What Kind of Strap Does Jake Shimabukuro Use When Playing Ukulele?
Jake Shimabukuro is considered a ukulele virtuoso. Born in Hawaii he began playing when he was a child and now he is one of the most accomplished players of this instrument the world over. His style of play is often copied by students who wish to be even remotely as adept at playing as Shimabukuro. His music is strongly influenced by both jazz and rock and roll. He does original pieces and is known for doing hauntingly beautiful covers of very famous songs that one would generally not associate with the ukulele. His ability to master complex finger work is considered a true gift in the field of ukulele playing. He is considered innovative and is well-respected by musicians and students of this instrument.
Using a Strap
For the most part, ukuleles are held across the chest and strummed with no support from a neck strap or other device. Within the last few years, however, concert goers began noticing that Jake Shimabukuro was different in this regard. He had begun to use some sort of strap to support the ukulele while he played. There was speculation that it was a special kind of strap. There was speculation that because of Jakes style of play the strap had become more necessary. Some even began to doubt that people were seeing a strap at all and suggested they were seeing things or had imagined this new development because so few ukulele players wore straps at all. Was Jake using a strap and if so what kind was it? Everyone in the ukulele world wanted to find out more about Shimabukuros strap and wanted one of their own.
Classical Guitar Straps
This type of strap is worn around the neck and has a hook at the bottom. The hook comes up under the guitar and hooks into the sound hole. This is the kind of strap that Jake Shimabukuro has been seen wearing most often. It does not hold the ukulele but adds some extra support. These straps require the musician to hold on to the instrument while playing but allow for harder strumming and a little more movement. There is no strain on the neck with this kind of strap given that a ukulele is so lightweight compared to a guitar and it will support an instrument that does not have strap buttons, which is a common occurrence with ukuleles. These straps do not have any adverse effect on the sound of the instrument and do not stop reverberations, vibrations, or the flow of the sound in any way. They do take some getting used to as one is often inclined to think that the instrument will be fully supported and both hands can be free, this is not the case and one hand will generally need to be on the instrument at all times to keep it from flailing about or even falling to the ground.
For those who would like to emulate the style of Jake Shimabukuro purchasing a classical guitar strap online is an easy way to begin the process, learning to play with the skills and talents of this virtuoso is another matter entirely.