Like every musical instrument, the ukulele needs to be cared for. Just because it is small and casual, it still takes effort to upkeep a uke if you want to prolong its lifespan. Many elements, from the oil on your hands to the heat and humidity can put your ukulele into hazards you may be unaware of. But how to care for your ukulele? Here are some tips.
Where To Store Your Uke
Never leave your ukulele in direct sunlight, near the heater, oven, or in a car. The uke is made of wood and heat can make the wood brittle and prone to cracking and breaking. Avoid placing your uke in a high place where there is the danger of it dropping. Besides heat, keep your uke away from damp and wet places where it risks getting spills from liquids.
Protect Your Ukulele From Humidity
Depending on the type of ukulele you own, it can be damaged by too much or too little humidity. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Ukulele made of solid wood bleed moisture, even though it has been processed. Too high or low humidity can harm your solid wood ukulele. The best would be to keep your ukulele in a place with 40% to 60% humidity. Too much humidity can cause the wood to swell and the pegs and frets to corrode quickly. It might even cause the neck to bend in some cases.
When there is too little humidity, the wood gets dry and this causes the shrinking of the top and the back of the uke. It loosens the braces and causes fret buzzing due to the lowered fret action. When wood is deprived of moisture it can easily break or crack.
You can control the humidity in your room using:
Dehumidifiers reduce the level of humidity in the air
Air-conditioning to keep your uke cool during hot humid weather
Hardshell case protects your uke from possible accidents
Case humidifiers can help to control the environment inside your ukulele case.
Restringing string instruments is another way to maintain the uke. Although it depends on how often and how hard you play the ukulele. Some would restring their uke after a few weeks while others do it every few months. You would replace the string if one of the strings break. However, when this happens, do not only replace one string but replace all the strings.
When you are tuning your uke more often, or if it doesn’t sound as good anymore, or when the string doesn’t feel as smooth as it used to, it is time to restring your instrument.
Cleaning Your Ukulele
If you have a guitar and clean it regularly, you can do the same for your uke. When you play with the ukulele, the sweat and oil stains the uke and causes deterioration to the wood and finish. To solve the problem, get yourself some Dunlop 65 lemon oil, a great fretboard cleaner.
As for the body of the ukulele, thoroughly wipe it with a microfiber cleaning cloth to remove dirt and dust before storing. To remove built-up grime, oil and sweat, clean the uke with a slightly damp cleaning cloth to remove all smudgy marks. Then dry the uke with another clean cloth. You can get a polishing solution from your music ship if your uke is painted and has a shiny finish to maintain its gloss.
Using Picks and Capos Gently
If you are using a pick to play your ukulele, make sure it does not directly touch your uke’s body as it can cause awful scratches, especially when you are strumming hard. When placing a capo (those without rubber coatings), widen the clamp to prevent rough contact with the neck. Make sure the capo is fully unclamped before pulling it off.
Many people pick up the ukulele from video lessons. But to play it well, you might want to consider taking lessons. Ritmo Music Studio teaches you how to maintain a proper posture when playing the uke, how to tune, read chord charts and tablature scores. You will also get to learn various strumming and plucking techniques that allows you to jam with others.