One of the essential skills that you must develop as you learn to play the Ukulele is to be able to tune it effectively. A badly-tuned Uke will always sound poorly, no matter how proficient you are with strumming patterns. You have several options to choose from:
Using an App
The Internet offers a wide range of Ukulele tuners, which usually come in two flavours: either you need to play a virtual Ukulele and then try to make your actual Uke reach the ideal note sounds by turning your Uke’s pegs; or you install an app on your computer/smartphone and then the app (which is sensitive enough to pick up your strings’ sounds) guides you as you move your pegs around, until you reach the notes that you want. These apps are usually free or cheap and somewhat reliable but don’t expect them to be totally accurate.
Using a clip-on Tuner
A slightly more expensive, but also more reliable tool to tune your Uke would be a clip-on Tuner. These are small electronic devices that we attach onto our Ukulele’s head. When we pluck the strings, these little devices are able to analyze the corresponding trepidation, and automatically show us which note is being played. They also come with the added benefit that you can use them even in crowded pubs (even around other players), because the tuners only pick up the sounds of the instrument where they’ve been placed on.
Tuning by Ear
Some purists will say that if you want to become a Ukulele player this is the only real way of tuning a Ukulele. After all, it’s what every Uke player did, back in the old days, before technology came around. The truth is that you don’t really need to know how to tune by ear, as long as you have easy access to other resources that can help you out. Yet, no one can deny how practical and empowering it feels being able to tune our Uke by ear! This skill isn’t an easy one to master, but it is possible! A good practice tip is to pick your previously tuned Ukulele, playing each note slowly and focusing on truly listening to the corresponding sound. Then, slowly start to move the tuning pegs around until you notice the change in the sound. Finally, try reversing the process until you get the perfectly tuned note once again. Do this often with every note, and you’ll be amazed with the improvement of your ear-tuning skills!