How to Tune a Ukulele
Before you start any ukulele play session, it is important that your ukulele is fully tuned up. Therefore you need to know how to tune a ukulele. This will ensure that your music sounds brilliant. Honestly, most of the time people complain that they do not enjoy playing the ukulele. It is down to the fact that it is not tuned properly. No matter how well you play, if you’re ukulele is out of tune you will never sound good. Thankfully, getting that instrument into tune is not that difficult. You just need to have a bit of knowledge about what you are doing.
Tuning your ukulele by ear
You tune the ukulele by turning the pegs on the headstock of your ukulele, loosening the string makes the note lower and tightening it raises the pitch. One method of tuning your ukulele is by ear. For this, you will need a reference note to listen to; this can be an online ukulele tuner, a piano, a tuning fork, an ukulele tuning tutorial, or any instrument that is correctly tuned to the notes you are tuning your ukulele to.
Play the note and listen very carefully to the pitch, by turning the peg you can either tune your ukulele string up or down to match the pitch. It is easier to tune up than down, so if you are getting a higher pitch, I would suggest loosening the string to just lower than the required pitch and gradually tighten the string until the note you are playing matches the reference note,
Start with the G string and work your way along the strings until you are happy with the sound of each string. You may find that you need to retune the strings as you go along. It is worth taking the time to make sure each string is properly tuned. At first, it can be difficult to get the hang of listening to the note and getting your ukulele to sound the same. But with practice, your ear will get used to the notes.
Standard ukulele tuning
There are four common ukulele sizes. Smallest to largest, they are Soprano (standard), Concert, Tenor and Baritone. Most soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles will be tuned to Standard ukulele tuning or reentrant ukulele tuning. For the purposes of this article, I am going to assume that you are carrying out a standard ukulele tuning. This is a C or High G ukulele tuning. So, how to tune a Ukulele in C ? If you are new to the instrument, then this is the route that you will always end up going down as it is the easiest tuning to master. This will be the order of the strings when you hold the instrument as if you were playing it. This is from top to bottom: G – C – E – A.
You need to note that the G string is referred to as the fourth string. If you are good at listening to sounds, then you can tune your ukulele by ear. Watch the video below or visit our Ukulele tuning tutorials page.
Alternate ukulele tunings
You do not need to know what these are right now (if you are new), but it is probably worth thinking about them ‘just in case’ you continue to learn the instrument. These tunings are always taken from the top string down to the bottom while you are holding the ukulele.
Low G ukulele tuning: Same as the standard g, C, E, A ukulele tuning but the g-string is tuned down an octave.
Baritone Ukulele Tuning: D, G, B, E. Guitar players will note that this tuning is similar to the last four strings on the guitar.
Slack-key tuning: G, C, E, G
English Tuning: A, D F#, B. You may also find that this type of tuning is referred to as D tuning.
Canadian tuning : low A, D F#, B. This is the same as the English tuning, but you put the A lower than the D and F#.
High D Baritone Ukulele Tuning: Same as Baritone tuning D, G, B, E, but D string an octave higher.
Half step down and half step up tunings
Half step down from Standard ukulele tuning. Just drop the pitch of each string down to the next note so your strings become F#–B–D#–G#.
Half step up ukulele tuning In order to tune your ukulele half step up from Standard G–C–E–A ukulele tuning, just change the pitch of each string up to the next note so your strings become G#–C#–F–A#
Full step down and full step up tuning
Full step up ukulele tuning In order to tune your ukulele full step up from Standard ukulele tuning, just change the pitch of each string a whole step higher so they become (A D F# B).
See all ukulele tunings in our TUNING TUTORIALS section
Getting a ukulele into tune is not that difficult. Please note that the strings are not in tone order. In most cases, the G note is going to be higher pitched than the C and E. This is because it helps to keep the movement on the fretboard down to the absolute minimum. Basically, you get a more even tone like this. Some people will drop down the G tone, but this is not that common. If you are new to the instrument, then don’t worry about using a Low G.
Tune Your Ukulele Fast And Easy
The easiest way to tune your ukulele is to use our free online ukulele tuner.
Electronic Ukulele Tuner
Using an electronic digital tuner makes the work easier, the tuner is set to the note you want to tune your ukulele to. When you play the note, the tuner detects the pitch and indicates whether you need to tune up or down, It is worth investing in an electronic tuner to ensure that your ukulele is always in tune. You may need to tune your ukulele every time you go to play until the ukulele settles.
Using an electronic tuner is by far the most accurate way to tune your ukulele. To read more about different elctronic tuners or buy one. Visit our Digital tuners page.