How to Tune a Ukulele: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Table of contents

  1. Empty
  2. What Is the Standard Ukulele Tuning?
  3. How to Tune a Ukulele By Ear
  4. How to Tune a Ukulele With a Ukulele Tuner
  5. Final Thoughts

Empty

{"blocks":[{"key":"6pab5","text":"Knowing how to tune a ukulele is among the most crucial lessons of ukulele playing. A well-tuned ukulele not only sounds awesome, but it's more enjoyable to play. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":163,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":163,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":163,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":163,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"fvti6","text":"Luckily, it doesn't take a professional to tune a ukulele. This guide shows you everything you need to know when tuning a ukulele, including how to tune it by ear or with an electric tuner. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":190,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

What Is the Standard Ukulele Tuning?

{"blocks":[{"key":"fujo4","text":"Before we start tuning, it's important to understand the basic open strings on a ukulele. Soprano and tenor ukuleles have their strings tuned to as follows: ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":157,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"1ftr","text":"G – 4th string ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"ookk","text":"C – 3rd string ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"dmn38","text":"E – 2nd string ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":15,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"1h5f3","text":"A – 1st string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5dja5","text":"Similar to a regular 6-string or 12-string guitar, each string is tensed or loosed using the tuning knob located at the end of the fretboard. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":142,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":142,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":142,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":142,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"6nibh","text":"The lower left peg belongs to the G string, while the upper left peg belongs to the C string. Similarly, the lower right peg belongs to the A string, and the upper right belongs to the E string. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":195,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":195,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":195,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":195,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"62h7e","text":"If you want to be more experimental, there are several other alternative tunings you can use. This includes the following ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":122,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":122,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":122,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":122,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"6min6","text":"Baritone ukulele tuning, AKA G-tuning (D, G, B, E) – for baritone ukuleles and tenor ukuleles ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":94,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":94,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":94,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":94,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"but3p","text":"Slack-key tuning (G, C, E, G) – for Hawaiian-like sounds","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":56,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":56,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":56,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":56,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"crep5","text":"English tuning, AKA D-tuning (A, D, F#, B) – for soprano ukuleles or banjoleles; sweeter and warmer in tone ","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":108,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":108,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":108,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":108,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"92pcb","text":"Canadian tuning (low A, D, F#, B) – for concert and tenor ukuleles; nearly identical to English tuning except for the top A-string","type":"unordered-list-item","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":130,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

How to Tune a Ukulele By Ear

{"blocks":[{"key":"dbabj","text":"Let's take a look at how to tune your ukulele by ear using these simple steps! ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"357j1","text":"Step 1: Choose Your Guide ","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":26,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":26,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":26,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":26,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"43mvr","text":"There are several guides you can use to tune your ukulele by ear. Some of the most popular include using your piano, a pipe tuner, or an online tuner. You can also find ukulele tuning apps in your phone’s app store for on-the-go tuning. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":237,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"4h5i6","text":"If you're using a piano, you’ll first need to locate the corresponding note on the piano before adjusting the knobs of your ukulele until the pitch matches perfectly. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":167,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":167,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":167,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":167,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7v3mi","text":"If you're a little more advanced, you can use a circular chromatic pitch pipe or a pitch pipe, a tool that's specifically made for tuning ukuleles. To use a pitch pipe, blow into the protruding holes or openings corresponding to the ukulele string. Then, adjust the knobs until the pitch matches the sounds coming from a pipe. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":327,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":327,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":327,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":327,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"c0jsp","text":"For beginners, we recommend online tuners. Online tuners can easily be found on the internet and on YouTube. It’s free most of the time, so you can replay the clip or video multiple times until you manage to copy the pitch.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":223,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"9o73e","text":"Remember: the tune you're trying to match is G, C, E, and A for standard tuning.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":80,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7pgg4","text":"Step 2: Tune the Strings","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":24,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":24,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":24,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":24,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"a0ool","text":"Once you've chosen a point of reference, it's time to tune your ukulele. To start, listen to the pitch several times to get the tune in your head. Then, play the G string, the string that's closest to you, until it matches the G tone of your piano, pitch pipe, or online tuner. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":278,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"712jg","text":"When the sound plays, imitate the tune with a ‘hum’ to make it easier to remember. Once you're certain of the pitch, pluck the lower-left peg (G) of your ukulele and do your best to copy the tune. Do this by either playing the reference and then copying the tune after, or playing the two tunes together until it matches one another. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":334,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":334,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":334,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":334,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"18jpd","text":"If the pitch of the string is higher than what's playing on the point of reference, it means that the string of your ukulele is too sharp. Loosen it by turning the peg clockwise. If it's lower than your pitch, it might be too flat. Tighten it by turning the strings counter-clockwise. \n","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":285,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

