Your Ukulele may be small but that doesn’t mean it needs any less care or attention than any other instrument. If you want to keep your Ukulele playing well for a long time, then here are 4 Ukulele Care and maintenance tips that will enable you and your Uke to have a very long and happy playing life together .
Ukulele Care And Maintenance: Protect Your Litle Uke
This may sound obvious but to keep your Uke in tip-top condition then protect it at all costs. Wherever you store it, make sure it is protected by a case. This means that if it should get knocked or bumped, it has protection. If you anticipate traveling with your instrument, you may wish to purchase a hard shell case.
Store Your Ukulele somewhere safe. This means down low so that you limit the chance of your Ukulele getting knocked over or knocked off. While the odd chip may show character to your Ukulele, if it falls from a great height it could be a very costly mistake and potentially irreparable.
Ukulele Care And Maintenance: Humidity Matters
Humidity, put simply, is the amount of moisture in the surrounding air. The more moisture, the higher the humidity. This section is especially important if you have a solid wood Ukulele for they are affected far more than laminate ones. However, it is advisable to heed these instructions even if your Ukulele is laminate. Weather and humidity conditions can make the wood of your ukulele expand and contract. Wood is a natural material and can therefore absorb and lose water. If you store your Ukulele under too humid conditions anywhere above 60% or below 40% the wood could take on too much water, expand, causing glued parts to come unglued, fret boards to expand and play badly and other parts of your ukulele to become damaged.
If the wood becomes too dry, it could crack and the same result could occur. While here in the UK we are generally fine, if you do live in a particularly humid environment, you might want to consider buying a dehumidifier for your Ukulele case or a room where your Ukulele lives.
Store Your Ukulele in a cool place. Keep it away from heaters, radiators or fire places. Too much heat to your Ukulele, like too little water will cause the wood of your Ukulele to crack and the instrument to eventually break.
Ukulele Care And Maintenance: Cleaning
When you play your Ukulele, it will pick up dust, oil from your skin and possible fibres from your clothes. These in turn will eventually cause a build-up on your instrument and will seek to corrode the wood. In order to keep these oils to a minimum and allow your instrument to maintain its natural oils and shine, wipe down the body of the Ukulele with a damp microfibre cloth every time you have finished playing with it. Once you have used a damp cloth, wipe it down with a dry one to remove any excess moisture. Do the same with the fret board or consider using a very fine wire wool to remove any oil/residue.
There are also polishes you can buy in order to keep your Ukulele looking shiny and new. These only need to be used every month or so but using them on your instrument (especially if it has a gloss finish like mine, will keep your ukulele looking beautiful and shiny.
Ukulele Care And Maintenance: Strings And Things
If your Ukulele starts to sound dull or you find that you are having to re-tune your Ukulele a lot, it might be worth checking your strings. Feel for any nicks/grooves in them and listen to how they play. These nicks could be a sign of potential snapping so it might be worth buying a new set and changing them at this point. How often you will go between string changes will very much depend on how much you play. If you play every day you may find you have to change your strings more often.
Capos can also do damage to your Ukulele. If you use a Capo and it does not have rubber on the grips, be sure to open it fully before putting it on or taking it off your Ukulele. If you don’t, it could cause damage. If your Capo does have a rubber edging, still remove and place it on your Uke with care.
If you use a pick (Plectrum) be sure to try to keep it away from the body of your Uke. Catching the body of the Uke with your pick will lead to scratches and nicks. This is especially true if you own a gloss finish. If you must use a pick, perhaps even purchase felt picks which are much kinder to your instrument and are honestly all you really need to use with nylon strings. Should you feel it necessary to use a Nylon pick, make sure they are as thin as you can manage. They will be more flexible and less damaging. They will also sound nicer too.
Be sure to hold your Ukulele properly. Incorrect holding could lead to your Ukulele being dropped and irreparably damaged. Need I say more? If you struggle with this, then simply get a strap fitted to your Ukulele. Some Ukulele Purests would be horrified at this but frankly, do what is best for you. Always be sure to purchase a strap that will hold your Ukulele securely. Those with sound hole hooks can have problems of their own. These rely on gravity so should your Uke move, or not be supported by its own weight, the strap could detach and your instrument could end up dropping to the floor anyway.
If you wish to have a long and happy playing partnership with your Ukulele then these tips will definitely be helpful to you. These tips are quick and can be completed by anyone without much experience or cost. It’s worth it to keep your Ukulele playing nicely. If you have any questions about what i have covered in this post then please feel free to comment below.