Ukulele tuners are a handy gadget for people who play the ukulele. But do you know how many types of ukulele tuners are there? Tons! With so many options out there, it’s challenging to choose what to get. That’s where we come in.
Ukulele tuners are primarily of 2 types: Non-Chromatic and Chromatic. A non-chromatic tuner is set to standard tuning. But a chromatic tuner can catch any frequency and show how flat or sharp it is compared to the adjacent semitone. These tuners can be used to tune a ukulele to the desired tuning.
Here, we’ve gathered all the knowledge you’ll need to get a basic idea about the ukulele tuners. So let’s get right to it!
What is a Ukulele Tuner?
Stringed instruments tend to get distuned very often. So, they have to be checked regularly to see if they’re in tune.
A ukulele tuner is a device that can be used to tune a ukulele to your desired tuning. It senses the sound generated from the ukulele and differentiates it from the reference frequency, which is 440 Hz.
How Does A Ukulele Tuner Work?
The primary function of a tuner is the same for all stringed instruments. You just have to pick the strings one by one and compare them to the reference tuning and set it accordingly.
For tuning it to the standard tuning, first set the tuner close to the ukulele. Then pick the string that’s closest to you, which is the 4th string. See what note the display is showing. The 4th string should be G4 or G3.
Now turn the tuning pegs clockwise or anti-clockwise according to how the strings are tied to the body and tune it.
When the tuner shows the correct pitch, stop tuning and move to the following string, which is the 3rd string. The 3rd string should be tuned in C4. Apply the same method for this string as well.
Keep repeating the process until you get E4 in the 2nd string and A4 in the 1st string. After the whole process is done, you’ll have a ukulele fully tuned in the standard tuning in your hands.
Different Types of Tuners
Ukuleles are usually tuned in their standard tunings. It goes like this: G4-C4-E4-A4. So, the basic ukulele tuners can help you tune to this particular tuning easily.
But you might want to show your creativity or be adventurous in trying new and unique alternate tunings. If that’s the case, then you can go for comparatively expensive tuners known as chromatic tuners.
For beginners, non-chromatic tuners are the best choice as these are basic tuners that have default set tunings in them. So you just have to compare the tuning of your ukulele strings to the tuner and tighten or loosen it according to the information it gives you.
These are usually very cheap and are very common.
These are slightly expensive tuners as they can catch any frequency the strings make and show what pitch that is. However, chromatic tuners are incredibly flexible and helpful as they allow you to be more creative and experimental.
By using this type of tuner, you can effortlessly tune your strings to any kind of tuning that you desire.
Tuning With Other Instruments
If you’re playing with other musicians, such as a pianist or a guitarist, you can also take their help in tuning your ukulele.
If you’re with a keyboardist or a pianist, just ask them to play the notes you want to tune your ukulele in. Start from the 4th string. Tune it to G4. Then tune the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings according to the pitch of the standard tuning.
The same goes for the guitarist as well. Ask them to play the notes of the respectively and tune them accordingly. First, the 4th string and then go down one by one until all of them are tuned perfectly.
Relative tuning is just a fancy term for ‘tuning with your ears.’ It just means to tune one string of your ukulele by comparing it with the adjacent one.
Suppose you’re stuck in a situation with no tuner or other instruments to tune your ukulele with. In these times of inconvenience, your ears are your best friend.
See if you can identify any string which is in tune. Then, take it as the reference, and tune the other ones accordingly.
Suppose the 1st string is in tune, which is A4. So, we’ll take it as the reference point. Next, we’ll go to the 2nd string and hold the 5th fret of that string. That should be an A note. Now, see if it matches the pitch of the 1st string. If it sounds flat, try tightening it and if it’s sharp, then loosen it.
Repeat the same process for the rest of the strings.
Tuner Apps on Your Smartphone
Tuner apps are the best friends of any musician. You might forget to carry the tuner sometimes, but it’s highly unlikely that you forget to take your smartphone with you. It will be with you wherever you go.
You just have to install a tuner app on your smartphone, and whenever you need it, it will be there for you.
The process of tuning with a tuner app is the same as the hardware models. It just imitates the same functions of a physical tuner.
You have to keep it close enough to catch the frequency of the strings, and the pitch will pop up in the display. Then you just have to tune it however you like it.
So now as you know how many types of ukulele tuners are there, you can easily get a tuner that is the perfect match for your needs.
A clever piece of advice would be to download an app on your smartphone that works as a tuner. It’ll be of great help in cases of stage shows where you’ve forgotten to pack the tuner in a hurry. All the best with your next stage show!