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A Free Guide to Tuning your Ukulele and Changing Ukulele Strings.

Tuning Your Ukulele


by Christopher Carr / Ukulele Trading Co Australia, Ver 210923

Using a Tuner App:

  1. Install a Tuner App: Download and install a tuner app on your smartphone. There are many free and paid apps available on both Android and iOS platforms.

  2. Open the App: Launch the tuner app on your smartphone.

  3. Select the Ukulele Setting: Most tuner apps allow you to select the instrument you want to tune. Choose the "Ukulele" setting.

  4. Prepare Your Ukulele: Hold your ukulele in playing position and make sure it's in a quiet environment without any background noise.

  5. Pluck the Strings: Pluck one string at a time starting with the top (A) string. Let the tuner app listen to the sound.

  6. Follow the Display: The app will display the pitch of the string you plucked. It will indicate whether the string is too high (sharp) or too low (flat).

  7. Adjust the String: Use the tuning peg for the corresponding string to adjust the pitch. Turn it clockwise (tighten) if the pitch is flat or counterclockwise (loosen) if the pitch is sharp.

  8. Repeat for Each String: Go through the strings one by one (G, C, E, and A), plucking and adjusting each string until they are in tune.

  9. Check Your Tuning: After tuning all the strings, play some chords or notes to ensure the ukulele sounds good in different positions.

Using a Headstock Tuner:

  1. Attach the Tuner: Clip the headstock tuner onto the headstock of your ukulele. It should have a small display screen visible to you.

  2. Turn On the Tuner: Most headstock tuners have a power button. Turn it on.

  3. Prepare Your Ukulele: Ensure your ukulele is in a quiet environment without any background noise.

  4. Pluck the Strings: Pluck one string at a time, starting with the top (A) string.

  5. Read the Display: The tuner will display the pitch of the string and show whether it's too high (sharp) or too low (flat).

  6. Adjust the String: Use the tuning peg for the corresponding string to adjust the pitch. Turn it clockwise (tighten) if the pitch is flat or counterclockwise (loosen) if the pitch is sharp.

  7. Repeat for Each String: Go through the strings one by one (G, C, E, and A), plucking and adjusting each string until they are in tune.

  8. Check Your Tuning: After tuning all the strings, play some chords or notes to ensure the ukulele sounds good in different positions.

Remember to tune your ukulele regularly, especially if you're about to practice or perform, as changes in temperature and humidity can affect the tuning.

 

How often do you tune?notes on ukulele headstock

Tune before every playing session and check/adjust periodically during a session. The room temperature, humidity, and even the warmth of your hands and body will cause your ukulele’s strings and wooden body to move slightly. This alters the tension of the strings, and the tuning will change.

 

Hints on Tuning

  1. Use an online Tuner, this one is good. https://muted.io/chromatic-tuner/

  2. Download a Tuner App to your Phoneand use it to tune to the pitches in the table below. Any app that displays the frequency AND the notes will work fine.
  3. Digital Headstock Tuner: Always set your tuner to Chromatic Mode (Mode C). Do not use Mode U (Ukulele Mode). In Mode U, it will only register notes already close to G C E A. If your strings are too far away, e.g., G#, then the tuner will not be able to ascertain the pitch of the string. If you use Mode C (Chromatic Mode), the tuner will register any note.

New strings can take a couple of weeks to stretch and settle.

Some strings settle faster than others. Tuning pegs adjust the pitch by tightening or loosening the strings.

The ukulele strings are numbered 1st to 4th from the bottom, like building floors, with the 1st string (A) closest to your feet and the 4th string (G) nearest your head.

 

 REMEMBER THE RHYME:
G
eorge Clooney Eats Apples.
And for Baritones, it's  Do Good By Everyone.

 

Tuning / Frequency High G
Soprano/Concert/Tenor

G High     392 Hz

C             262 Hz

E             330 Hz

A             440 Hz

 

Tuning / Frequency Low G Soprano/Concert/Tenor

G Low      196 Hz

C              262 Hz

E              330 Hz

A              440 Hz

 

Tuning / Frequency
Baritone
D           147 Hz

G           196 Hz

B           247 Hz

E           330 Hz

 

The Chromatic Scale = The Musical Alphabet.

The word "chromatic" comes from the Greek word chroma, meaning Colour.  

The notes are a repeating pattern much like a spiral staircase,with every 12 notes equaling 1 octave.  The sharps and flats are the notes between the ‘natural’ notes. circle of notes

The Twelve notes of the Chromatic scale are


 A      A#/Bb      B      C      C#/Db      D      D#/Eb    E      F      F#/Gb      G      G#/Ab 

 

If your tuning sounds odd:

You may have tuned a string an octave too high or too low. If your string is very tight—much tighter than the other strings—stop: you have probably "missed" the correct note and tried to tune an octave above the correct note.

Slacken the string and start again. 

Or you may find that if the string is very loose, you may have tuned an octave below the correct pitch 

 

Or you may have tuned to a sharp note by mistake:


Be careful not to tune strings to a sharp note. Check your tuner closely.

You DO NOT want to see any Notes with a "#" symbol after them.

The C note and a C# note are two completely different notes, as are G# and G, and A# and A.

 

How to change your strings

  1. Set your instrument down on a nice, protected surface.

  2. Take off one string at a time. Take the tension off by tuning it down. When the tension is removed, you can unwind it from the tuner and untie it from the bridge.

  3. Clean out the Nut Slot of debris and ensure the bridge saddle is free of burrs.

  4. Clean the Fretboard and Frets and if available take the opportunity to hydrate the fingerboard with a little Lemon Oil or Raw Linseed oil – Just a little mind you, a drop per fret spacing.

  5. Tie the new string onto the bridge.
    Take one end and put it through the hole behind the bridge. Bring it back toward the fingerboard, making a small loop in the string. Put the end of the string through the loop two or three times. You can now pull the loop tight.
  6. bridge tie stringHow to Tie the Luthiers Knot at the Machine Head Pictures of Steps are Below.

  7. Align the Peg Hole approx. 90 Degrees to the Direction of The String.

  8. Put the string through the post hole.

  9. Wrap the Excess of the Strings Toward the Middle. No matter which side you’re doing. The excess of the strings always goes toward the centre of the headstock.

  10. Make a loop by wrapping it under the string, see Illustration Step 4 at right. NOTE that the G and C strings (the two on the left) wrap around the tuner post counterclockwise, while the two strings on the right (E and A) wrap clockwise.

  11. Put some tension on the string.

  12. IMPORTANT: ESPECIALLY AQUILA RED STRINGS AND
    HIGH C STRINGS,
    PLEASE TAKE NOTE TO FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE.
    Do not bring it all the way up to pitch—stop about one or two steps (notes) below the final pitch, giving the string time to get used to tension.
    I Bring the high C strings up to pitch over at least 24 hours when doing a restring on my 8-string ukulele.

  13. When done properly, the string should exit the bottom of the tuner post on its way to the nut. That way, you get a good break angle over the nut and will not get any buzzing.

  14. After all the strings are replaced, slowly bring them all up to pitch.

  15. Clip off the excess string at the tuning post.

  16. Stretch the strings out. The strings may take 7 days to stretch out completely and hold tune. 

    LUTHIERS KNOT

 

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