How to tune your ukulele
C tuning is the most common ukulele tuning. The ukulele can be tuned to a piano, a digital tuner or pitch pipe.
It might be best to get a digital tuner. When using a pitch pipe or a piano, It can be difficult for a beginner to determine if the note they tuning to matches the note they are hearing. As a student becomes more experienced and develops their ear it will become easier to tune to a piano or pitch pipe.
Tuning to a piano and what notes to tune the ukulele to
The notes, G, C, E, A can be easily remembered by singing this phrase, “My Dog Has Fleas”
Tuning a ukulele with a pitch pipe
Here is a pitch pipe. You blow into it and it produces a sound. You then tune the string on the ukulele to match that sound. It sounds a bit like a harmonica. The student must be able to know when the note they are tuning on the ukulele matches the note they are playing on the pitch pipe. This may be difficult for beginners.
Tuning the ukulele with a digital tuner
The best way to tune your ukulele is with a digital tuner. It will tell you which note you are closest to and how close you are to it. There is a meter on it that will tell you when you are in tune. The tuner pictured on the right is one of my favorites because it clips right on to the ukulele and can be used with some background nose.
1. Tune the first string to A if possible, (if you have something to tune it to).
2. Place your finger behind the 5th fret on the second string and tune it so that it sounds like the first string.
3. Place your finger behind the fourth fret on the third string and tune it so that it sounds like the second string.
4. Place you finger behind the second fret on the fourth string and tune it so that it sounds line the first string.
Tuning Trick #1: Before you tune your ukulele, stretch the strings
Before you tune, especially if the ukulele or the strings are new, stretch the strings.
Do this by firmly pulling the string away from the ukulele one at a time. Even if you stretch the strings it could take a few days to a week for the uke to get dialed in and hold a solid tune because new strings will still stretch out a bit more as you are playing.
Tuning Trick #2: Make sure the tuning keys are tight, learn about ukulele tuning keys
Here are the different kinds of tuning keys you might find on a ukulele.
Basic geared tuners
Tuning Trick #3: Always tune UP to the desired note
if the note is high go below the note and tune up to it very slowly. If you pass the note DO NOT GO BACK AND FORTH to get to the note. Go down below the note and tune up to it again. Tune up to the note slowly so you do not pass the note.
These tip and tricks should help you keep most ukuleles in tune!
If your just getting started get a copy of the FREE Play Ukulele Now eBook click here or check out the Play Ukulele NOW Methods and songbooks here