Can You Use a Guitar Tuner for a Ukulele?

use-a-guitar-tuner-for-a-ukulele

Tuning is one of the skills that you need to learn when it comes to owning any instrument. You would want your instrument to play as best as it could. If you own a Ukulele and need a tuner’s help to ensure it sounds its best, you might wonder, ‘can you use a guitar tuner for a Ukulele?’ Find out the answer here!

Definitely! You can use your guitar tuner for your Ukulele. A guitar tuner is made for guitars, and the Ukulele is part of the guitar family. There shouldn’t be any problem why you can’t use tuners for your Ukulele.

Here you will learn the different types of tuners you can and cannot use with a Ukulele, and you will also learn how to tune with a guitar tuner properly.

Tuning Your Ukulele with a Guitar Tuner: The 101

There are different types of tuners you can find on the market. Some of them work better than others. So, you must choose what you think is best for your Ukulele.

The following is a list of the different tuners you can use for your Ukulele. Also, it will list the tuners that you should stray away from.

What to Use for Your Ukulele Needs

Clip On Chromatic Tuners: The Best Option

As the name suggests, these tuners can be clipped on the head of your Ukulele. With this tuner, you can feel the vibration of the note you are playing. The tuner will work by assessing the sound vibration your Ukulele makes.

It can be used for any type of guitar and is the best tuner you can purchase. It is also not as expensive as the ones you see on the market. The best thing about this tuner is it can last for years or even decades. All you have to do is change the batteries once in a while.

Pedal Tuners: Only Good for Electric Ukulele

For pedal tuners, there is no need for microphones for them to work. All you have to do is plug it into your instrument, and it will do its thing. The only downside to this tuner is it’s not suitable for acoustic instruments.

This may not be the best option if you have no place for your tuner to be plugged into your instrument. You should be able to use this without any problem if you are using an electric Ukulele.

Chromatic Tuners: A Good Option for Your Ukulele

A chromatic tuner is a good option for your Ukulele. It is capable of listening to every note that you play. It can also indicate what note you are closest to. This tuner can tell whether your string is flat or sharp. It can assist you in comparing notes until you have reached your desired pitch.

What Not to Use for Your Ukulele Tuning Needs

Non-Chromatic Guitar Tuners: Not Specifically Designed for Guitars

The non-chromatic guitar tuner is not recommended when it comes to tuning your Ukulele. The role of this tuner is only to recognize what guitar string you’re playing. It will only let you know whether the string you’re playing is high or low.

These tuners are designed to identify the notes of open strings and are not really beginner-friendly devices. Even if you are a pro at playing Ukulele, it’s still not recommended for tuning.

Tuning Your Ukulele: What You Should Do

The first thing you should learn when it comes to playing any instrument is tuning. Once you get the hang of tuning, it can come easy. The following section will show you how you can properly tune your Ukulele.

Tuning The Ukulele With an Electric Tuner

Tuning your Ukulele with an electric tuner is the best method. It is the simple and sure-fire way to ensure your Ukulele is playing at its best. There are three types of electronic tuners that you can choose from: app tuners, clip-on, and pedal tuners, all of which are explained above.

A clip tuner will be placed on the head of the instrument or can be directly plugged into your electric Ukulele.

You can use your phone or listening tuner and place it close to the sound hole. Once you’ve done this, it can pick up strong sounds. Most of the time, electronic tuners are universal, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

To start, pick a string that is not displayed on your tuner. The needle will then float right or left. If it floats to the left, the pitch should be higher. You need to tighten your strings to get the right pitch.

When the needle floats to the right, the note is sharp, and it should be lowered. So, you would need to loosen the strings on your Ukulele. You are good to go when the needle is in the middle. It means your instrument is in tune.

Tuning G-String

To tune your G-string:

  1. Pluck the string that is closest to you.
  2. Look at your tuner and see if it says G. If it does, you are close to the right note.
  3. Adjust the tuning peg and keep a close eye on the indicator needle.

Your goal is to have the needle in the middle.

If your tuner says anything other than G, you must determine whether the note is higher or lower. The chromatic scale usually radiates outward when the note sits in the middle. Your goal, no matter what, is to select the center.

There are times that you would encounter that your Ukulele is really off. So you need to tune it through different notes before you get to G. If you see the following notes, then you would have to tune the instrument up.

  • D
  • D#
  • Eb
  • E
  • F
  • F#
  • Gb

Now, if you see this sequence of notes, you would need to tune your Ukulele down.

  • G# or Ab
  • A
  • A#
  • B
  • B
  • C

Remember that tuning will be the hardest part of learning how to play the Ukulele. It will take some patience and practice to perfect. Make sure you take care of how you tighten the strings while tuning.

You might end up tuning it higher than it needs to be, and it can also snap, which can be pretty painful for your hand. If this happens, you won’t be able to reattach it, and you will need to purchase new strings.

Ensure to use your judgment. If you think the strings are too tight, tune it downwards until you get the note you’re aiming for. Detuning is never a bad thing, and it’s part of the tuning process.

Tuning the C-String

Now, tuning the C-string is almost the same as tuning the G. The only difference is the surrounding notes. Once you are on C, follow the needle on the tuner until it goes in the middle.

When you see the sequence of notes like this, tune your Ukulele up:

  • G
  • Ab or G#
  • A
  • A# or Bb
  • B

When you see the sequence of notes like this, tune your Ukulele down:

  • C# or Db
  • D
  • D# or Eb
  • E
  • F

Tuning E-String

Tuning E-string is also similar to G and E. In this step, you would reach around the underside of your Ukulele. However, you must be careful about how and where you would turn the peg.

When you see the following notes, tune your Ukulele up:

  • B
  • C
  • C# or Db
  • D
  • D# or Eb

When you see the sequence of notes like this, tune your Ukulele down:

  • F
  • F# or Gb
  • G
  • G# or Ab
  • A

Tuning A-String

The very last string that you would need to tune is the A-string. It has the same idea as the one above. So, when you see the sequence of notes like this, tune your Ukulele up:

  • E
  • F
  • F# or Gb
  • G
  • G# or Ab

When you see the sequence of notes like this, tune your Ukulele down:

  • A# or Gb
  • B
  • C
  • C# or Db

Conclusion

Tuning is not as hard; you just have to get used to it. As long as you have the right guitar tuner in your belt, you can easily tune your Ukulele to produce the best sound possible. Ensure that you follow what I’ve provided above so you can tune your Ukulele with a breeze. Happy tuning!

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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