How to Tune a Ukulele With a Korg Tuner

Updated April 17, 2017

Tuning an instrument is the first step in learning to play any instrument. Playing out of tune instruments will develop a lot of bad habits, not to mention annoying anyone in the vicinity. There are several methods for tuning string instruments. One of the most popular methods are electronic tuners. Electronic tuners ensure the a group of musicians will be in tune with each other, and they make tuning instruments is a noisy gig situation much easier. The Korg HA40 Hawaiian Tuner is designed specifically for instruments like the ukulele.

Turn the tuner on. There is an on/off switch on the tuner. There are also different options for using the tuner. A internal microphone picks up the pitch of the ukulele strings as you pluck them. The center of the display screened is marked 440, and there is a needle that moves back and forth. When the string is in tune the needle will be directly in the center on 440. If the needle is to the left of 440, the string is flat. If the needle is to the right of 440, the string is sharp. If the ukulele has a pickup, plug the ukulele directly into the Korg tuner. This will eliminate the problem of extraneous noise or interference. The tuner also features a sound mode. When the sound mode is turned on, the tuner provides the appropriate pitch for each string.

Tune each string with the tuner. The strings of the ukulele are tuned G, C, E and A. Start with the G string. Set the tuner to G. Loosen the string. It is always easier tuning up to pitch. Play the G string and look at the needle. Slowly tighten the string until the needle is aligned to 440. If the needle goes to the right, loosen the string.

Tune the third string next. Set the tuner to C. Repeat the process until all four strings are tuned. Turn the sound mode on, and double-check each string with the pitch produced by the tuner.

Check the ukulele tuning with itself. There are two reasons for this. Sometimes the intonation will be off. This means that each individual string may in tune but the strings are not in tune with each other. The second reason is learn to use your ear and not to rely completely on a electronic tuner. Press the G string down at the fifth fret. This is C. Play the G string and the open C string. Both strings should sound the same. Press the C string down at the fourth fret. Pluck the C string and the E string. They should sound the same. Press the E string down at the fifth fret. Play the E string and the A string. They should sound the same. Press the E string down at the third fret to play a G and check this with the G string. Make any adjustment as you go. Check the tuning with the tuner. Eventually your ear will discriminate between strings that are in tune, strings that are flat and strings that are sharp.

Play a few chords on the ukulele. This is the final test to check the tuning. Turn the power off on the tuner to save the battery.

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About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.