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Common Ukulele Tunings

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the ukulele's construction supports it and a string is available.

Tuning

Yep! — You actually have to tune the uke. Remember you are always training your ear and want to ensure that your are sending and receiving quality musical information.

Yes! Tune Your Uke

Although the ukulele was tuned at the factory or custom builder. It, most likely needs it again and needs to be checked often.

Any Tuning Is Possible

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the ukulele's construction supports it 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 the most popular with popular variations for each.

Re-entrant Ukulele Tuning?

If coming from the guitar world where the strings, tuned low to high and often called a linear tuning. An instrument like the ukulele with a re-entrant tuning where the lowest note of the instrument might not be the lowest string can seem a little strange at first. Re-entrant tuning, which 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 give it its charm. Or, it's a plot to have you but more ukuleles.

four ukes

Here is a great article on tuning systems by Richard Sleigh.

Equal Temperament vs. Just Intonation – War of the Musical Worlds!

Check out Richard Sleigh's • War of the Musical Worlds! (Equal Temperament vs. Just Intonation) about these two tunings. This is the best explanation I've read on the difference and why you might want one vs. the other.

C Tuning • Hawai'ian Tuning

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the construction supports it and a string is available.

C Tuning is the most common tuning used today.

C Tuning, High "G"

C Tuning - For Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukulele. The same as the higher four strings of a standard tuned guitar with a capo at the fifth fret with string four "G" one octave higher.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: G = G3, C = C4, E = E4, A = A4
C4 is middle C.

For tweaking EQ in performance situations:
Frequency: G4 = 392.0 Hz, C4 = 261.6 Hz, E4 = 329.6 Hz, A4 = 440.0 Hz
C4 is middle C.

C Tuning, Low "G"

Low 'G', C Tuning - For Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukulele. Same as Key of "C" Tuning but with string four one octave lower. This is the same as placing a capo at the fifth fret of a standard tuned guitar.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: G = G3, C = C4, E = E4, A = A4
C4 is middle C.

For tweaking EQ in performance situations:
Frequency: G4 = 196.0 Hz, The rest is the same as the High "G" - C Tuning, C4 = 261.6 Hz, E4 = 329.6 Hz, A4 = 440.0 Hz
C4 is middle C.

TI-Classic-N

Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N Strings

Abe Lagrimas came through Funky Frets during his 2018 east coast tour for a concert and workshops, and I noticed a different C string when I played his Ko'olau CS tenor, the same model I play.

Abe was using a Thomastik-Infeld CF27 - 3rd string (g) .027 Chrome Steel Flat Wound string for his C string. It had great balance and didn't wear out as quick at the frets as a round would string typically does. I use a low G, so I got the CF27 for the C string three as well as a Thomastik-Infeld CF30 - 4th string (D) .030 Chrome Steel Flat Wound for a low G. I play a Ko'olau CS tenor as well and this string combination is great. I don't know why I didn't consider Thomastik-Infeld before, I've been using their guitar strings on my guitars for decades. A bit pricey, but given that you use less of them, over time it is well worth it.

TI-Classic-N

Curt's Long-time Current String Set(s)

C Tuning, Low G

The below string sets are what I'm currently using for my two Ko'olau CS Tenors in C tuning, Low G. For my Solid Koa Top, Tenor Fluke it prefers Ko'olau Golds or Manaha strings.

Available at

Ko'olau CS Tenor Tenor Ukulele Set

Curt's custom set is available at Funky Frets Music Store, Boyertown, PA USA and on the on-line store .

  • String 1Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK24 (.024in/62mm, 19.40lbs/8.80KG) tuned to A (A4)
  • String 1Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK27 (.027in/69mm, 14.55lbs/6.60KG) tuned to E (E4)
  • String 3Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF27 Chrome Steel Flat, .027, 039 (.027in/69mm, 14.20lbs/6.50KG) tuned to C (C4) a.k.a. Middle C
  • String 4Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF30 Chrome Steel Flat, .030, 039 (.030in/76mm, 14.70lbs/6.50KG) tuned to G (C3) a.k.a. Low G in the Uke world

Available at

Available at

Prior to 2022, Tenor Ukulele Set — Savarez Alliance Option

THis is still a great option, I only switched because of my access to TI strings and personal preference at this time.

