How to Tune Ukulele – 4 Methods – Free Video

If you're ukulele is not in tune, you can't play your ukulele!

Here are four sure-fire methods to help you get tuned up so you can get to playing the songs you love.

  • ELECTRONIC TUNER

  • DESERT ISLAND

  • BY EAR

  • SNEAKY TRICKS

How to Tune Ukulele with an ELECTRONIC TUNER (clip-on tuner)

Please, friends -- trust your old pal Danno -- go and buy yourself one of these amazing little electronic tuners.

It will make your ukulele tuning easier, more accurate, and more enjoyable.

We're going to explore multiple ways to get in tune, but the electronic clip-in tuner is a marvel of the modern age, and it is BY FAR the best method for tuning up.

One of the easiest ways to tune your ukulele is to buy a good electronic tuner--they're available for about $10, which is just an amazing price for the convenience and reliability.

In the video, I use another brand, but I've grown quite fond of this one (from Amazon), but just about any model will help you get your uke in tune and keep it in tune.

Unlike tuning your ukulele by ear, you don't have to rely on your own ability to compare notes. Instead, you get visual feedback from the device that actually tells you when you're right!

An Important First Step

All tuning methods rely on you knowing the names of the strings, the order of the strings, and understanding what "in tune" sounds like.

Please take a minute to watch this "basics" video -- it will make everything else make sense, and help you tune your ukulele properly, even if you're using an a clip-on tuner.

Video: How to Use an Electronic Tuner for Ukulele


A few "secrets" about tuning your uke with an electronic tuner:

  1. Most electronic tuners have a switch for "mic" (or microphone) mode vs. "vib" (or vibrate) mode. In my experience, the vibrate is more effective. Plus you can tune in a noisy room without the extraneous sound giving you a false reading on the tuner screen.
  2. Most electronic tuners have a way to set the "standard." Don't worry about what it means, just makes sure it's set to 440, and then don't mess with it!
  3. The tuner is smart but dumb. It doesn't know which note you're aiming for, it only knows which note you're close to as you adjust the string. In other words, if your E string is way too low, the screen might flash and change colors to alert you that you're exactly on for the note D (one full step too low). It doesn't know that you need an E, it just gets excited that you're right on any note. You've got to use your own brain to know which note you're actually aiming for!
  4. Don't forget sharps and flats. These are the notes of the scale halfway between the main notes. So between C and D, for example, is C-sharp. (A sharp symbol is like a hashtag, and a flat is like a little lowercase letter b). -- These can throw you off, if you think you've got a perfect C tuned up, but don't notice the little sharp symbol. If you've tuned "perfectly" but it still sounds wrong, double-check that you haven't tuned a half-step off without noticing!

Uke tuning tip:

Every single time you pick up your ukulele, run your fingers across the strings and LISTEN.

Does it sound right? Or does it sound wrong?

It won't take long for you to start to quickly spot the difference and quickly make the adjustments you need. You might surprise yourself and start make corrections without any outside source for comparison--your ears will simply know!

Who knew?

Who knew there was so much to think about, just getting a uke in tune!