Mike Moxcey ©2005
The ukulele was invented in Hawaii when an islander built a copy of small Portuguese guitar played by an early sailor.
The ukulele is tuned strangely, with a high string on top much like a 5-string banjo. This makes it easy to frail, and was probably why the string was put there originally, to emulate the strumming pattern of the original foreign guitar.
What is way cool is that the strings are in the same relationship as they are on a guitar, although the 4th string (the one farthest from the floor) is an octave higher.
Thus you can use guitar chords but only fretting the first 4 strings.
The Baritone Uke is tuned exactly like the 1st 4 strings of the guitar. So its chords are named exactly the same as the chords for the guitar.
The ukulele is tuned either to C or D:
C: g C E A from the 4th string to the first.
D: a D F# B from the 4th string to the first.
The little letter means that string is higher than the next ones up.
There is also a baritone ukulele tuned exactly like the 1st 4 strings of the guitar.
Here is what the tuning notes look like in tab, D first and then C (but notice how nothing is different except which note you tune the first sound to). For each pair of doubled notes, the open string is the one you’re trying to tune and the fretted one is the note you strike first to hear what the open string should sound like.
The basic tuning strategy is to
- tune the 3rd string to a D (or C) note from a piano or tuner or pitchpipe or some other device.
Then you fret the 3rd string at the 4th fret and tune the 2nd string to that note (F# (or E)).
Then you fret the 2nd string at the 3rd fret and tune the 4th string to that note (A (or G)).
Then you fret the 2nd string (again) at the 5th fret and tune the 1st string to that note (B (or A)).
Alternatively, you can fret the 4th string at the 2nd fret and tune the 1st string to that note (B (or A)).
The Baritone Uke is also known as the Tenor Guitar because it is tuned exactly like the 1st 4 strings of the guitar. The strings of all the ukuleles are tuned in the same relationship so you can use chord patterns from the guitar to play them.
The horizontal lines on the tab are strings.
The bottom line of the tab stands for the top string on the ukulele.
The top line of the tab stands for the 1st strings of the ukulele, the one that is closest to the floor.
The numbers mean to pluck a string.
“0” means pluck it open (unfretted).
A number means to fret the string at the appropriate number and then pluck it.