For an Ukulele to please its owner for a long time, it must be treated properly. Most damage is caused by human error. The following recommendations based on experience are intended to protect against this.

The body of most ukuleles consists of quite soft wood. It can be damaged or scratched if you drop the ukulele or hit hard objects or handle a capo without care. Generally, laminated ukuleles are less sensitive than solid ones.

Storage and transport

Storage and transport

Ukuleles stay in better condition when at least occasionally played. The likelihood of this is greater if they are stored in a wall mount or on a floor stand than in a locked case or bag. In classrooms, hanging on the wall is recommended as the cheapest solution. However, the instruments should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

A hard-shell case is better than a gig bag for transport. Soft bags do not protect against direct impact of the ukulele, which can cause serious damage; for example, if the bag falls or is crushed. In addition, in a hard case, an ukulele humidifier can be used.

Heat and humidity

Heat and humidity

Direct sunlight, low humidity and rapid temperature or humidity changes can damage the instrument. The wood changes under the influence of the environment and can suffer from it. The wood cells absorb moisture and accordingly expands and sets it free again before again contracting. Direct sunlight (for example in a parked car) can also cause very large temperature changes and thus moisture. With an ukulele humidifier, large fluctuations, e.g. when traveling, can be balanced. The parts most sensitive to heat and humidity are top, back, neck and bridge. The top and back are quite thin and can rupture if they are in a very low humidity environment or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Often the neck is not reinforced and can twist. Finally, the adhesive that holds the bridge on the top can dissolve in high heat, so that the bridge peels off.

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Bridge of a Pono MHTSH that went loose after its glue dissolved in summer heat

Cleaning

Cleaning

Of course you should play your ukulele with clean (fat-free!) fingers and make sure that no garbage or sand gets into it. Dirt on the body is best wiped off with a soft, lint-free cloth. You can also wipe the strings after playing. The easiest way to clean the fretboard is when changing the strings. Wipe it with a soft cloth and maybe some almond oil so that the wood does not dry out.

Finish and polish

Finish and polish

The surfaces of the instruments are often either chemically varnished or oiled. Chemical finish lasts longer, but must be repaired by a specialist. To refresh an oil finish, it is enough to apply some pure lemon or almond oil occasionally or to apply some oil with a soft cloth.

Videos

Videos


  • Katie DeNure: Care and Maintenance Advide

References

References