Step 1: Know the Name of Each String
To learn the name of each string, you must figure out what kind of ukulele you own. The popular types of ukuleles are tenor, concert, and soprano. The best part about these particular ukuleles is that their strings share the same names.
In the tenor, concert, and soprano ukuleles, the names starting from the 1st string (the string nearest to the floor) to the 4th string (the string nearest to you) are A, E, C, and G. This remains the same always, even though you play using a low G or a high G.
The string names for a baritone ukulele differ compared to the tenor, concert, and soprano. The string names from the 1st string (the string nearest to the floor) to the 4th string (the string closest to you) are E, B, G, and D. Our primary focus will be tuning the string of the tenor, concert, and soprano ukuleles for this article.
Step 2: Having a Tuner on You
You can tune a ukulele using two ways, either with a tuner or by your ear. As you progress further in your musical journey, you will want to start learning to tune by ear; until then, you can use a tuner which is a quick and convenient method.
We highly suggest getting a clip-on tuner for yourself. These tuners are very precise and tune your ukulele using the vibrations created by the strings. This comes in handy when you are trying to tune your instrument in noisy or crowded areas.
You need to know that not all free tuner apps are accurate. But, there is a free app on android and iOS called GuitarTuna that does an excellent job.
Step 3: Knowing When a Certain Note Is Flat or Sharp
A tuner will prove useless for you if you have no idea how to use it properly. If you want to learn how to use one correctly, you must learn the difference between a note in tune, flat or sharp. Flat notes need to be raised since they are too low. If a particular note is flat, the arrow on your tuner will start pointing towards the left.
Sharp notes need to be lowered since they are too high. If an individual note is sharp, the arrow on your tuner will start pointing towards the right. If your particular note is in tune, the tuner will start beeping, and its pointer will start aiming right at the center.
Step 4: Knowing the Direction in Which the Tuning Pegs Are Supposed to Be Turned
You must raise the pitch of note if you find that it is too low (flat). On the top of the headstock, for the third and fourth strings, you are supposed to rotate the tuning pegs in a counter-clockwise manner so that you can increase the pitch. Keep rotating it until you observe the tuning arrow moving towards the center of the tuner.
On the bottom of the headstock, you are supposed to rotate the tuning pegs in a clockwise manner for the first and second strings so that you can increase the pitch. Keep turning it until you observe the tuning arrow moving towards the center of the tuner.
Step 5: Tuning in the Correct Note
Players often commit errors in using their tuner and falsely think that their ukulele is in tune; however, the sound is still wrong. This typically occurs when the incorrect note is tuned.
As you turn the ‘A’ note, make sure that your tuner displays an ‘A’ on it. On some occasions, players will try tuning the first string and bring the arrow toward the center. However, the tuner’s display will show ‘B,’ ‘G,’ ‘A,’ or ‘Ab.’ If this occurs, you will falsely believe the ukulele is in tune, but in reality, it will sound off.
That is why you should always confirm which string you are tuning using the tuner’s display. As you adjust the ‘A’ string, check the tuner’s display for an ‘A.’ As you tune the ‘E’ string, check the tuner’s display for an ‘E.’ As you tune the ‘C’ string, check the tuner’s display for a ‘C.’ As you tune the ‘G’ string, check the tuner’s display for a ‘G.’
Tuning a Ukulele is not easy, but learning how to do it will enable you to understand your instrument better and make sure that your ukulele is in tune. We recommend that you use the GuitarTuna app before tuning by ear. Make sure to learn how to read music notes so that you would be able to play any song on your musical instrument with ease.