Hi, there are varius methods for skin in Maya, probably you use smooth bind, but in the bind to: 3 options , selected joints, hierachy, and the last.
This depends how you select the joints, if you select one by one is selected joints your bind , if select only the root, this ´s hierachy.
Now, select the joints first, then the surface and apply, thats it! ja,ja,ja,! sorry for my bad english too.