Tuning a New Ukulele

Tuning a New Ukulele

Picture this: you've just unwrapped a brand new ukulele, and all you want to do is play it. You form a C chord, give it a strum, and it sounds off. 

Truth be told, your ukulele has just endured quite the journey! From the warm warehouse to the chilly delivery truck, all the way to your doorstep. When an instrument made of wood endures changing temperatures, the wood expands and contracts with the changes. It is completely natural that the strings will stretch. As a result, your new ukulele may be very out of tune. 

For new players, tuning can be one of the hardest tasks. Uku wants to make it simple for you. Tuning is all about matching the sound that your string makes to a specific musical note. It involves slowly turning the pegs on your instrument.

Hold the neck of your ukulele in your left hand. The string names start with the string closest to your heart and go down towards your belly button: g-C-E-A. See below:tune ukulele


There are a few ways to tune your uke. Choose one below:

1) Use a clip on tuner 

Clip on tuners are the best bet for ease and accuracy. As they are touching the instrument, the vibration goes directly into the tuner for a clear reading. Hopefully you already grabbed the Uku Tuner from our store. If not, head on over now to check them out! 

2) Download a tuning app

If you didn't order a clip-on tuner, no worries. There are plenty of free apps out there that will do a great job. Just search "ukulele tuning app". Download it, set your phone close, and you are ready to tune!

3) Match with another ukulele

Maybe you don't have access to the app store or a clip-on tuner at the moment, but you have another instrument. If that instrument is in tune, try your best to match the sounds of your strings to those on that instrument. If you have a piano or guitar, matching the notes to those work great too!

If you are feeling a little lost, here are some tuning tips and tricks: 

What is Flat and Sharp?

When you use a clip-on tuner or app you will notice the light either leans to the left, right, or in the middle when you play a note. You want the light to be in the middle. If it is to the left, it is flat. A flat note means it is too low. If it is to the right, it is sharp. A sharp note means it is too high. 

Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey

The age old rhyme applies to more than screwdrivers! If your tuner indicates that your string is flat (too low) then it needs to be tighter and turned to the right. If the tuner indicates it is sharp (too high) it needs to be looser and turned to the left. 

The middle strings are lower

With most ukuleles, the strings do not go from low to high like a guitar or piano. In fact, the two strings in the middle are the lower notes (C-E) and the two strings on the outside are higher (g and A). Players switching over from another instrument may find this misleading at first. Once you are used to it, you'll find that the string arrangement is part of what gives the ukuleles it's warm and colorful sound! 

Check out our Happy Helpful Guide to the Ukulele

In the Happy Helpful Guide, Step 3, there is much more information about tuning. Order it in our store, or watch Bernadette run through what you need to know in this how-to video: 


Once your ukulele is tuned, you'll be strumming chords and singing your favorite songs in no time! 

The post Tuning a New Ukulele was first published on Uku Ukuleles.

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