ANY tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the ukulele's construction supports the required string tension and a string is available . The manufacture or the builder of the ukulele would or should have this string tension information. The string manufacture typically has the tension information for their strings on their respective web sites.
There are three common tunings in popular use today, C, D and G tuning — with C tuning being the most popular.
Re-entrant Ukulele Tuning?
If coming from the guitar world where the strings, tuned low to high, is often called a linear tuning. An instrument like the ukulele with a higher pitched string four is called a re-entrant tuning where the lowest note of the instrument might not be the lowest string. This can seem a little strange at first. The re-entrant tuning, places all the notes of a chord within one octave, is part of the unique ukulele sound. This tuning is especially common for the smaller soprano and concert ukuleles.
Tuning is one of the aspects of the ukulele that gives it its charm. Or, it's a plot by builders and manufacture to have you buy more ukuleles.
For C Tuning ( g C E A ) the above fretted notes are ALL the exact same pitch (A 440 Hz ) when using the re-entrant, "high G" tuning. And when using a low G string, the A 220 Hz on the string four is one octave lower than the others.
To tune the ukulele relative to itself, compare the fretted notes on string four ( closest to your nose ) fret(2), string three (fret 9), and string two (fret 5) to the open string one. Tune up or down to the match this open string one's note.
No Excuse For Being Out of Tune
In this electronic age where you can ask, "Who doesn't make a clip on tuner?". Simply get an electronic tuner or download an app to your smart phone and get in tune.
Web Sites for Tuning Up
Software and iPhone/iPad apps
Here are a few of the software tuners I've used. - The Peterson iStroboSoft is the software tuner I currently use on mu iPhone.
- iStroboSoft - by Peterson Tuners - ( Ed. The most accurate tuners on the market. I use Peterson tuners for all my repair work and live. )
- Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner
- GuitarToolkit - Agile Partners
- PolyTune - TC Electronic
- or - just buy an electronic tuner and get in-tune quickly and accurate.
It is a also good to actually learn to tune by ear. If your ever stranded on a desert island and are without your tuner or have it with you and the battery dies. You need to learn how to tune the uke to itself!!!
The Planet Waves, NS Micro Headstock Tuner is my favorite tuner. I have it on all my performance ukuleles. As well as the new Peterson StroboClip HD. I really have grown to like strobe tuners.
At our family music store, Funky Frets in Boyertown, PA USA we carry a lot of clip-on tuners and the one I carry with me all the time is either the Fender FT-004 or Ko'olau's O'ahu Chromatic Tuner. I clip one on in the morning at home as part of my `Ukulele uniform for the day. The repair and setup bench always has a Peterson Strobe Tuner fired up.
The Micro Headstock Tuners are the go to to tuners that I use on all my ukes. — Curt
For more detailed tuning I use the Peterson Strobe Tuners . — Curt
In 1994, Howard and Robert Silagy started a small guitar strap company in Hicksville, N.Y. Their approach to business was simple: make attractive, durable straps using high-quality materials and people will buy them. Over the next four years, the company grew, with sales skyrocketing because of the growing popularity of Planet Waves colorful, attractive designs and the line's thick, heavy-duty leather tabs.
Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc.
In 1948, 10 years after the invention of the strobe tuner, Chicago-based Peterson Electro-Musical Products began building instrument tuners under the direction of Dick Peterson, a pioneer of solid state electronics. The first Peterson tuner was the Model 150 in 1952. This was updated to become the Model 200 in 1959 and the design was advanced to solid state with the Model 300 in 1966.
Pono instruments are professionally designed and handcrafted by the Ko'olau Guitar and `Ukulele Company and on the Island of Java , with final adjustments and set-up on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.
Here is what the Kitakis familay says about a Pono vs. their higher end Ko'olau, and I whole heartily agree.
". . . And our Pono workers have the same meticulous and conscientious attitude that we have in Hawaii. We consider our Pono and Ko'olau ukuleles similar to the duo level auto makers such as Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity, and Honda/Acura. Both are made by the same manufacturer, but made in various locations around the world, and both are very high quality."
> I've owned five or six Pono ukuleles in the past before I got my first Ko'olau and we opened our Funky Frets music store. These are amazing instruments for the cost. - Curt Sheller
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC)
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) is the world’s leading guitar manufacturer, and its name has become synonymous with all things rock ‘n’ roll. Iconic Fender® instruments such as the Telecaster®, Stratocaster®, Precision Bass® and Jazz Bass® guitars are known worldwide as the instruments that started the rock revolution, and they continue to be highly prized by today’s musicians and collectors.
Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc.
Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc. is a music-electronics company founded by Richard H. Peterson in 1948. The Peterson company introduced the first commercial hand held electronic tuner for musicians, the Model 70, in 1964, and later its models of strobe tuners became popular among touring and studio musicians such as the Grateful Dead, The Who, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, and Neil Young. Since its inception the company has also contributed notable inventions and innovations to the electronic organ, and its products are in use in many thousands of pipe organs, and hundreds of thousands of electronic organs, worldwide.
Peterson StroboClip HD Clip-On Tuner
Clip-on tuner for guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, dobro, brass and woodwind instruments, violin, steel guitar, bagpipes, and more.
The StroboClip HD (SC-HD) features a high-definition, real-time tuning display that delivers 1/10th cent (1/1000th of a semitone or fret) tuning accuracy. It comes complete with alternate temperaments for a vast array of string, brass, and wind instruments. Over 50 exclusive, preset Sweetened Tunings are onboard to help correct inherent tuning issues exhibited by many instruments. Designed and engineered by Peterson Strobe Tuners - pioneers in the field of tuning and metronome equipment.
Peterson StroboPlus HD Desktop Strobe Tuner
Desktop strobe tuner for guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, dobro, Buzz Feiten, brass and woodwind instruments, violin, steel guitar, pedal steel, bagpipes, and more.
Charge up this large-screen chromatic StroboPlus HD tuner (with over 90 Sweetened tunings) and use the built-in microphone or ¼” input to plug in and tune it’s that simple! Edit with software to customize this tuner to be precisely what you want it to be!
Peterson StroboStomp HD
Pedal strobe tuner with true-bypass operation and buffered output tuning modes for guitar, bass, Buzz Feiten, steel guitar, pedal steel, and more.
The StroboStomp HD boasts a high-definition, LCD screen that incorporates a variable color LED backlight. The user-selectable colors can be used to personalize the tuner or to increase display viewing quality in different levels of ambient lighting depending on the usage environment. The vibrant screen colors can also be assigned to stock or user presets to significantly reduce menu navigation time and increase on-stage tuning confidence at the gig.