"My new ukulele won't stay in tune."
One thing we hear often from new ukulele players is that their new ukulele won't stay in tune. They tune it up, only to have it fall out of tune a few minutes later. Before you panic and buyers remorse sets in, keep in mind that...
You may just need to stretch your strings
Think of it as your ukulele needing to warm up. Just like singers have to warm up their vocal chords, ukuleles have to "warm up" and stretch their strings. This process is easy and you should definitely try it out before giving up and returning your ukulele!
Check out the video and directions below to learn how to stretch your ukulele strings.
How to Stretch Ukulele Strings
Step 1: Tune your ukulele
Use a ukulele tuner to get all of the strings in tune.
Step 2: Stretch each string
Pull each string firmly but gently, either from side to side as shown in the video above, or up and away from the ukulele as shown in the picture below. You should be moving the string no more than half an inch away from it's normal location. Most ukulele strings have a decent amount of "stretch," but you don't want to be so forceful that you pop one!
Step 3: Tune it again
Tune your ukulele again, and then repeat the stretching process. After several rounds of string stretching, you should notice that your ukulele will start to hold its tune for longer periods of time. Depending on how often you play, it could take a few days up to a few weeks for your new strings to get settled in.
So that's it!
Keep in mind that you should also go through this process any time you put new strings on your ukulele, not just when you first purchase it. And, if you leave your ukulele untouched for a period of time (which, we hope you don't), it will also need to be tuned before you play.
How to Tune a Ukulele
If you're new to playing the ukulele, you may need help figuring out how to tune it. We recommend getting a clip-on digital tuner. These tiny devices are portable and super convenient to keep your ukulele in tune on the go.
If you have doubts about tuning your ukulele, you can always look into having it professionally set up and tuned. But, it's good practice and may save you some money if you learn how to do it yourself.
Standard Ukulele Tuning
Depending on what size ukulele you have, your strings may be tuned differently. Soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles are tuned to a standard GCEA tuning. Alternatively, baritone ukuleles are normally tuned to DGBE.
Generally, tuning up (tightening) and into the correct note will hold the tune better than down (loosening) and into the correct note. With a few good tunings under your belt, you should be ready to strum in no time.