View Full Version : How often do you check tuning?

07-07-2009, 11:01 AM
I watched Jake Shimabukuro play an hour-long live concert set recently, and I noticed that he checked his tuning after each song. I know I don't check my uke's tuning that frequently, and I don't imagine most of us do. I attribute his attention to tuning to one or more of the following:

- He was playing solo (no backing musicians) and amplified, with no vocals at all. All uke, all the time. Must make tuning or mis-tuning seem more noticable.

- He's playing to an audience whose expectations may be pretty high.

- He's a pro, and perhaps a bit of a perfectionist.

- He plays his uke hard; often fast and furiously. I'd guess this could negatively impact tuning.

- He may have been using relatively new strings which hadn't settled in yet.

So, although none of us are Jake Shimabukuro....how often do you check your uke's tuning?

07-07-2009, 11:05 AM
At least once a day, sometimes more if i am playing outside where the sun and humidity have more effect.

07-07-2009, 11:07 AM
At least once before I start playing, and during if any chords or notes sound funky. I tune by ear for the most part, but every few weeks re-tune, to a tuner.

07-07-2009, 11:08 AM
I play about an hour a day and probably check it 3-4 times.

07-07-2009, 11:09 AM
I check mine at least every week.

07-07-2009, 11:20 AM
I check it everytime I start to play during a new day.

07-07-2009, 11:22 AM
I check it everytime I start to play during a new day.



07-07-2009, 11:23 AM
Every time I pick up a uke to play it, I tune it up. I usually re check after each song and tune as needed (more on hot humid days, or if I walk into air conditioning from out side, etc)

07-07-2009, 11:23 AM
I think its the third point in your list. If you play a bit more you hear even when you press slightly to hard and all the little nuances.
Also to get that special ring and voice out of the any instrument and ukulele i think you need to get all the strings in the same boat, so to speak. It just opens up when it is right, the harmonys work better and the wood resonates more.

It might also be that its a sort of an ritual for jake, to concentrate better and focus on the next song, while doing the tuning.

I check before i start and retune when i play all the time, its usually only of by a few cents but i notice that it sounds already odd then, maybe a e-guitar player habit where the strings can go out of tune fast depending on how much you bend them or how excessive you play.

My little uke holds its tuning very well tho, i am suprised, it wasnt that expensive, but its just fine. Dolphin makala :)

07-07-2009, 11:26 AM
If I sound OK to my own ears. I leave it alone.
If I sound bad then I tune. Usually with an online tuner

I am never away from my computer :rolleyes:

07-07-2009, 11:29 AM
I check the tuning prior to playing every single time. If playing on a warm day, I check it frequently, just keep the clip on tuner on the uke.

07-07-2009, 12:04 PM
I...how often do you check your uke's tuning?
At least daily; when I pick it up to play (and this is for each one in the herd), but if I'm playing one uke a lot, I check it more frequently. Sometimes every hour, depends on the heat, humidity, how much/how hard I play and the particular uke. My geared heads don't go out of tune as easily as the friction heads, so I check the friction heads more often.

Ahnko Honu
07-07-2009, 01:15 PM
I check the tuning every time I pick up a 'ukulele. If anything doesn't sound right afterwards during a song I'll check again. Fortunately I have a good ear for tuning so don't need a electronic tuner through I do own one to double check when I have time.

07-07-2009, 01:29 PM


Ditto Ditto.

07-07-2009, 01:31 PM
Constantly. All my ukes have friction pegs except for my baritone. When something's off, I notice immediately and it drives me nuts.

07-07-2009, 01:36 PM


Same here:shaka:

07-07-2009, 01:50 PM
I try and practise a half hour a day and during that time, I will play at least two different ukes. They get re-tuned when I grab 'em (more when strings are new). I stay indoors (so the neighbors won't suffer with the noise I make :biglaugh:) so temperature is not a factor with me.

07-07-2009, 02:10 PM
I seem to tune every few hours after I change strings. Then once a day afyer the strings settle in.

07-07-2009, 04:09 PM
Every time I play.

07-07-2009, 05:22 PM
Once at the beginning of a set, and once after the first or second song.

If I have just moved the uke inside and then go out side or **** versa, I will check it a few times until the uke adjusts to the temp and settles down.

If you play outside and move to the sun you have to adjust. If you are playing with someone else the ukes may adjust to the temp changes differently so you have to check more. Some times if you are playing by your self the uke will go sharp or flat but all strings will go at the same rate so you won't notice it unless you are playing along with another instrument such as a harmonica.

Of course if the uke starts sounding funky I'll check.

I gave some lesons to a peson that thought their uke sounded horrible and was goiing to buy a new one. I found out they would tune it and then play it for a few days without retuning, and they lived on a boat (lots of temp changes).

Hell you can sit under an AC duct ahd the nylon strigs get affected.

07-07-2009, 06:34 PM
I try to check my KoAloha when I start to practice. It's the weirdest thing -- it is ALWAYS in tune. I have friction tuners and Worth stringz. It was set up by MGM. I've had it since October and haven't even changed the strings yet. My other ukuleles I don't play too often so they need tuning more.

07-07-2009, 06:35 PM
Most of the time I check tuning when I pick up an instrument and/or when my ears tell me something is out.

07-07-2009, 11:42 PM

It's a ukulele, fer crying out loud; therefore, the laws of nature dictate that it'll be out of tune most of the time, and definitely each time the wind changes direction... or when anything else happens... :p

07-07-2009, 11:59 PM
Exactly. Those people who claim their uke stays in tune for an hour or more must have a very high tolerance to out of tuneness.

07-08-2009, 01:14 AM
It's a ukulele, fer crying out loud; therefore, the laws of nature dictate that it'll be out of tune most of the time, and definitely each time the wind changes direction... or when anything else happens... :p
Ah, a man with many friction tuners...

I used to have the same problem with kick-starting my motorcycle. Very frustrating at times, getting it to kick over. But then on a newer bike, I discovered that marvellous invention: the Electric Starter. Push a button, and brrrooooommmm - my bike started every time. Wonderful thing, very modern and easy to use. A lot like geared tuners.

Most of my ukes with geared tuners stay in tune for a long time. Even when they need adjustment, it is often minor. My friction tuner ukes need constant twiddling.

I have two guitars I haven't played, much less tuned, in the past year and I checked them earlier - they're still in pretty good tune, given that history.

07-08-2009, 03:46 AM
If you are having trouble with friction tuners slipping then you need to tighten up the little screw on the end of the knob. They stay in tune just as well as geared ones if they are tight enough.

Tuning changes aren't due to tuners slipping it's temperature and humidity changes causing the strings and the wood to change dimensions and also the evening out of tension across the nut and bridge. Once the strings settle down they are just as likely to go sharp as flat which shows that it has nothing to do with the tuners.

07-08-2009, 04:24 AM
whenever I play a G chord and it sounds out of wack, I know the uke needs tuning.

07-08-2009, 04:28 AM
I check just before I play and any time a note sounds janky.

07-08-2009, 06:49 AM
The only uke I own that never goes out of tune is my Kumalae with wooden pegs.