Ukulele String Notes & Tuning

The names of ukulele string notes can be confusing as there are several variations, so here’s a short guide. As with all things ukulele, nothing is really right or wrong — you can choose what’s most comfortable for you!

First things first, for the following guide we’re assigning numbers to your ukulele strings, counting down from 4 to 1 as you strum down. In other words, the first string is nearest the ground and the fourth string is nearest the ceiling.

Standard “C” Tuning

Also called re-entrant tuning, this is the most common ukulele tuning in most countries around the world. The string notes are:

  • 4th string = G4 (high G)
  • 3rd string = C4
  • 2nd string = E4
  • 1st string = A4

Low-G “C” Tuning

Very similar to standard “C” tuning but the G string is an octave lower. You need a low G string for this, which is sometimes metal. Low-G tuning, also known as linear tuning, is most often seen on tenor ukuleles and sometimes concert ukuleles.

  • 4th string = G3 (low G)
  • 3rd string = C4
  • 2nd string = E4
  • 1st string = A4

Standard “D” Tuning

The notes for “D” tuning are all a tone higher than “C” tuning, not surprisingly. This form is sometimes known as English tuning.

  • 4th string = A4 (high A)
  • 3rd string = D4
  • 2nd string = F#4
  • 1st string = B4

Low-A “D” Tuning

Also known as Canadian tuning, this is similar to low-G “C” tuning but all the strings are a tone higher. Again, you need a low A string for this — you can’t just de-tune your regular A string to be an octave lower.

  • 4th string = A3 (low A)
  • 3rd string = D4
  • 2nd string = F#4
  • 1st string = B4

Slack Key Ukulele Tuning

Like slack key guitar, the notes form an open chord so you can strum the ukulele with one hand and it will still sound pleasing!

  • 4th string = G3 (low G)
  • 3rd string = C4
  • 2nd string = E4
  • 1st string = G4

Baritone Ukulele Tuning

The notes of baritone ukulele strings are different to other ukuleles, and sound somewhat similar to the top four strings of a guitar.

  • 4th string = D3
  • 3rd string = G3
  • 2nd string = B3
  • 1st string = E4

Hopefully that’s cleared up any confusion. For a more in-depth look at the history behind ukulele string notes, in particular C and D tuning, I highly recommend this article on Canadian ukulele tuning.