  • String 1Savarez Alliance KF Plain Treble Standard Tension .024, 541R (.024in/62mm, 17.44lbs/7.9KG) tuned to A (A4)
  • String 2Savarez Alliance KF Plain Treble Standard Tension .027, 542R (.027in/62mm, 13.02lbs/5.9KG) tuned to E (E4)
  • String 3Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF27 Chrome Steel Flat, .027, 039 (.027in/69mm, 14.20lbs/6.50KG) tuned to C (C4) a.k.a. Middle C
  • String 4Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N CF30 Chrome Steel Flat, .030, 039 (.030in/76mm, 14.70lbs/6.50KG) tuned to G (C3) a.k.a. Low G in the Uke world

Available at

C Tuning, High G

This is the set that ( (Curt) currently recommend for tenor ukuleles. Strings are one area where different ukuleles might prefer different strings. A ukulele can be very opinionated as to the stings that it likes and brings out its best. Basically, your mileage might vary.

  • String 4Thomastik-Infeld Classic-N, Carbon Nylon Hybrid Material CPK24 (.024in/62mm, 19.40lbs/8.80KG) tuned to G (G4)

Strings one, two, and three are the same as the Low G, C Tuning sets above.

G Tuning • Baritone / Guitar Tuning

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the construction supports it and a string is available.

G Tuning is common on the Baritone ukulele and can also be used on a tenor ukulele with a high D string four.

All notation examples are show in concert pitch.

G Tuning

Key of "G" Tuning - For Baritone and Tenor ukulele. The same as the higher four strings of a standard tuned guitar. So you already know how to play the Baritone and Tenor Ukulele.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: D = D3, G = G4, B = B4, E = E5
C4 is middle C.

String 4 can also be tuned up one octave. A tuning that the great jazz ukulele player Lyle Ritz favors.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: D = D4, G = G4, B = B4, E = E5

C4 is middle C.

Different Ways to Tune a Baritone

Here is a cool video by Aaron Kiem about the various way to tune a baritone ukulele.

The tunings Aaron goes over are: D G B E, G C E A ("Low G), d G B E ("High" D), d G B D (Banjo Tuning)

D Tuning • European Tuning

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the construction supports it and a string is available.

D Tuning is a popular tuning in Canada, Europe and was popular is the previous two waves of ukulele popular.

D Tuning allows you to use open position chords in the common guitar, bluegrass, country, rock, folk keys of D G, and A.

All notation examples are show in concert pitch.

D Tuning, High "A"

"D" Tuning - For Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukulele. The same as the higher four strings of a standard tuned guitar with a capo at the seventh fret with string four "A" one octave higher.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: A = A3, D = D4, F# = F#4, A = B4
C4 is middle C.

D Tuning, Low "A"

Low 'A', D Tuning - For Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukulele. The same as the higher four strings of a standard tuned guitar with a capo at the seventh fret.

For setting up music notation programs like Finale and Sibelius this tuning is:
MIDI: A = A4, D = D4, F# = F#4, A = B4
C4 is middle C.

Alternate Tunings

Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the `ukulele's construction supports it and a string is available.

Here are the tuning recommendations of several prominent ukulele musicians:

Byron Yasui's recommended ukulele tunings:

  • Soprano - A D F# B
  • Concert (Alto) - G C E A
  • Tenor - F Bb D G
  • Baritone - Eb Ab C F

For more information on Byron Yasui • Byron Yasui's musician listing .

Joel Eckhaus's recommended ukulele tunings:

  • Soprano - A D F# B
  • Concert (Alto) - G C E A
  • Tenor - E A C# F#
  • Baritone - D G B E

For more information on Joel Eckhaus • Joel Eckhaus's musician listing .

Tune the Ukulele Like a Banjo

Tune string one down a whole step and you have a Banjo like tuning.

Tune the Ukulele Like Other Instruments

  • Mandolin

    The standard mandolin tuning is G D A E. Aquila has a set of strings available to tune your ukulele like a mandolin.

NOTE • Any tuning is possible on a ukulele as long as the ukulele's construction supports it and a string is available. The support part is the combined string tension on the ukulele's construction. All strings manufactures have the individual string tensions available. Remember the the strings length, the scale length of the instruments the tensions as well as the tuning.

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

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