How to Tune a Ukulele With a Ukulele Tuner

{"blocks":[{"key":"2qtha","text":"Electronic tuners come in one of three types: chromatic, polyphonic, or strobe. Let’s take a look at how each is used: ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":119,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":119,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":119,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":119,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"a5ah0","text":"Chromatic Tuners ","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":17,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":17,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":17,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":17,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"dvjn6","text":"Chromatic tuners are among the most common tuners on the market. They're available in multiple formats, including clip-on, pedal, and microphone. These tuners allow you to tune every note in the chromatic scale, ukulele tunes included. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"54ca","text":"To use a chromatic tuner, simply play a string on your ukulele and the chromatic tuner will tell you if it's in tune or not. You'll then have to keep adjusting the knobs according to the readings on the unit until it's in perfect tune. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":236,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"1ovv1","text":"Examples of chromatic tuners include the Planet Waves Universal Tuner, the Korg TM4, and the BOSS TU-3. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":104,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5d1ea","text":"Polyphonic Tuners ","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":18,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":18,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":18,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":18,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"6hpt4","text":"Polyphonic tuners are relatively new in the world of ukulele tuners. Instead of tuning your ukulele one string at a time, polyphonic tuners allow you to play your strings all at once to see which note is out of tune. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":217,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":217,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":217,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":217,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"2jmdu","text":"These tuners are preferred by musicians who want to tune their instruments as fast as possible without having to pluck the strings individually. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":145,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":145,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":145,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":145,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"euqan","text":"The first and most popular polyphonic tuner is the Polytune 2 by TC Electronic, which claims to have a +/- 0.1 cent accuracy.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":125,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":125,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":125,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":125,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"8l4s6","text":"Strobe Tuners ","type":"header-three","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"color-rgb(67,67,67)"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontsize-14pt"},{"offset":0,"length":14,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"7649k","text":"Strobe tuners are said to be the most accurate tuner found on the market. These types of tuners are what most pro-musicians and producers use to tune their instruments. They're significantly more expensive than the above-mentioned two, but users say they're worth the cost because their precision is as high as 1/10th of a cent. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":329,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":329,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":329,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":329,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5cqh9","text":"However, strobe tuners are sometimes too accurate and sensitive for certain types of playing conditions or tunes, so they don't give you much freedom of experimentation. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":170,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":170,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":170,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":170,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"1sruc","text":"These tuners are used the exact same way as chromatic tuners. Examples of strobe tuners include the Peterson StroboPlus Tuner and StroboStomp HD Strobe Tuner.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":158,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{}}

Final Thoughts

{"blocks":[{"key":"c9asn","text":"Tuning a ukulele follows the exact same process of tuning an acoustic guitar. If you're tuning your ukulele by ear, simply tune your strings until it sounds close to the corresponding note played on your tune reference. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":220,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":220,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":220,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":220,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"5aet3","text":"Electric tuners provide an easier and much faster tuning experience, making them suitable for both beginners and professionals alike. ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":134,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"eenbh","text":"Remember, at the end of the day, it's up to the ear of the beholder. Both methods are highly recommended.","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":105,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":105,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":105,"style":"fontsize-11pt"},{"offset":0,"length":105,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"}],"entityRanges":[],"data":{}},{"key":"44cgq","text":"Related: Talk to Someone Specializing in Music Lessons ","type":"unstyled","depth":0,"inlineStyleRanges":[{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"color-rgb(0,0,0)"},{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"bgcolor-transparent"},{"offset":0,"length":54,"style":"fontsize-medium"},{"offset":0,"length":9,"style":"fontfamily-Arial"},{"offset":0,"length":7,"style":"BOLD"},{"offset":9,"length":45,"style":"fontfamily-sans-serif"}],"entityRanges":[{"offset":9,"length":45,"key":0}],"data":{}}],"entityMap":{"0":{"type":"LINK","mutability":"MUTABLE","data":{"url":"https://sidetrain.com/categories/Music-Lessons","targetOption":"_self"}}}}