How does one grant his ukulele and what are the different tunings? Discover with this course how you should tune your ukulele for just notes and forge your ear!
Are there different tunings?
As for the guitar, you are free to tune your ukulele in any way according to your compositions. Nevertheless, two tunings really stand out and are the most used.
- The GCEA tuning typical of ukulele soprano.
- The GCMA for the tenor.
- DGBE tuning for ukulele baritone.
We must know that there are different forms of ukulele, ranging from small soprano, tahitian, concert, tenor to baritone. However, the tunings are similar. If you bought a ukulele in the trade, it is very likely that the latter is a soprano. It is the most widespread and small form that will therefore agree in GCEA.
What does GCEA and DGBE mean?
That is an excellent question. One letter is given per string. We read from left to right, going from the biggest rope to the finest rope. There are therefore 4 letters that will characterize the 4 notes of the 4 strings of your ukulele.
- The top one is the 4th string, a G.
- Below is the 3rd string, a C.
- Then the 2nd string as you guessed, an E.
To finish, the A will represent the note of the first string, the one that is down.
In reality, you are accustomed to hearing about the notes under the name of “la si do re mi mi sol”. This is our francophone notation. You can imagine that this is different in English. Each of the notes is represented by a simple letter of the alphabet “a b c d e f g”. Thus: the “la” is an “a”, the if a “b” and so on.
The GCEA tuning is therefore “sol do mi la”.
The notion of octave
There are notes that have the same name but sound louder or louder! This is called octaves. You can for example hear a “la” very high, but also another “la” very serious. This is called an octave. If the note is sharper, it is a higher octave. Otherwise, it is a lower octave.
Thus, in the notation “a b c d e f g”, you will find after the “g” a sequence of “a b c d e f g” even more acute and so on. There is a tendency to use numbers to categorize octaves. For example an E2, E3, E4. In this set, E2 is more severe than E3 or E4.
What is the name of the strings of a ukulele?
The ukulele is tuned in “G C E A”, so we will attribute to him this notion of octave to be much more precise. It’s rather simple, it will be 3 for these 4 notes. Thus, we have “G3 C3 E3 A3”. To give you an idea, a guitar is tuned in “E2 A2 D3 G3 B3 E4”. Hence the fact why the ukulele has a very light sound in bass!
How to tune my ukulele with a tuner?
First, you can influence the tension of the string with the mechanics or tuning keys that are present on the head of your ukulele. By turning the key, you can tighten the string and thus make the note sharper by rising to the upper octaves, or do the opposite by loosening the string. A tuning key corresponds to a single string.
There are different ways to tune your adorable little guitar with 4 strings. For this you can use:
- A tuning fork: a somewhat archaic way to tune your guitar from a sound … It’s hard for a beginner!
- You can take notes for reference, for example on a piano playing G3 C3 E3 and A3 and try to tune your guitar by bringing you closer to the sound. A little easier, but still very complex!
- You can use a chromatic tuner or “tuner”. It is absolutely perfect as a solution to begin or even for professionals. You play your string, the name of a note is displayed, you only have to navigate between the “a b c d e f g” of the different octaves. You will find our ukulele tuner online at the end of this article which will be of great help to you. Once the corresponding note is displayed, it will be enough to adjust to reveal a green light that will confirm that your rope is well tuned. One rope at a time!
You can very well tune a ukulele with a guitar tuner. He will do his job perfectly! Also, do not play the professional while trying to tune your ukulele to the ear. Even professionals use a studio tuner! Tune your ukulele every time you play so you can forge an ear right from your first notes.
Example to help you tune your ukulele
I want to give my first rope, in other words, I have to get an A3! Except when playing this string, the tuner shows me a B4! The note is therefore more acute than that expected.
I will therefore note my sequence of notes “a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 a4 b4 c4 ….”. The B4 is far, that means my rope is too tight. I will play the rope and relax the string by turning the corresponding mechanics to the rope on the head of my guitar. I will switch from “B4” to “A4”, then “G3”, “F3” and so on to B4. Once the B4 is displayed, I will try to turn on the green light to get the most perfect note possible!
Why You Should Play With a Right Ukulele
I insist on this: it is important to play with a well tuned ukulele! The sooner you take that reflex, the more you will have a fair ear. If you chord hundreds of chords with a false tuning, your brain will soak up this. It is a very difficult thing to remove afterwards. Thus, you will realize that you will come to sing perfectly.