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Why is My Ukulele Always Out of Tune?

Common ways ukuleles can go out of tune... And how to fix them!

by Susan Montgomery
Why is My Ukulele Always Out of Tune?

The ukulele, with its delightful and enchanting sound, brings joy to so many of us. However, like any stringed instrument, it is susceptible to going out of tune due to various factors. In this article, I will explore the common reasons a ukulele can go out of tune and discuss possible solutions, including changing strings, changing tuners, and even making repairs. Let’s jump right in!

Ukulele Strings and Tuning

The most common tuning for a ukulele is called GCEA, also known as “C tuning.” This means that the strings are tuned to the following notes from the top string (closest to your face) to the bottom string (closest to the floor): G, C, E, A. The G string is tuned an octave higher than the guitar’s third (G) string.

One of the primary reasons a ukulele may go out of tune is the tension of the strings. Over time, strings can stretch and settle, causing the pitch to change. Changes in temperature and humidity can also impact string tension and lead to tuning instability. To address this issue, it is essential to regularly tune your ukulele using a reliable tuner or tuning app. It’s important to maintain an accurate pitch for each string. After all, you work so hard to improve your playing skills. The last thing you want is to have your songs sound poorly due to improper tuning. You can find a wide range of ukulele tuners at the Terry Carter Music Store like this Snark tuner.

Time for a String Change?

You may need to change your strings in order for the ukulele to stay in tune. The frequency of changing ukulele strings can vary depending on several factors, including how often you play, the type of strings you use, and personal preference. Inspect your strings regularly for signs of wear and tear. Look for fraying, discoloration, or flat spots on the strings.

If you notice any visible damage, it’s a good indication that it’s time to replace them. While there is no fixed timeline for when you should change your ukulele strings, if your ukulele is consistently going out of tune, even after letting them settle in and stretch, it may be time to change them. This may restore some stability to your tuning and your playing.

Repair Time

There are a variety of issues that can be explored if you are still having issues with staying in tune. Is there a problem with your beloved instrument? Try taking it to a pro and have them give it a good inspection like at the Terry Carter Music Store Repair Shop.

The tuners, or machine heads, play a vital role in maintaining stable tuning. If the tuners are loose, worn out, or damaged, they may slip or fail to hold the strings in place. In such cases, it may be necessary to make repairs or replace the tuners altogether. Repairing the tuners involves identifying the problem and addressing it accordingly. If the tuners are loose, tightening the screws or bolts that secure them to the headstock may solve the issue. In some cases, lubricating the gears inside the tuners with a small amount of lubricant can improve their performance and help them hold the tension more effectively.

Read more: Does Ukulele Size Matter?

When selecting replacement tuners, consider factors such as compatibility with your ukulele’s headstock and the gear ratio of the tuners, which affects how accurately and smoothly they can be adjusted.


In conclusion, a ukulele can go out of tune due to factors such as string tension, temperature, and humidity changes. Repairs, changing tuners, and changing strings are potential solutions to address tuning issues. Repairing or replacing loose or damaged tuners can significantly improve tuning stability.

Regularly changing strings ensures consistent sound quality and accurate tuning. By taking proper care of your ukulele and addressing tuning issues promptly, you can enjoy the full beauty and harmony of this charming instrument. If you have any questions and want to connect with a great community of ukulele players,  you can check out the Uke Like The Pros Premium Member Forum.

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