Ukulele Care 101: How to Take Care of a Ukulele?

Did you ever notice your ukulele sounding a bit different when you tried to play it?

Did the frets seem a bit stiff?

Did you have trouble playing the ukulele as well?

Well, it’s probably because you haven’t kept your ukulele clean and properly took care of it.

It doesn’t matter whether your ukulele is expensive or not, it will be precious to you. Therefore, it is essential for you to learn how to take care of a ukulele properly – especially if you want to keep playing it for a long time and want the best performance from your precious instrument.

If you follow the following steps and maintain your ukulele, it should have great intonation as well as increased longevity.

Keeping It Neat and Clean

It is kind of general knowledge that you should keep your musical instruments tidy and clean them properly from time to time. In the case of ukuleles, this is a very important factor if you want to maintain the quality for a long time.

If not, dust and sweat combined can badly harm the wood. So, it is advised to clean your ukulele after you’re done playing for the day.

Usually, lemon oil does a pretty good job of cleaning the fingerboard. Just damp clean cloth with a few drops, and then polish your instrument gently. For best results, you need to learn how to clean a ukulele the right way as well.

Proper Storage

I’ve seen a lot of people not bothered about getting a case for ukuleles or any other instruments simply because they don’t care for it. On the other hand, some prefer to hang their ukes on a stand so it’d look good.

However, your ukulele needs to be properly stored, and getting a hard case is your best bet. Even if you only play the instrument indoors, it can easily collect dust which can harm the body and reduce the lifespan.

Hard-shell cases protect the ukulele properly and prevent any wanted body or neck dents. We’d recommend getting a good case and store your uke inside- saving it from dust and shocks.

Restring on A Regular Basis

If you notice your ukulele frequently getting out of tune or the strings feel different while playing, it’s probably because they are worn out and need to be replaced.

Most people keep playing on a single set of strings until one of them breaks. And when it finally does, they only change that specific string. The thing is, if one of the strings breaks – chances are the others are not doing so well either.

Therefore, it’s essential to remove the old strings altogether and restring your ukulele after a time period. If you’re a regular player, then you should consider restringing your uke after 1 month.

New strings have better sharpness and resonance that will increase your playability significantly. However, high-quality strings like Aquila Nylgut or fluorocarbon strings perform way better than generic steel strings

Consider Humidity Effects

This is something almost all musicians tend to overlook despite knowing the fact that humidity levels have evident effects on wood. A general characteristic of wood is that it absorbs the water vapor in humid conditions and thereby gets swelled a bit.

If you possess a solid wood ukulele, then you should definitely think about humidity control. Make sure your instrument is never in extreme temperatures. Keep it away from direct sunlight. Extreme cold can harm the body of your uke as well.

Some use portable room humidifiers to maintain a dry environment. However, we think it’s an unnecessary purchase.

Be Cautious with Capos

A lot of musicians use capos when they wish to play their ukes at a certain tonal range. While capos are very useful, they can severely damage the fretboard of your precious ukulele.

Sometimes, using a capo improperly can even break your strings or dent your fretboard – reducing your playability significantly.

So, if you want to use a capo with your instrument, make sure the clasp is wide enough and then put it gently onto the fret. Make sure you place the capo at the middle of the fret.

Follow the same procedure when you’re removing the capo as well and your uke should be perfectly fine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Guitar Polish to Clean My Ukulele?

Certainly. You can use Martin guitar polish or other branded ones for an acoustic guitar to clean your ukulele. Polishes work better to retain the gloss finish. Just make sure the polish won’t harm the tonewood of your ukulele. 

What Types of Clothes Can I Use to Clean A Ukulele? 

Well, any soft cleaning cloth or cotton cloth should get the job done. However, you can use a microfiber cleaning cloth if you want to be on the safe side.

Conclusion

A clean ukulele will definitely feel better on your hands and increase your playability. Therefore, if you have a ukulele that you love playing with, you should take care of it properly.

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