Complete Guide to Ukulele Strings Notes, Names, and Numbers

Confused About Ukulele String Notes, Names, And Numbers?

As a new ukulele player, each tutorial video you come across will refer to either ukulele string notes or uke string numbers to teach the lesson. That’s nice, except you’re not yet familiar with the names and numbers of every string!

In case you’re just beginning out with the uke, one of the first things you have to know is the ukulele strings notes, names, and numbers.

We label every string by the note that the open string plays. Playing open strings is also known as ‘open notes’ (many uke chords include these open notes).

Why? As result knowing the names will assist whenever you tune your uke (you’ll want a tuner for that too), and for a myriad of other reasons, similar to playing scales.

In this article, we are going to explain the names and numbers of the different strings, why you might like using numbers more than names, and the way this makes tuning simpler.

This can be a quick article and once you finish it you’ll have enough information about standard ukulele tuning to learn some simple ukulele songs!

Ukulele String Notes and Names

Ukulele tuning can really be a complicated subject. There’s a completely different tuning for baritone ukuleles than soprano, concert, and tenors. Even with the main three sizes, you’ll be able to tune your uke to standard or reentrant.

To help make tuning your uke simpler, you need to start by learning the ukulele string notes, ukulele string names, and numbers that are commonly assigned to the open strings.

Once we are speaking about ukulele string names, we label them by the note that the open string plays. Open notes are the notes which are played in case you choose a chord without holding down the string on any fret, thus, it’s “open”. It’s common for people to refer to each string by the open string note that it plays.

More on Tuning Notes

The tuning notes of the ukulele are the usual pitches to which the ukulele’s strings are tuned (i.e. tightened till they produce the specified sound frequency when plucked or strummed).

The tuning notes used depend totally on the ukulele’s size as the baritone uke traditionally uses a unique tuning system from the other ukulele sizes.

Other exceptional factors also can affect the tuning ukulele string notes alternative tuning methods or ukuleles with greater than 4 strings.

This diagram is the usual ukulele tuning for Soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles.

The top string, or closest to you when playing, is the G-string. The g string can be the thickest string (until you’re using reentrant tuning!) and the strings get thinner as you move down the neck of the ukulele. The following string down is tuned to a C string. The 2nd string is tuned to an E note and the 1st string, closest to the floor, is an A.

These are the standard string notes for soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles so once you tune your ukulele these are the notes you need to hear! The only size ukulele that usually doesn’t follow this pattern is baritone ukuleles.

If you’re playing a regular ukulele left-handed, the order of the strings will likely be reversed. This may be hard to play and add further problems to learning, so we suggest you choose up a ukulele designed for lefties!

High G and Low G tuning for Ukuleles

While standard tuning is a quite common method to tune the open string notes, the G string is on the same octave as the other string. This is additionally known as low G tuning.

In standard reentrant tuning (high G), the g- string is one octave above middle C, which means that the g-string is actually a higher pitch than the c-string. Many times on chord diagrams you’ll see the g string in lowercase, which tells you reentrant tuning is being used.

High G tuning is largely the reason ukes have the bright, charming sound they do! We dive into more detail on high G, low G, and baritone tuning in our guide to tuning ukuleles.

Because of this, the thickest string on the ukulele is often the C string. If you’re playing in Low G tuning, it is going to be the g-string. A note here is you do want a different string for the G if you want to play low G tuning.

Baritone Ukulele String Notes

You will have a choice when playing the baritone ukulele for tuning. Each high G and low G tuning are options, but many will play the baritone uke with a D-G-B-E tuning. This tuning is much like the way in which a guitar is strung and is done in a linear fashion meaning that the lowest note is the top string as you look down on the instrument.

baritone ukulele string notes

Ukulele String Numbers

The ukulele string order is done by numbering them 1, 2, 3, and 4. The one is the string closest to the ground, usually the A string. Strings 2, 3, and 4 get closer to you as you go up in numbers and are associated with the E, C, and G strings from the naming section.

This additionally implies that if you’re playing a baritone ukulele the ukulele string names won’t change, the numbers will simply stay the same!

ukulele string numbers

Why Use both Ukulele String Names and Ukulele String Numbers?

In the large number of resources that are currently available online, you will discover teachers preferring one naming convention or the other. The programs that we actually like will educate and use both so that you just change into familiar with them.

If we had to decide on just one, we’d select ukulele string numbers though. There’s actually one big purpose we choose to use numbers rather than names, and that’s that you just don’t have to know the tuning.

Tuning Changes

While G-C-E-A is the commonest tuning for ukuleles, you could find plenty of songs played a half step up, or a half step down, which fully shifts the tuning of every open string.

Through the use of numbers, you don’t have to change something in how you describe the string, simply note the adjusted tuning.

String 1 will all the time be the highest note and the string furthest from the musician when playing, however, the A string may simply be a B note if the tuning changes!

Watch and Learn Ukulele Strings Notes, Names, and Numbers

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you understand the tips on how to tune your ukulele to the proper notes, regardless of the note, name, or number that you simply assign to every string! You also need to be capable to speak like a ukulele player to other musicians about these, and using the same terminology they like!

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