How to Put on a Ukulele Strap
If you already checked out our article about ukulele straps, you probably noticed there are a couple of other things to know. The first thing is how to install ukulele strap buttons.
Additionally, whether you chose to install one or two strap buttons on your uke, you must know how to put the strap on to play comfortably.
Edited by Ukulele Experts!
How to install ukulele strap buttons and tips to wear straps
Below, we resume the importance of knowing all of this:
1 # – Knowing how to place strap buttons can save you some cash
If you don’t know how to place strap buttons, which is not hard at all, you’ll have to pay to get it done at a store.
The cost of this service depends on where you are and where you go to get it done, but anyhow, knowing how to do it can save you from the hassle of even going there.
2 # – Knowing how to correctly place strap buttons can save your uke!
Placing your strap buttons using the right technique, and in the right place, can save your uke.
Of course, no one wants to play a uke that’s full of practice holes, so this is something you want to get right from the beginning.
In this guide, we’ll guide you briefly through the process of installing the strap buttons yourself at home.
Also, we’ll share some tips on how to put on the strap to wear it efficiently.
Are you ready to strap up? Let’s get started!
Different ukulele strap button types
We don’t have a very strong opinion about button straps, mostly because they generally work in the same manner.
Still, we highly recommend you to pick Greenten’s Mushroom Head buttons.
- 100% as pictrue show and new.
- These are a modern design which would look great on any your guitar
- This includes the installation screws and brand new felts.
Last update on 2022-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
They are a very reliable option that:
- Works well with most straps we’ve tried it with and recommend.
- Comes with two buttons, four felt washers, and the screw you need to install them yourself.
- You can pick from three colors – gold, black, and chromed.
- And they work like a charm once you install them.
1 or 2 straps: what’s better?
Now, the first real question is: how many strap buttons do you need to install?
Depending on the strap type, you’ll want to add one or two strap buttons to your uke.
So, we highly recommend you to check out our article about the different strap types so you can settle for the one you like the most.
Our opinion regarding your choice is that you should stick to whatever is more comfortable for you.
Now, our personal opinion, is that half guitar straps or folk guitar straps, which require only one button, are better.
Why? Because they’re easier to use!
To resume, they only need one strap button to work, which makes it less risky if you plan to install your own buttons.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to place both buttons, so you can pursue either choice – you can also use both if you like to have two kinds of straps!
Installing the first button
The first button is always the easiest to install because the place is always the same.
Keep in mind, though, that if you have an electroacoustic uke, you can also use the plug as the first button, eliminating the need of piercing your uke again.
To install it, follow these 3 detailed steps:
# 1 – Find the center and mark it
First, measure the bottom of your uke (a.k.a. the tailblock) to find the exact center.
To do so, measure the thickness and length of the bottom view of your uke.
Draw lines from the center of the horizontal and vertical measurement of the bottom.
We recommend you use some chalk to lightly mark the place where the two lines meet.
You can remove it easily later with a polishing cloth and a wood cleaning solution.
To be sure it is the right place, keep in mind that the exact center should meet an imaginary line drawn from the middle of the second and third string.
You can also measure and draw a line to be absolutely sure.
When you’re sure you’ve found the center of your uke’s bottom, you must mark the place with a screw – just the surface!
# 2 – The pilot hole
Now, with a drill, and a wood drill bit that’s not as thick as the button’s screw you’re about to install, pierce a guide or pilot hole.
Try to do it while someone else holds the uke in place (in a padded surface, like a towel) and avoid at all cost enlarging the hole too much because of wobbling.
Avoid piercing too much. To achieve the perfect drill, press firmly, but gently against the wood with the drill bit, and let the spinning do its magic.
Once it pierces, don’t push it in too much to avoid damaging the inside of your uke.
# 3 – Install the button you picked
Once your pilot hole is ready, you can screw the button in.
Do it slowly, and don’t forget to put on the felt washer that should come with the button you got.
The washer will avoid wobbling once the button’s screw is in, and will protect the wood of your uke from cracking from the pressure.
And you’re set!
If you want to use one button only, this is basically the end of the road, and you can jump to the conclusion.
