How To Tune A Ukulele – And Stretch Strings in Your Sleep

close up of ukulele
How to Tuna Ukulele

Learning how to tune a ukulele is the first curve in your kids’ ukulele journey. There’s two things that you must do to help kids get started.

  1. Learn to use the tuner that came with the uke.
  2. The new strings that come installed on your uke need to be stretched.

Using The Tuner

Electronic tuners make tuning so easy. The tuner clips on the ukulele’s headstock (the part with the tuning pegs sticking out of the sides).

Once the tuner is in place, turn it on. Then pluck the first string and watch the tuner’s display.

Most tuners have a rounded dial that lights up. You’ll see the name of the note and an indicator light. When the string is in tune, the light usually hits the exact middle of the arc, often with a green color.

Ukulele tuner

Just turn the tuning peg for the string you’re tuning to raise or lower the note until the tuner displays a perfect match.

The ukulele tuner will “listen” for these notes:

String 1G
String 2C
String 3E
String 4A

When you are holding the ukulele, String 1 is closest to the ceiling; String 4 is closest to the floor.

Ho to tune a ukulele

Let’s Start with Some Stretching

Stretching new strings is really important. If the new strings don’t get stretched out properly, the ukulele will not tune properly.

The string stretching is a three-step process:

  1. Tune the strings.
  2. Tug on them, pulling them away from the body of the ukulele.
  3. At first, the strings will slip out of tune. Tune them again

Repeat the process until the strings no longer slip.

Remember, the stretching is just for new strings. Once you’ve stretched out the slack out of the strings, your kids will just need to tune up the ukulele when they get ready to play, and as needed while they are playing.

Stretch Strings in Your Sleep

Busy Parents Tip from

Here’s a trick I learned from a guitar player friend.

When it’s time to put the ukulele away, tune the strings sharp, above the recommended pitch. Don’t go crazy, just tune them a little sharp.

Now when you and your kids are sleeping, the strings are stretching. Magic.

How to stretch ukulele strings in your sleep …

Need A Tuner?

Some ukulele makers are no longer including a tuner with uke bundles. Instead, they are giving away downloadable phone apps. While these work OK, fumbling around with a cellphone and holding onto a ukulele is an accident waiting to happen, especially for kids.

The clip on tuners are so much more convenient. Any parent will want their kids to have an easy to access tuning method. I mean, do you really want to hear an out of tune ukulele?

Need to get a tuner? This Snark ukulele tuner has a big, bright easy-to-read display. Click on the tuner to get it from Amazon.

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