Are you not sure how to tune a ukulele?
This is quite a common issue. Quite a lot of new ukulele players have concerns about tuning their ukulele for the first time, and so often put off doing so.
But you can’t make a ukulele sound good if it is out of tune.
This handy guide on how to tune your ukulele will give you all the information you need to tune your instrument and help you play in tune for longer. Learn more and see how you can have an enjoyable experience playing your ukulele.
How To Tune A Ukulele
Firstly, you need to familiarize yourself with the various parts of the ukulele.
Whatever size your ukulele, the strings will all be attached to a bridge on the main body of the instrument. The strings run up the neck of the instrument and are wound around tuning pegs, which are sometimes called ‘machine heads’ on the head of the ukulele.
These tuning pegs are used to lengthen or shorten the strings. Tightening the strings, ie: making them shorter, will make a higher note. Loosening them will lower the note.
If the string sounds too flat it will need to be tightened to raise the pitch and vice versa.
Some new ukulele players are a bit timid when it comes to tightening the tuning pegs. This is because they are worried it could snap the string – which can be a bit alarming!
Don’t worry though, you will only ever be moving the tuning pegs in very small increments, and nice and slowly.
It is actually pretty unusual for a ukulele string to snap. So it shouldn’t stop you from feeling confident about tuning your instrument.
When Should You Tune Your Ukulele?
Now you understand how the tuning pegs change the pitch of the string. But when should you tune your ukulele?
You should never play the ukulele if it’s out of tune because you will not get the best out of it. Always tune your instrument immediately before you start to play it.
Then you should stop and tune it whenever it starts to sound wrong, or before you start playing your next piece.
The more you tune your ukulele, the better you will get at it. And you will also develop an instinct for exactly when it needs tuning.
It’s a good habit to get into tuning your instrument every time you are about to play a piece of music, and certainly, every time you pick it up fresh. Playing an instrument that is out of tune will be bad for your learning and development, and won’t help your confidence because it will sound bad.
How to Use an Electronic Ukulele Tuner
There are all sorts of different types of tuners that can help you tune your ukulele. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference, but they all do roughly the same job.
There are electronic tuners, which work if you have a jack on your ukulele and you can plug it in. Then there are clip-on tuners which attach to the head of your instrument and work on the vibrations of the strings.
You can even download apps for your smartphone that work using the microphone on your phone.
The Best Online Ukulele Tuners & Ukulele Tuning Apps (Android & Apple iOS)
We have compiled a list of the best online ukulele tuners and ukulele tuning apps for desktops, Android, and Apple iOS. These apps are meant to help you easily tune your ukulele by providing you with pitch reference so you can easily learn how to tune a ukulele with a tuner.. If you are able to tune by ear, or you have a tuning fork that’s great but these apps work great if you aren’t that advanced or don’t have any accessories with you.
Top 5 Online Ukulele Tuners
- Ukulele Tuner by UkuTuner
- Web-Based Ukulele Tuner by UkeBuddy
- Free Online Ukulele Tuner by Uke Tuner
- Another Free Online Ukulele Tuner by Ukulele Tabs
- Online Ukulele Tuner by Ukulele Tricks
Top 5 Ukulele Tuner Apps for Android
Top 5 Guitar Tuner Apps for Apple iOS
How to Tune Your Ukulele by Ear
People used to tune their ukuleles before there were electronic tuners and smartphones. So how did they do it?
The most traditional way to tune a ukulele is by ear using a piano, a keyboard, or another musical instrument that you know is in tune.
Some ukulele players are so experienced that they can just tune by ear, or by singing a note. This works if you have a really good pitch, but not everyone does, so don’t worry!
If you don’t have a piano or another musical instrument at home, then the cheapest and easiest way is to use a tuning fork. These are metal two-pronged forks which you tap and then stand upright. devices are wonderfully They produce a clear single note, which you can then use to tune your ukulele.
Tuning String by String (Standard Ukulele Tuning)
It is recommended when learning to play the ukulele, that you get a couple of ukulele books. These will help you learn the notes on the instrument, which will come in handy when you are tuning each string.
So, a ukulele’s standard tuning is G, C, E, A.
There are various ways you can remember this. Such as:
Goats, Can, Eat, Anything
So, if you are tuning your ukulele the old fashioned way and need to tune all the strings from one string, you can work out how to do it.
So for example, if you have tuned the first G string, then placing your finger on the fifth fret will give you C. You can tune the second string from that note.
These ukulele tuning chords will be sure to help you quickly and properly keep your ukulele in perfect tune!
Keeping Your Ukulele In Tune
Sometimes it can feel like your ukulele keeps going out of tune. This can be so annoying as it stops you from getting into your groove with the music you are playing.
Understanding what is making your instrument go out of tune can help you keep it in tune for longer.
All musical instruments are affected by temperature, and ukuleles are no different. A wooden instrument will expand and contract, as can the strings.
Humidity can have a similar effect, as humid conditions will make the instrument expand.
Keeping your ukulele somewhere where it is protected from fluctuations in temperature and humidity will prevent it from going out of tune quite so often.
As with any instrument, parts can also wear out. Strings and tuning pegs all suffer wear and tear and will not work as well when they get old. Therefore regular maintenance will help keep your instrument staying in tune for longer.
Don’t Forget To Enjoy It!
So if you were lacking confidence about how to tune your ukulele, now you know the basics.
You will soon master your own preferred way of tuning your instrument, whether it is with an electronic tuner or just doing it the good old-fashioned way and tuning by ear.
If you are looking for songs to learn and play on your ukulele read our article “7 Fun and Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners“, the post includes chord and tabs to help you easily learn how to play the ukulele. Now go and make great music on your ukulele!