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7 ways to easily tune your ukulele

You have just bought your new, shiny, colorful ukulele (so cute, so great!). But one problem: the strings sounds like a dissonant orchestra. Where there some tiny elves who tried to use each string as bows or what? You just need to tune your ukulele before trying your best at Somewhere Over The Rainbow (from Israel Kamakawiwo'ole) or Perfect (from Ed Sheeran), but don't know how?

This page is for you.

To tune a ukulele, use a tuner or an app, and turn the tuners to get a G (for the right string), a C (for the second and thicker string), an E (for the third string) and an A (for the last and thinner string)
Let's have a more detail look at it.

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7 ways to tune your ukulele

Here are many ways to tune your ukulele.

Once you have picked one way, here is How to tune your ukulele step by way for total beginners

Tune it, play it, enjoy it

You can either tune it with a device called a tuner, or with an app. Some electro-acoustic ukulele have a tuner already build-in.

Aside from a ukulele with a tuner build in, I usually recommend an app to start with, as it's free. However, I use a tuner. The reason is that I will have the tuner available anytime, anywhere, even if my phone runs out of battery. Beside, I can get my phone away and just focus on having a distraction-free time. Just me, the uk', and music.

Tune with a tuner

First, you'll need a tuner.

Let's dive in the ukulele anatomy for a moment. The tuners are the little things (like little keys) at the headstock or head. Each of these tuners will tune one string.

Tune with an app on your phone

Tune it with a computer

Of course, if you can do it with a smartphone, you can do it with your computer.

Tune it with a tuning fork

Last but not least, you can tune it with a tuning fork. It's the good ol' way to tune string instruments. It might be a little bit less accurate, but the more you will do it, the better it is. Most of tuning forks will emit a A note at a 440Hz frequency.

Sometime the tuning fork is a C. You can then compare this C to your second string.

Simply hit the fork on a hard material and then put gently the bottom of it on your ukulele or near your hear. Then pluck the A string (the thinest one, it is the one that is at the bottom when you hold the ukulele correctly. Then turn the key of the A string to get as close as possible to the A note.

Then follow the steps in "Tune your strings relatively to one string".

Tune your strings relatively to one string

When playing in front of an audience or even alone, it might be quicker for you to tune compared to another one, if this string went a little bit off tune.

It's simple.

To get the A, you can press on the second fret of the first string (G). You will also find it on the 5th fret of the third string (E).

To get the E, you can press the 4th fret of the (... to be continued)

Tune it with a tune pedal

What are the notes for each string?

One you hold your ukulele head up, then the right string is the G note (sol), the next one is the C note (do), then the E note (mi) and last but not least the A (la). The C is the thicker string, and the A the thinner - even if all of them seem to be very thin.

Why is the C string (the second string) the thicker and not the G string? Usually, (... to be continued)

The first time you tune a new ukulele

New ukulele. Or ukulele with a or many new strings

  • it will be REALLY off tune
  • pay attention to tune the correct string to the correct note. Don't try to tune your G string toward a C note. It seems stupid, but it's a mistake that could snap off a string - you'll have to go and buy a new one.
  • pay attention to the correct note : the note AND the octave. However, many tuner has a "ukulele tuning mode", and it'll help you to tune it.
  • once you've tuned a new string, it'll go off tune after a few minutes. It's totally normal. Tune it again. It'll slowly get off tune after 10-15 minutes. So tune it again. You'll have to tune it everyday for a week, as it'll change a lot.

How to tune your ukulele step by way for total beginners

Why these strings go off tune?

  • temperature
  • humidity maybe
  • take it out

The best thing to do is to keep it in its bag and let it alone. But you don't want that. You want it outside its bag as much as possible, so that you can grab it as much as possible.

Conclusion

So here you go, you can tune it with a tuner, a computer, your phone app or a tune pedal (which are quite similar methods), or with a tuning fork.

And you?

What do you like to tune your uk' with? Are you more for the smartphone & app, or do you tune it with a tuner?

What app or software do you use?

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