how to tune a ukulele

How to tune a ukulele

The notes to tune your ukulele to are G, C, E A. The C is the lowest of them all.

You can remember that by thinking ‘Good Cooks Eat Anything’, ‘George Clooney Eats Apples’, Green Cats Enjoy Abrading, or think of your own swear words that make up a mnemonic you’ll remember.

Using a chromatic or ukulele clip-on tuner

I think this is the most accurate way of doing it. Clip-on tuners can feel the frequency vibrations of your strings, so, if we’re ever allowed to be in a room with other ukulele players, the clip-on will read only your ukulele.

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G C E A are the notes that the ukulele is tuned to. Scroll past this cringey video from the past.

Tuning the ukulele to a piano

The usual tuning of a ukulele is re-entrant. The notes are G C E A. C is middle C, and the others are the notes above middle C. That means that the lowest note is the C.

This will feel odd if you’ve not heard it before, as we grow up listening to the guitar, and the guitar strings (from knees to nose) get lower in pitch. Not so with the ukulele, which has what’s known as ‘re-entrant tuning’. Played ‘open’ (that means not pressing your fingers down on any strings) and strumming, these notes make either the chord of C6 or Am7.

Re-entrant tuning:
Standard ukulele tuning is known as ‘re-entrant tuning’, which means it re-enters the scale again on the G-string (da dum tss), so doesn’t move lower in pitch from knees to nose. This is true for different sizes of ukulele including (smallest to the largest size, more on size later) sopranino, soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles, which are all tuned in this way using these notes.

Tuning the ukulele by Ear, to itself

If you’re musically trained or pitch-perfect, you can tune the ukulele to itself.

Here are notes to match:
Fret 7 of the C string matches the G string (if it’s standard re-entrant tuning) and fret 4 matches the E string. Fret 3 of the E string should match the G string (if it’s standard re-entrant tuning) and fret 5 matches the A string. Fret 2 of the G-string matches the A string. Fret 3 of the A string is C which is an octave above the middle C.

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