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

June 2, 2023

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

Close up of a curly haired woman playing the ukulele OR Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

One of the first things you need to learn when taking ukulele lessons is how to tune a ukulele. Basic ukulele tuning is a must if you want it to sound good, and is pretty standard once you get the hang of it. After all, the songs you want to play won’t sound right if your ukulele is not properly in tune. So how do you tune ukulele strings? Is there a specific ukulele tuner? We’re glad you asked. 

In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on beginner ukulele tuning, whether you are looking to learn how to tune a ukulele without a tuner, by ear, or with a tuner or ukulele tuning app. Tuning your instrument may seem tricky at first, but it’ll become second nature once you get the hang of it. 

This guide will teach you how to tune a ukulele to standard tuning and how to tune tenor, soprano, and bass ukuleles. Because there are so many ways to learn to tune your ukulele for the best sound quality of your notes, we suggest trying out all of the options to determine which method you gravitate toward most. As long as your ukulele is in tune, there is no right or wrong way to go about it.

If you’re looking for something specific, you can jump around throughout the guide here:

What Notes are the 4 Strings on a Ukulele?

A standard ukulele has four strings: G, C, E, and A.

  • The G string is the bottom string and is tuned to a higher pitch than the others. 
  • The C string is the next highest-pitched string. 
  • The E string is the third-highest pitched string. 
  • The A string is the top-most and highest pitched string of a standard ukulele.

Ready to learn more about how to know if your ukulele is tuned? Sign up for ukulele lessons! Not only will you master everything you need to know about tuning a ukulele, but you’ll learn other helpful skills like what you see in the video below, too: 

How Do You Tune a Ukulele for the First Time?

If you know nothing about tuning a stringed instrument, check out this video on how to tune a guitar from world-famous guitarist and songwriter James Taylor. This video covers a lot of details about tuning in general, and you can apply the same principles to tuning a ukulele.

But before jumping into our guide on how to tune a ukulele, let’s first discuss some dos and don’ts:

  • Do get acquainted with the names of the strings and the way they should sound.
  • Do tune your ukulele every time you play it.
  • Don’t worry if you have to tune your ukulele after playing each song–this is normal as the strings stretch.
  • Do remember; turning the pegs clockwise will loosen the strings, while turning them counter-clockwise will tighten them.
  • Don’t store your ukulele in places where the temperature or humidity drastically fluctuates.
  • Do gently stretch your ukulele strings to warm them up.
  • Don’t forget to change your strings when they begin to sound “dead.”
  • Do gently wipe down your strings each time after playing.

Standard Ukulele Tuning

So how should I tune my ukulele? The ukulele strings tuning notes are typically G, C, E, and A. This has been the “standard” since the advent of the internet. Before the internet, you could find people who tune their ukulele to A, D, F#, B, or even fiddle tunings like A, D, A, D or G, C, D, G.

Ukulele Tuning for Beginners

How to Tune a Ukulele Without a Tuner: Use a Piano

If you’re wondering