How to take care of your ukulele
No matter how much of a good quality your ukulele has, like all instruments, you need to care for it.
You might be thinking you don’t really expose your uke to any haphazard, but the truth is, just playing it and allowing all the oils from your fingers to get in contact with your instrument, is a factor along with many others why you need to spoil your uke and give it the necessary attention.
In this article, we will be going through the most important tips to take good care of your ukulele.
Tip 1: Keep it clean
It goes without saying that you should clean your instrument every once in a while.
The sweat and grease from your hands are trapping dust on the surface of the uke which deteriorates the condition of the wood.
You can use lemon oil and a microfiber cleaning cloth to get rid of all the dust and stickiness.
It’s a smart idea to clean your uke after each time you use it, or at least try to pick up this habit.
To be honest with you, cleaning the body of my ukulele was never an issue. However, the tricky part is cleaning the fretboard. I usually clean it after I remove the old strings when I am restringing my instrument, which is almost every 3 months.
Yet, every couple of weeks I try to slip a clean rag underneath the strings to clean the board.
Tip 2: Avoid the effect of humidity
It’s a well-known fact that humidity affects wood.
You should worry more if your uke is made of solid wood because laminated wood is much more tolerant of humidity.
What happens is, the wood absorbs the water vapor from the air and as a result, it swells. You might observe that your neck is bent or that you have a heightened fret action.
Moreover, low humidity can harm your instrument as well because it dries the wood.
If this happens, you will notice some shrinkage in your ukulele, in addition to loosening of the braces which causes buzzing because of the lowered fret action.
Add to this, the fact that wood cracks and breaks when it is deprived of moisture.
What you need to do is know where and how to store your uke.
In my humble opinion, getting a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level is the ideal way to make sure you are not messing up your wood.
What you want to do is keep your uke stored in about 50% relative humidity. A little more or a little less won’t be too bad but make sure it’s not more than 10% above or below 50.
The easiest way to control the weather surrounding your uke is, of course, using your AC. Nevertheless, you can use case humidifiers, or portable room humidifiers to control humidity as well.
Tip 3: Restring your uke regularly
Although this will differ from one player to the other, you need to consider how frequently you play your ukulele and based on that change your strings.
One thing that you shouldn’t do is waiting till a string breaks and then only replace that string.
Not only are you settling for worn out strings because if one is damaged then chances are, the rest are broken as well, but also, if you think about it, the rest of the strings will sound dead in comparison to the new string.
There are some few signs you need to change your strings:
- The increasing need to tune your instrument. Usually, if your strings are tired, they can’t hold in place as much as usual and they loosen too quickly.
- You might be able to see a variation in the strings or even feel like the strings aren’t as smooth anymore. So, if you run your fingers across the strings and run into any grooves, it’s about time you chase a new set of strings.
- Last but not least, if your ukulele sounds a little dull.
New strings have a bright loud tune that’s ever so capturing.
You will need to keep tuning them for a couple of times because they are still stretching, but they will make your song sound a lot better.
Tip 4: Don’t go too harsh with the pick
Personally, I don’t like using picks at all, yet, if you do, make sure you don’t go ahead and scratch your instrument all over.
What you want to do is, learn how to strum without letting the pick touch the body of your uke.
Tip 5: Use your capo properly
Believe it or not, it’s quite easy to damage your instrument by improper replacement or removal of your capo.
A lot of times players break their strings or cause neck dents just because they’re not being careful.
Make sure that your clamp is wide enough while placing it to avoid rough friction with your neck and similarly, make sure to unclamp it then remove it not just pull it off.
Tip 6: Use a case
From my personal perspective, this is necessary if you want to avoid damaging your uke.
A lot of people may tell you that it’s not a smart idea to get a case, when you only play at home and your uke is not really that expensive, nonetheless, the way I see it, what if the only time you decide to take it to your friend’s house to jam along, you drop it and it breaks?
If you are a professional and you play outside, then there’s no doubt getting a case for your instrument is a must.
Tip 7: Handle your uke properly while playing
What I mean by this is, not to recklessly hold your uke.
For me, I am the kind of person who’s always goofing around their friends, and just like having fun.
But whenever I’m playing my uke or my guitar, I pay attention not to drop my instrument.
You can cause a lot of damage to your uke if you just keep dropping it every now and then, from simple scratches to serious breaking, you won’t like any of it so let’s make sure we don’t go down this road and focus on spoiling little your buddy.
I think that’s it for this list, hope you guys find it helpful.