Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned player, your ukulele won’t sound good if it’s out of tune. Unfortunately, not everyone can attain perfect pitch tuning by ear, but thanks to online ukulele tuners, you don’t have to! Let’s take a look at four of the most popular options.
If you’re looking for a simple, no-frills ukulele tuner that won’t overwhelm you with ads, alternate tuning options and other potentially confusing features, UkeTune fits the bill.
This easy-to-use application is set up for four-string standard tuning (GCEA) only.
The interface shows the four strings of a right-handed ukulele against the soundhole and saddle of the instrument. Each string is labeled with the appropriate tone, and to hear playback you simply need to click the desired string/note. (Click the note again to stop playback.)
While they haven’t numbered the strings 1-4 in the app, there is ample explanation of assigned string numbers and their position relative to the player, as well as notes on tuning technique. This application is also available for iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets.
This tuner from Ukulele Tricks features seven popular tuning options and the ability to toggle between ukulele and sine waves during playback. If you’re unfamiliar with sine waves, think of the constant (and sometimes annoying!) straight tone that accompanies a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System.
If that doesn’t sound pleasant, stick with the ukulele playback, but be sure to give both a try. Sometimes a straight tone can be helpful in tuning.
Even with the additional features, this is still one of the more simple-to-use online ukulele tuners. The application shows four notes (default is standard tuning). Under each note is an on/off switch—similar to those found on a guitar amplifier—that controls playback. At the bottom right, you’ll find the drop-down menu for tuning options, and to the left is the ukulele/sine save playback menu.
Ukulele Tricks also gives a basic explanation of how to use the tuner and some encouraging words on developing your ear over time. One great tip is to hum along with the tuner so your brain can start to register the different pitches and identify them later!
Part of the UkuWorld network, the UkuTuner offers a relatively easy way to “keep that thing in tune.” With this application, you’ll see three tuning options listed above the image of a ukulele head. Click on the desired tuning and the notes on the ukulele head will change accordingly. The three options include standard, a higher D tuning (ADF#B), and standard baritone tuning (DGBE).
Notes are listed outside of the corresponding tuning pegs, instead of horizontally along the corresponding strings. This may initially confuse beginners who have yet to memorize the notes of each string or which string connects to each tuning peg. However, the graphic does show the four strings, the nut, and the first few frets, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find your bearings.
To listen to each note, click the “play” button inside the tuning peg. Each tone will play five times if left unchecked, but there is an option to pause the note during playback. Click through to their tuning guide for a more in-depth explanation of tuning technique.
Online Ukulele Tuner
The online ukulele tuners featured at Get-Tuned.com are more complicated than the tuners discussed previously. Instead of offering standard tuning only or a few limited tuning selections, this tuner allows you select any note you want.
Where most tuners show four strings, each with a corresponding note, Get-Tuned.com instead shows a stack of colorful notes ascending in half-step intervals. If you were to draw a diagram of the neck of your ukulele and fill in the notes for each fret, it would look very much like this application.
To select individual notes on each string, just click the corresponding radio button. The chosen note will appear in a larger text at the bottom of the ‘string’ and you’ll see the playback button.
On the right side of the interface, you’ll find popular tuning presets and control panel that allows you to set playback volume, stop the sound, and toggle between sine wave and ukulele playback.
While this tuner is loaded with options that would be appreciated by an advanced user, it could overwhelm and confuse a beginner. It’s also a bit hard on the eyes thanks to the colors chosen for the background, text, and graphics.
Remember, tuning your instrument is the first step toward a performance you can be proud of. With these online ukulele tuners, you can give your instrument a reliable tune-up anywhere with Internet access.
But don’t stop with this list, explore the world of online ukulele tuners and find the application that works best for you. Ask your ukulele teacher for recommendations too!
For more information on how to tune a ukulele, check out this step-by-step guide.
Photo by Liz Quilty