Many educational resources for the ukulele show you a spooky diagram with a bunch of arrows and circles and numbers as their explanation for how to tune a ukulele. We're going to hold those diagrams back for later, because there a few things the people who show you these charts assume you already understand about tuning a ukulele, which you may not already understand:
- Which tuning peg tunes which string
- Which way do you turn the peg to make the string higher, or lower
- How do you even tell if the string needs to be tuned higher or lower
- How do you know when you're done
You may have noticed the Ukulele Tuner at the top of every page at UkeSchool.com. It is a series of 4 little buttons, labelled G C E A. These are the names of each of the strings on your ukulele. Not only is the Ukulele Tuner a quick convenient way to get your ukulele perfectly in tune any time you are studying at UkeSchool, but it allows us to construct this, our first ukulele lesson, in a way that focusses entirely on the four points listed above. You will be able to understand these points, and to hear what your ukulele is supposed to sound like, before you start having to decode those hideous diagrams with the circles and the arrows (which you will have to do eventually, just not on your first day!)
Click on the play button below to compare and contrast between a uke that is in tune, and one that is a little bit out. I tuned one string a wee bit up and one a wee bit down to get this effect. Ouch!
* - I could carry on and on about the importance of tuning your ukulele. If you're going to learn to play a ukulele, you simply have to learn how to tune it.
I've met so many people who've spent so much time learning to play a musical instrument, and because they 'cut the corner' of learning to tune their instrument properly, they continue to sound bad. They blame the instrument, they blame the laws of physics, and I relish the malicious act of taking their instrument, tuning it properly, and handing it back to them. They all feel like they got a new thousand-dollar instrument, grew a solid new voice, but not all will accept that if they only learned to tune, they could have that feeling every time they play. PLEASE learn how to tune your ukulele. Being able to play three chords on a tuned instrument is far preferable to playing 326 chords out of tune. I said I could carry on and on and ON, but I will limit myself to this one paragraph, and the phrase - You cannot sound good if you cannot or do not tune.