What with the growing interest in ukuleles in recent years, you’d think that there would be some good strap technology. It gets tiring to clutch your uke to your bosom all the time, after all. But there only appear to be three types of strap tech out there:
1. The kind that hooks onto the sound hole, and puts the weight in a sort of noose around your neck;
2. The kind that’s just like a smaller version of a guitar strap, and requires you to drill a hole and install a strap button on the bottom of the uke;
3. And the kind that only holds the uke in one spot, leashing it to your body but still requiring you to clutch it all the time.
I didn’t want to drill holes in any of my ukes, so I asked at my local music store (the delightful Orlando location of George’s Music, where they have more ukes than all of our area Guitar Centers combined) if there was such a thing as a stick-on button for a ukulele strap. The guy told me he’d never heard of anything like that, but if I could invent it, it’d be an awesome thing.
So off I went to the store!
I got a set of the Command mini-hooks I’d seen advertised on TV. They have a sticky pad with a tab that’s supposed to make them quick and easy to remove, and they won’t damage your walls. Sounds good! There were several sizes to choose from — I went with the size that holds up to a half-pound; they seemed to be the right cross between big enough to hold the weight of the uke, but small enough to be relatively unobtrusive. For reference, the hooks I got are model #17006, and they cost around three bucks.
Then I went to my local craft megastore (Michael’s is my nearest. Wish there were a Jo-Ann closer, though.) and bought some cheap ribbon. This was 3/8″ polyester ribbon from the 50¢ bin. I’d advise that you get yourself the softest ribbon you can find; this is going to be resting against your neck, after all. I’m sure you can tell that I got the high-quality stuff from the classy packaging.
I broke one hook off the sprue, and got one of the sticky pads. You stick the red side to the hook, and the black side to the wall/surface/ukulele. I don’t know what horrible things would happen if you stuck the black side to the hook and the red side to the uke. I didn’t want to chance anything, so I obeyed the directions on the package.
Then, the challenging question: which way to face the hook? I was worried that the bottom of the uke would be just curved enough that the pad wouldn’t stick. But I also figured that a hook facing downward would be the best angle for holding the uke, so I went ahead and tried it. On this particular concert-sized uke, there was no problem getting the pad to stick. The bottom of the ukulele was just flat enough. In checking out my soprano-sized uke, the bottom center is also just flat enough to take one of these hooks.
I cut a way-too-long strip of ribbon, then looped it around the headstock, just above the nut and under the strings. Then I tossed it around my body, figured out the right length for my personal tastes, and tied a single loop knot at that length.
Now I have a strap of just the right length, and can easily put that loop on the hook. I wiggled and jiggled everything around, and it holds really well. Nice and secure. So now I can stand and make jazz hands with my uke at the ready!
Yes, it’s not the most attractive; yes, it’ll probably leave residue behind on the butt of this super-cheap ukulele. But I’m totally cool with those things!