I just got it yesterday and I’ve been trying to play songs but almost all the chords sound horrible. I’m getting so frustrated and I have no idea how to fix this
Five possible causes that I can think of:
1/ the ukulele isn’t in tune
2/ you are not playing the chords correctly
3/ if the bridge is movable, it is in the wrong place (don’t try moving it unless to are positive that this is the problem)
4/ the nut is too high and fretting strings bends them sharp (this is quite common, the open strings should be very close to the first fret)
5/ you are pressing too hard and making the strings sharp (this is common too)
If all the open strings are in tune but the fretted notes are out of tune, you have a problem with your intonation. Inexpensive ukuleles are notorious for having intonation problems. There’s really no practical fix for that except to buy a better quality instrument.
Tony B touched on the other possible causes. If you’ve never played a stringed instrument before, the chords may sound wrong because of your technique. You can test this by fingering a chord and plucking the strings one-at-a-time to see if any of them are muted. Muting is caused by not pressing hard enough, finger too close to the fret, or another finger touching the string.
If all the strings ring true, but the notes are off key, you may be pressing too hard…or the instrument’s intonation is off. Bad intonation could be from the strings being too high, incorrect bridge placement, inaccurate fret placement, or a high nut. The nylon strings are very bendable, and when you bend a string, it pulls out of tune. Due to the short scale of the uke, it doesn’t take much bending to pull a note out of tune. Pressing too hard, or sliding your fingers to the side is enough to do it.
I would do a simple test. Tune any string open. Then test it at the 12th fret to see if the note is exactly one octave higher….use your ear or a tuner. If the note isn’t exactly true on the 12th fret, you have an intonation problem. If your uke cost less than $60 or so, I can almost guarantee this is the problem. The best fix is to return it for a better one. Sorry…
Jake C, It’s called intonation. On most less expensive ukuleles (under a couple hundred bucks) the 3rd string will sound a little off. I have a few different size and different brand ukuleles under $300 and the intonation just isn’t that great. What to do? Try Aquila Nylgut strings and tune with a chromatic tuner. Don’t let it spoil your fun. Keep practicing your chording and sing loud. Have fun, CowUkeA
Ukulele A Chord
Don’t get frustrated. New ukuleles need about two weeks for the strings to stretch in and stabilize. It’s completely normal. If, after the stretch in period, the strings still won’t stay tuned, try tightening the tuning buttons by turning the small screw on the end of the tuning knob. Many less expensive ukuleles suffer from intonation problems that make them difficult to tune. Be sure each string is precisely in tune. On a very small instrument like a uke the precision of tuning becomes more critical than a guitar.
Also, if you re using a digital tuner, make sure sure you re tuning/testing each string to the natural note, and that your tuner is not showing a # (sharp) or ♭ (flat) symbol for any of the strings. I recently changed out my first string and was so focused on keeping that string in tune, I didn t notice one of the others had gone sharp as I quickly ran through testing the rest. A newbie mistake (and lack of reading classes may have also contributed), but if it helps anyone here I m happy to admit it!
my ukelele also is the most out of tune on the third fret no matter what I do. I believe that most of the time, even if you’ve tuned the uke right, inexpensive ukeleles aren’t made well enough, and the frets are placed slightly off.
Happened to me just now, but the problem fixed itself somehow. I think it has to do with the type of wood and the changing weather.
I am not completely convinced about this