re-stringing a ukulele for the right hand may be more cost-effective. You can also play the item with your right hand. While strumming may be more difficult for you than it is for right-handed musicians at first, you’ll have an advantage in terms of left-handed technique.

More advice:

  • Straps

The majority of the holding is done for you by a strap! So they’re especially beneficial when you’re standing.

  • Strumming

Do your best to make the strumming hand appear as graceful as possible.


When learning the ukulele, the first step you need to do is learn how to hold a ukulele properly. If you develop terrible habits early on, especially poor posture, which is among the worst, you will be creating a rod for your own back for coming years.

And if you want to have an alternative for the ukulele, you can choose for yourself a guitar. Check out my other review on the best guitar for beginners in Australia that is best for sound.

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