Ukulele Tips for Beginners
By Larry Santos (Ukulele Project Hawaii Chm.) | Oct. 3, 2020
Things you will learn in this article
1. Different tuner modes
2. Best tuner setting for me
3. Various tuning
4. Re-entrant and Low-G tuning
The importance of tuning needs to be on the top of your list. Without the right tuning of your strings, your ukulele will not play the right sound, and your song will not tell the correct story. As an instructor, I would spend the majority of the first class teaching our new students how to properly tune a ukulele. Having a tuner that can do the job needs to be a go-to accessories of yours. All Enya ukulele bundles come with an Enya tuner. The great thing about these tuners are the various modes you may choose from. The two (2) different modes you will use in tuning your ukulele are: chromatic (C) and/or ukulele (Uc).
Using the Chromatic setting on your tuner will give you all the notes in the musical alphabet. This setting will let you know which note your string is tuned to. If you are a ukulele player that would like to variate from the normal tuning of G-C-E-A, then you would use Chromatic to tune, or de-tune to your strings. Tighten your tuning keys, and moving up a half-step to G#-C#-F-Bb, or loosen them to F#-B-Eb-G#. Variation from the “normal” (re-entrant or low-G) tuning, will do various things for your ukulele.
1. Advances resonation of your strings.
2. Helps with the warmth sound of your strings.
3. Eliminates the use of a capo.
Ukulele “C” (Uc) Setting
As a beginner or novice ukulele player, “ukulele” or “Uc”(as shown on Enya tuners) is the setting you should use on your tuner. By using this setting when you are tuning your strings, a little number will appear next to the note you are tuning your string to. As you tune your top string to “G”, the number 4 will appear on your tuner. This is showing you that you are tuning the 4th string, and the closest string to the player (if you are right handed). The “C” string will have a 3, the “E” will have a 2, and the “A” string will have a 1. This feature on the Enya tuner is a helpful tool to have to know exactly which string you are tuning. Enya tuners are easily placed (clipped) onto the head-stock of your ukulele for quick reference while tuning your ukulele.
Re-entrant tuning is that standard tuning that you hear on most ukuleles. It’s more commonly known and heard as “My Dog Has Fleas”. Re-entrant is the term used because the notes of each string go from high (G), to lower (C), to higher (E), and highest (A). Your top string (G) is re-entering that scale as a higher note. Enya ukuleles are strung with this tuning and use fluorocarbon strings. All ukuleles may be tuned to re-entrant, or you may want to tell your story with a Low “G” Tuning.
Ukulele G C E A Re-Entrant Tuning (High G)
Low “G” Tuning
There are a few questions that come up when discussing if you should make the move to Low “G”. What are the benefits? Do I have to change my strings? Are the strings strummed or held differently? Tuning your ukulele with a Low “G” string has endless benefits to your playing abilities and the story your ukulele tells. One benefit is the resonation of the strings. Resonation is defined as the amplification of vocal sounds by the sympathetic vibration of air. In other words, your notes will carry longer. The reason for this is the bigger diameter of the “G” string. Yes, you will need to change your string from a 0.022in - 0.025in to a 0.034in - 0.038in diameter string. While changing your strings, I would recommend this change for the bigger size ukuleles. Enya’s lines of tenors or concert is where the low “G” would sound best. I would never recommend the low “G” string being used on a soprano ukulele. Enya ukuleles have a fluorocarbon string that can be easily changed to your tuning desires. Strum and play your strings as you would on any Enya ukulele, no matter the tuning, and your sound will surely tell the story of your heart.
Published Oct 16, 2020