How To Tune Your Ukulele

The first thing you need to be able to do when learning to play is how to tune your ukulele. Ukulele tuning is a must if you want it to sound good and give you the confidence to continue.

On this page is a step-by-step guide to tuning a ukulele if you are a beginner. Tuning can be hard, but if you use this guide correctly you’ll become a master at tuning your ukulele before you know it. Never again will you need to search how to tune your ukulele.

What Will We Learn

  • Why isn’t my ukulele staying in tune
  • What notes do I tune the ukulele too?
  • How to tune electronically
  • Tuning by ear (relative tuning)
  • Tune the ukulele using a Piano

Why Isn’t It Staying In Tune

How to tune your ukulele

It’s very common for ukuleles to go out of tune and that’s due to nature of the materials they are made from. It’s the same for acoustic guitars with nylon strings. They stretch therefore taking a while to settle down. You can speed up this “settling in” process by pulling the strings away from the body ( not too hard ). However its still going to require some patience and time.

There’s multiple ways you can tune your ukulele all depending on what equipment you have access too. You can do it using a tuner, your phone, a piano or just your ears. So let’s start with the basics.

What Notes Do I Tune It Too?

The ukulele is most often tuned to the notes G, C, E, and A. There’s many ways you can remember this such as;

Good Children Eat Apples

or

Good Cooks Eat Alot.

How To Tune your ukulele Electronically 

Tuner

You can tune the ukulele by using an electronic tuner. This is by far the easiest way to tune if you are new to the instrument as it does everything but turn the tuning pegs for you. You have to be careful and make sure you by a tuner that works with a ukulele as not all them will. You can avoid this issue by buying a Chromatic Tuner. This means that you can tune your ukulele to any notes you wish.

They come in 2 types, A clip-on tuner and a handheld one. The clip ons are very handy as you can leave them on your ukulele and never lose it. They both have the same principals. You pluck the string and it tells you to move left or right. You are either going to be tightening the string or loosen it. The tuners often show a green light once the string is in tune. You need to repeat this process for each one. I find it best to work backwards and start with the A then the E, C, G. It worth going back and double checking all the strings to make sure you haven’t knocked them out on your way up.

How to tune your ukulele

Phone

You can get apps that work the same way as an electronic tuner whereby they activate the mic in your phone and it tells you if your uke is in tune or not. You can also get apps that will play the note we are tuning too and you need to use your ear to make your ukulele strings sound the same. If you can master this skills its going to make learning songs much easy in the future as you will be able to make out individual notes.

Once you think you ukulele is in tune, pick a chord and give it a big strum. If it sounds like heaven, congratulations, you have just tuned a ukulele using a tuner.

How to tune your ukulele Using Your Ear

If you have nothing but your ukulele, you’ll have to tune the ukulele to itself. Whilst this is fine if you are playing alone. If you was to play with another instrument it wouldn’t sound right as your ukulele is not in tune with everything else. Its fine tho as along as they are all in tune with themselves. You can start playing.

Starting on the C-string, use that as your base note. Play the C-string at the fourth fret and tune the E-string to this note.

Play the E-string at the third fret and tune the G-string to that.

To get the note for the A-string, you can either play the E-string at the fifth fret, or the G-string at the second fret.

Strum through a few chords and if all sounds well, you’re good to start playing.

Tune Using A Piano

If you happen to have a piano or a keyboard, you can tune your ukulele using it. Much like we did the phone app. This method requires you to engage your ears and make them match the notes on your piano.

How to tune your ukulele

There we have it, several ways how to tune your ukulele. It may seem difficult at first, but find the method that works best for you and keep practising!

What Next?

So now you know how to tune your ukulele. Its worth learning some basic chords or learning how to read TABs. Once you have learnt to read ukulele TABs. Feel free to head over to the TABs section of the website and learn some songs such as;

Michael Jackson – The Girl Is Mine
Radiohead – Paranoid Android
Post Malone – Congratulations

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