View Full Version : Why do I need to constantly re-tune my ukulele?

The Goatman
03-01-2011, 10:20 PM
G'Day one and all,

I have recently found the joy in playing the ukulele and purchased a Lanikai LU-11. Whilst nowhere near the expensive range, it was not the cheapest and one I thought would be a good introduction.

I have found that I have to re-tune my baby nearly every time I play.

Is this normal and can I expect the strings to settle down? It is a month old.


The Goatman

Ken Middleton
03-01-2011, 11:05 PM
If the strings have not been tuned up before, they will take several days to settle and stretch. After that you won't need to turn the tuners so much to get the instrument into tune.

As you get more experienced you will find that you will not be happy unless you tune the uke every time you play it, not just every day.

Uncle Leroy
03-01-2011, 11:15 PM
Ken is right on the money. Patience may be necessary for a few days.

03-01-2011, 11:19 PM
you need to keep retuning the ukulele while the strings are still being stretched out. you'll find that you'll need to re tune the uke a lot in the beginning, but it will become less frequent as time goes by. happy playing!

03-02-2011, 04:06 AM
Try this,


03-02-2011, 04:30 AM
why do you think even the pros have tuners on their ukuleles most of the time lol

03-02-2011, 05:00 AM
why do you think even the pros have tuners on their ukuleles most of the time lol

Tuning is standard practice. Every stage uke that we use has a tuner clipped to it during a performance. If I'm playing a vintage uke with friction tuners, there's a good chance that I have to check the tuning quite often.

However, after new strings have stretched and settled in nicely, a ukulele should hold tune. If you are re-tuning after every song with settled in strings then there maybe a problem with a slipping tuners, etc.

The Goatman
03-02-2011, 10:10 AM
Many thanks for all the reassurance and advice. I must admit that it is pleasurable to hear a tuned instrument while I am learning.


The Goatman

03-02-2011, 10:37 AM
Your strings may be a cause as well.
Some ukuleles come with less than first quality strings. (some dealers change out strings before they sell a ukulele)
Also make sure the strings are sliding thru the nut smoothly and that there are only 2 or 3 wraps on the post.
If you have overlaps you will never hold tune.
If you still have tuning issues after a week of stretching strings, go invest in some new strings.
Try Aquila nylguts, or a flourocarbon (Worth,Blackline, etc.) I believe you will notice a big difference from the factory installed strings.

03-02-2011, 10:45 AM
Try Aquila nylguts, or a flourocarbon (Worth,Blackline, etc.) I believe you will notice a big difference from the factory installed strings.

The ukulele The Goatman is learning with comes standard with Aquila nylguts. That's not to say it won't benefit from a string change, but swapping for Aquilas probably wouldn't make a difference.

03-02-2011, 11:40 AM
Lanis come with Aquilas, so you are good to go with the strings you have. From the factory though, they were probably tuned to pitch, then shipped.

Uke nylon (or nylon equivalent) strings DO stretch a lot out of the packet. They can take days as Ken says (and with lesser playing and tuning, perhaps weeks) to settle down.

Strongly suggest you get a clip on tuner (10-15 on ebay) and leave it on the headstock. Tune as regularly as possible - keep tightening those strings as you play. Tune UP to pitch! They will settle down eventually.

Couple of helpful links below from my blog on tuning. Some dont like stretching string artificially - but I have been doing it with nylon and steel strung guitars for 25 years with no issue, and do same with uke - just be careful.


best of luck - and what is happening is normal!

03-02-2011, 12:28 PM
Apparently temperature can make a difference also. I had not really noticed this so much before, but today I took out my OU6 tenor to do some picking and it was stored in a cold bedroom for about a month. It was well broken in and holding tune quite well when I had put it away, but today the tuning was off a whole note on each string. It could have been the month sitting time, but I tend to think it was the cold to warm room. I assume you keep yours always in the same temperature room? Just a thought. Lozark