Ukulele String Notes: Your Guide on How to Tune


If you’re new to playing the ukulele, or even if you’ve been playing for awhile, you may be wondering what notes correspond to the strings on your instrument. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of standard ukulele tuning, as well as some tips on how to tune your ukulele using a variety of different methods.

Standard Ukulele Tuning

The most common ukulele tuning is known as “standard tuning.” This tuning is common for soprano ukuleles, concert ukuleles, and tenor ukuleles. The ukulele string names are G C E A. In standard tuning, the strings are tuned to the following notes with open strings (that means not pressing a fret):

– The fourth string (also known as the “G string”) is tuned to G.

– The third string (also known as the “C string”) is tuned to C.

– The second string (also known as the “E string”) is tuned to E.

– The first string (also known as the “A string”) is tuned to A.

Tune Ukulele

Most ukuleles that you buy at the store use re-entrant tuning, which is the most standard ukulele tuning. Re-entrant tuning is a type of musical tuning in which the strings are not all ordered from the lowest pitch to the highest pitch. Most common re-entrant tunings have only one re-entry. This type of tuning is often used on stringed instruments, such as ukuleles, and mandolins.

If you listen to the notes on a guitar, you’ll notice that the string closest to your head is the lowest, and that all of the strings go in order of lowest to highest pitch.

On a ukulele, you’ll notice that the third string, the C string, is the lowest string. That is what we call reentrant tuning.

If you’re new to playing ukulele, standard tuning is a great place to start. Once you’re comfortable with standard tuning, you can experiment with different tunings to find the one that’s right for you.

Tuning Your Ukulele

There are a few different ways that you can tune your ukulele. One popular method is to use a chromatic tuner. Chromatic tuners are devices that measure the pitch of the string and tell you whether it needs to be raised or lowered. It can be used to tune to any note on the chromatic scale (on the half step, like C, C#, D, etc), so you need to know which notes your instrument has. This is useful for alternate tunings.

You can also use a ukulele tuner, which is similar to a chromatic tuner but only shows the notes GCEA.

You can also use an app that is on your phone to tune. I use GuitarTuna which is a free app. It has a ukulele setting.

Another popular method for tuning ukuleles is by ear. This method is best for experienced ukulele players who are comfortable with matching pitches.

Ukulele String Notes GCEA
Ukulele String Notes GCEA. Illustration by Karen Chow.

To tune your ukulele by ear, start by plucking the 4th string (the G string) and putting your left hand finger on the 5th fret to make a C note. Then, pluck the third string (the C string) and adjust the tuning peg until it matches the pitch of the fourth string. Repeat this process with the second string (the E string) and the first string (the A string). For the E string, play the third string (the C string), and press the 4th fret to make an E string, and match the notes. For the first string (the A string), press the 5th fret on the E string to make an A note, and match the A string to the E string playing an A note.

Photo by Isabela Kronemberger on Unsplash

Once all of the strings are in tune, you’re ready to start playing!

Alternate Ukulele Tunings

There are a variety of alternate tunings that you can use for your ukulele.

Low G Tuning

The most common alternate tuning is known as “low G tuning.” Low G tuning is when the G string on a ukulele is tuned down to a low G instead of the high G that it’s normally tuned to. This results in a fuller, deeper sound on the ukulele that some players prefer. Low G tuning can be especially useful for players who want to use more complex chords or play melodies in a lower register. If you’re new to low G tuning, it can take some time to get used to the different fingering positions required for chords and melodies. Because your ukulele is no longer re-entrant, the lowest note will be the fourth string instead of the third string. But once you get the hang of it, low G tuning can add a whole new dimension to your ukulele playing.

D Tuning

D tuning is a popular ukulele tuning that uses the notes aDF#B. This tuning is known as D tuning, because it raises the pitch of all the strings by one whole tone (two frets) and is used for playing in the key of D major, as it makes it easy to play chords and melodies in that key. This tuning also makes it easy to play scales and arpeggios in D major, making it a great choice for those who want to improve their instrumental skills. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced ukulele player, D tuning is definitely worth trying out.

Slack Key Tuning

Slack key tuning is a method of detuning certain strings in order to create a unique sound. This type of tuning is believed to have originated in Hawaii, and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Slack key tuning is usually done on the ukulele, but it can also be used on other instruments, such as the guitar. When slack key tuning is used on the ukulele, the last A string is detuned down to G. This creates a G-C-E-G tuning, which can be used to play chords and scales in the key of C. This type of tuning can produce a very mellow and relaxing sound, making it perfect for soothing background music. While it takes some practice to get used to playing in this tuning, it can be well worth the effort for those who enjoy exploring new sounds on their instrument.

Baritone Ukulele Tuning

The baritone ukulele is the largest member of the ukulele family, and it is tuned differently than its smaller brethren. The standard tuning for a baritone ukulele is D-G-B-E, which is the same as the top four strings on a guitar. This dgbe tuning gives the baritone ukulele a deep, rich sound that is perfect for strumming chords. However, because of its larger size, the baritone ukulele is also capable of producing a surprisingly full and powerful sound when played solo. Whether you are looking for a mellow background sound or a solo act that can fill a room, the versatile baritone ukulele is a great choice.

Baritone CGEA Tuning

The baritone ukulele is a DGBE tuned instrument. You can re-tune the baritone to GCEA by using a tuning fork, or you can use an online ukulele tuner. To re-tune the baritone, first tune the g-string to the note G on the tuning fork. Then, tune the c-string to the note C on the tuning fork. Next, tune the e-string to the note E on the tuning fork. Finally, tune the a-string to the note A on the tuning fork. The baritone ukulele is now in standard GCEA tuning. You can also use an online ukulele tuner to tune the baritone ukulele to GCEA. You will need to put on a different weight of strings to re-tune your baritone. My main instrument is a baritone tuned to a GCEA. I like it because it has the same chord shapes as a tenor GCEA, but it has a fuller and louder sound.

Experimenting with different tunings is a great way to find the sound that you’re looking for. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which tuning is best for your purposes.

Changing Ukulele Strings

If you want to change the strings on your ukulele, it’s important to know what kind of strings you need. Ukulele strings are available in a variety of materials, including nylon, fluorocarbon, and steel.

Nylon strings are the most common type of string for ukuleles, especially for the higher ukes like soprano ukes. They’re relatively inexpensive and they have a warm, mellow sound.

Fluorocarbon strings are also fairly common. They’re a bit more expensive than nylon strings, but they offer a brighter, clearer sound.

Steel strings are less common on ukuleles, but they’re sometimes used on instruments that are designed for a more guitar-like sound.

Once you’ve decided on the type of string you want to use, changing the strings is a relatively simple process. Start by loosening the tuning pegs so that the strings are loose. Then, remove the old strings and thread the new strings through the tuning pegs.

Once the new strings are in place, tighten the tuning pegs until the strings are in tune. You may need to use a chromatic tuner or an electronic tuner to help you get the strings in tune.


Knowing the notes that correspond to the strings on your ukulele is a helpful skill for any ukulele player. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to tune your instrument with ease and experiment with different tunings to find the sound that you’re looking for.

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