There are wide range of small, affordable, electronic tuners available today, but what if you find yourself without one and you still need to get that uke in tune? What then? Never fear! There’s a clever way to tune up your uke without the need for having perfect-pitch. It’s called relative tuning and it’s pretty easy. Here’s what to do.
1. Choose one of the string on your uke to which you will tune the three other strings. You can use any of them, but I personally like the C string to start, so let’s start there. Make sure the C-string is not completely out of tune (really low or high). As long as it has a medium amount of tension in it, you should be fine. By the way, this method of tuning just tunes the uke to itself, so if you’re going to play with other instruments, you’ll need to tune to them. If you’re just jamming by yourself, this will work fine.
2. With the C string as your starting point (base pitch), place your finger on the G-string on the fifth fret. (The G-string is the top string). Pluck it and tune it until it matches the C string. (You’re playing a ‘C’ on the G-string.) If you’re using standard uke tuning, the strings will be an octave apart, but that’s OK.
3. Next: Place a finger on the C string at the fourth fret and tune the E string until it matches.
4. Once the E string is in tune, place a finger on the E string at the fifth fret and match the A string to it. You’re done! Easy.
Here’s a video clip from the PLAY UKULELE DVD that shows you how. Enjoy!