For those looking for a guide on how to install the second button, keep on reading!
Different places to install the second button
Now, there’s always some controversy about where you should place the second button.
Still, there are only two options that are, well, the only viable ones:
- Behind the headstock. This is a good option if you’re used to playing while standing up, and have a good position while holding and playing your uke. If you followed tips on how to hold your ukulele and corrected your playing position, then this is the most efficient way.
- On the neck’s heel. This option is for you if you like to play the uke while standing up in a more relaxed position, maybe even while holding the uke down around your well-defined abs. Of course, you can also make it work like the first option by shortening the strap you use.
A more important aspect to take into account is how thick the wood is in both areas.
If they’re equally thick, pick the one you like the most – if not, pick the thickest area.
To install it behind the headstock
What you have to do is very simple:
- Behind the headstock, below the highest strings – the ones closest to the fretboard – is the spot you want to drill.
- If you’re a perfectionist, like ourselves, you can measure and mark with chalk using the same process described above.
- The only difference is that you have to pick a place that’s closer to the fretboard (on the other side) than to the strings – where the wood is usually thicker.
- Once you find the spot, apply the exact same steps we described for the first button. The only warning is that you should drill exactly what you need to avoid piercing through the other side.
- To know how much that is, measure how thick the wood is from the side.
- Then, compare it to the length of the button’s screw, which should be about ½ or ¾ of the wood’s thickness.
If the screw is too long, place it in the neck’s heel!
To install it in the neck’s heel
This choice is even easier.
You must measure a spot that’s thick enough to support the button’s screw without piercing through.
You don’t have to measure a lot – just measure the thickest place to put it, and apply the steps we described for placing it in the headstock.
And… that’s it!
Frequently Asked Questions – How to install strap buttons?
This is a personal decision. Take us for example!
We don’t have soprano or tenor ukes with straps, however, we have some concert and bigger baritone ukes that do have straps.
It’s all about comfort, and since the bigger uke types are also a bit heavier, we made the choice of installing a couple of buttons here and there.
This depends on how bad is the damage.
If the strap button broke and left the screw inside the wood, you can try to remove it with some tweezers and a ton of patience – and your uke won’t be unplayable because of that.
However, if the damage is worse than that, you always have the option of taking it to a store for a luthier to fix it – they have the tools, the time, and the knowledge to do it quickly.
Well, in this guide, we used:
– Chalk to mark the center.
– A screwdriver to notch the spot.
– A drill with a thin drill bit to create a pilot hole.
– You can also use some tape to mark the drill bit and avoid going into the uke too much.
– A helping hand to keep the uke in place with you do the drilling.
– The same Philips-head screwdriver to put in the button’s screw.
– The strap button and felt washers.
And, the most important ingredient: patience.
The length of the strap button, as a whole, doesn’t matter that much.
However, the part that you screw into the uke shouldn’t be longer than 0.7 inches (2cm).
That’s a good rule of thumb to measure a ukulele strap button.
This depends on preference. Personally, we don’t think you must use complex designs with ukuleles – save those for guitars!
Still, we do like mushroom-head buttons because they have a wider, thicker surface to attach the strap, and a design to avoid stretching the attachment hole.
That means that you’ll achieve a snug fit, diminishing the risk of the strap coming off somehow.
Installing the ukulele strap is something very personal, and if you want to buy a uke, you should take that into account from the beginning.
There are different types of straps that can save you, quite literally, from reading and applying this article to learn how and where to place the second strap button on your uke.
However, keep in mind that this is something that you should think about and take the decision personally, especially if you read our article about how to hold your ukulele.
Positioning your second uke button – or avoid doing so for preference of a different type of strap – is a very important decision that often goes unnoticed.
If left unchecked, you can end up being forced to hold your uke in a way that’s not completely comfortable for you, diminishing your playability.
This is a very small aspect you can avoid from the beginning!
Additionally, you can suffer from back, neck, and shoulder injuries, just as we’ve explained in the article about how to hold your uke.
But that’s not it – your uke can also suffer, which will also leave a scar on your wallet.
That’s why you must pay more attention than you probably thought you had.
We hope you find true value in this guide.
So, are your strap buttons well placed?