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Baritone Ukulele Tuning

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Baritone Ukulele Tuning
Electronic Baritone Ukulele Tuner

With all of today’s modern technology, baritone ukulele tuning is easier than ever. Back in the day, in order to tune a baritone ukulele, we had to have a piano or other reference from which to get the proper note. (Anyone remember tuning forks?)

Today there is a plethora of electronic help. Electronic tuners can be found online with iPhone or Android apps that can be used to easily tune a ukulele. Additionally, there are inexpensive stand-alone electronic tuners that will help to tune your baritone ukulele quickly and easily.

Although many of the iPhone and Android baritone ukulele tuning apps are free and easy to use, some ukulele players prefer to use electronic tuners, as they can be clamped to the headstock of the ukulele. This way the musician doesn’t have to bother with finding/unlocking their phone, etc. With time and some experimentation, you will find what works best for you.

Baritone Ukulele Tuning Basics

String Names and Numbers

Baritone ukulele strings are numbered from 1 to 4 from the bottom to the top, as referenced when correctly holding the baritone ukulele. The open strings for standard tuning of a baritone ukulele are indicated in the diagram below.

Baritone Ukulele String Names and Numbers
Baritone Ukulele String Numbers and Tuning

The 1st string is tuned to the E note.
The 2nd string is tuned to the B note.
The 3rd string is tuned to the G note.
The 4th string is tuned to the D note.

When tuning each string, use the string’s tuning peg to tighten, or loosen the string. Tightening the string will cause the tone, or pitch, of the string to go higher. Loosening the string will decrease the tone. It usually takes very little movement to get the string in tune, so don’t over-do it.


Baritone Ukulele Tuning with an Electronic Tuner

Electronic Tuner Example
Electronic Tuner Example

Turn on the electronic tuner or launch the baritone ukulele tuning app on your phone.
Make sure there is no background noise that might confuse the tuner.
Pluck the string you want to tune. The tuner or phone app will usually have some kind of indicator tell you whether to tighten or loosen the string.

The electronic tuner will have some type of indicator telling you if the note is sharp or flat. (See the image to the left). Slowly turn the tuning peg for the string until the indicator lines up with note corresponding to the string.
Repeat the process for each string.

There may be a time that the ukulele is so out of tune, that the tuner gets confused as to what note, or string, you are attempting to play. Verify you’re tuning the correct string to the correct note while tuning.

Baritone Ukulele Tuning without a Tuner

Modern technology is great and all – but sometimes it might be unavailable. Plus, it’s just good practice to learn how to tune a ukulele without a tuner. If you have another instrument to use as a reference, you can play the corresponding note from that instrument to tune your ukulele. If another instrument is not available you can still tune your Ukulele, but you’ll have to use your ears!

Play the “D”, or 4th string. If it sounds sharp or flat adjust the tuning peg until you’re comfortable with how it sounds.

Now play the fifth fret of the “D” string, this is the G note. The G note should sound the same as the open G string, or 3rd string. Adjust the open string if it is not the same as the fretted note.

Now play the 4th fret of the G string. This is the B note. The B note should sound the same as the open 2nd string. Adjust the open string if it is not the same as the fretted note.

Now play the 5th fret of the B, or 2nd, string. This is the E note. The E note should sound the same as the open 1st string. Adjust the open string if it is not the same as the fretted note.

Learning to tune by ear, or with a tuner, takes some practice. So keep at it. Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes!


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