If you are a beginner Ukulele player then remember, the first and the most important way to create a more pleasant sound is to tune a tenor ukulele before any playing.
It’s certain that after tuning the tenor ukulele all your listeners have to thank you and their gratitude will inspire you to play more. And for once, you will have to be surprised after listening to the sound.
Beginner ukulele players may not have the idea that a ukulele should be tuned with the best method to create the best sound. On top of that, those ukuleles which are a little bit cheap, need to be tuned more frequently. There is a fact that lower-end Ukuleles are not as capable of keeping the Ukulele in tune for as long of a duration as the higher-end Ukuleles.
Now the warmest news is, this article is going to cover all the information on How to Tune a Tenor Ukulele. I am saying it with great confidence that this article will help you to tune your Tenor like a pro.
What Is a Tenor Ukulele?
Whether you are a hard-core ukulele player or just a fan of it and love to play the ukulele, then you must have an idea about the four different sizes of ukuleles: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone.
The tenor ukulele is in the third position on the basis of its size. It has the largest body size. It is not like the baritone ukulele. I mean it’s traditional.
Tenor ukuleles will provide a great sound. It’s obvious because it’s the largest in size and this size will produce a good sound. Tenor covers more frequencies than the soprano and concert ukuleles. You will be surprised because the tenor ukulele is able to produce a sound like classical guitars. There is a proverb that lower frequencies produce a higher tone.
So from the whole discussion, you must get the answer to why the beginner prefers to play the Tenor ukulele. For solo performance, the tenor ukulele is far better than the others and on top of that, the tenor has a longer neck. You know the longer neck produces more frets to play.
It’s obvious that when it’s about the ukulele, size doesn’t matter much with the tenor because of its slightly larger neck it produces a natural tone and it’s better than turning that little soprano ukulele.
To be precise, tenor ukuleles are usually 26 inches long, as opposed to 21 or 23 inches for sopranos and concerts. The size difference may not be audible, but it has a big effect on sound and playing. It is usually the size of a tenor ukulele, although some models may be slightly longer or shorter than 26 inches. Tenor size is preferred by many stage artists and instrumentalists due to the greatest distance between the freight, the number of notes played, and the highest dynamic range.
Tenor ukuleles first appeared in the 1920s, when the first of the four-string guitar instruments appeared. Probably. The Tenor guitar predated the Tenor Lewitt, built-in 1924, and had a long body with a tenor banjo neck. Many banjo makers began experimenting with the concept, and around 1927 many of the leading makers of the time began producing so-called tanner guitars. Tenor guitars are probably more related to the Tanner Banjo.
They are compared to the standard CGDA configuration of all the 1950s and are generally the same length. They were often sold to banjo players in the 1930s as a tool that could be played in both orchestras and jazz groups, overcoming the difficult part without learning the new six-string guitar.
Now, the Tenor ukuleles produce tunes that are most prevalent in today’s folk genre.
Before moving into the main topic of how to tune a tenor ukulele you should know that this method will help you tune all kinds of ukuleles like a soprano, concert, etc.
How to Tune a Tenor Ukulele
G, C, E, A is the most standard tuning note to tune a tenor ukulele. You will find it similar to soprano too. Whatever, tune ‘C’ is the most favorite tuning note. You must be wondering why? Because the pitch which is the lowest of your tenor will cross the C strings.
There is a complication you may face that is the tenor ukulele follows two variations in its G, C, E, A strings. And the varieties are:
- High – G
- Low – G
I am sure now you are wondering what can be the differences? So let’s move forward.
Comparison between High-G and Low-G
*** You may make your ukulele unique by turning it. Remember this always..**”
High – G
When you use the reentrant tuning note then it’s high-g. Simply it means the tenor strings won’t be tuned from a high note to a low note. In this tuning variation G4, C4, E4, and A4 are the most used tuning notes.
To get to it clear you may look at the image below:
Low – G
When you tune your tenor using the 4th string and this will be on octave then it’s for sure you are using the low-g note. Here, the G3, C4, E4, and A4 will offer a wide, no it’s actually wider, and a melodic range sound.
Please have a look at the image below to understand clearly:
Actually, these two images are showing the key differences between the reentrant tuning and the linear tuning.
Maximum ukulele music and music lessons nowadays are with the notes of G, C, E, A, and no matter what chords you are going to use. But be careful about notes when you are planning to play solos.
Whether you are a pro or a beginner, you must know how important the strings are. And since there are variations like high – g and low – g, you will need different strings for different tuning.
Common alternative tunings for the tenor
You will find some common alternatives to tune your tenor ukulele:
D-tuning (A, D, F# B)
In the 1920s-1930s, the D tuning note was the most popular and known tuning note to tune tenor. Canadian schools of that time used ukuleles instead of any other musical instruments to teach music. And, A, D, F#B was the most renowned tuning note then. Since it is mostly used in Canadian schools you may call it Canadian tuning too.
These notes are two frets higher than standard notes. And they use A4, D4, F4, B4.
The Low-A variation is known as English Tuning
Canadian / “D” tuning High-A
English / “D” tuning Low-A
G-tuning (D, G, B, E)
Though the G-tuning note is usually used to tune the baritone ukulele, that doesn’t mean this note can’t be used to tune a tenor. Actually, the D, G, B, E, tuning notes will help a musician to get his desired tune.
You will find variations in High-D and Low-D. Such as:
High-D: D4, G3, B3, E4
Low-D: D3, G3, B3, E4
Tenor tuning Low-D
Tenor tuning High-D
What tune are you going to use? Do no matter what, just remember you have to tune the strings to the right pitch. It’s very important to tune a tenor ukulele. It’s really not a matter of concern how you tune if you are playing on your own but it really means a lot when you are ready to play with others. You have to maintain a balance with them. ..
Tuning with an Electric Tuner
You will find it easier to play with an electric tenor. It’s awesome for beginners.….
Tune the open 1st string to the 2nd fret of the 4th string.
Again, Tune the 5th fret of the 2nd string to the open 1st string.
Then, Tune the 4th fret of the 3rd string to the open 2nd string.
Now, Tune the open 3rd string to the 5th fret of the 4th string.
Open the 2nd string to the 4th fret of the 3rd string.
Finally, Tune the open 1st string to the 5th fret of the 2nd string.
Tuning the 4- 4-string Tenor
The 4 string Tenor is one of the most favorite ones for ukulele players. You will find it soothing to hear too. Now I will write more about the 4 string Tenor.
You have already got to know about the common tuning notes to tune a tenor. For tuning the 4 strings tenor the tuning notes are the same. First of all, you must have an idea about the tuning speed so that it will be very easy to tune.
You might start by playing a file to adjust because as a beginner you may find it difficult to tune the 4 string tenor. And one more thing must use the silver-colored one. It is so because you will get the same sound. As an option, you may consider the Soprano ukulele pitch pipe.
You can adjust the G string with the C string. You might get the C tune.
Here you will find the sound files to tune D and G ( Dtune.wav ); open G ( openGtune.wav ); B and G ( Btune.wav ); E and G ( Etune.wav ).
Table 1 will show you the notes with the frequencies of each tuning note for tunings the two mentioned far, and you will find the “D” tuning as well.
Table 1. Common Tenor Ukulele Tunings
- “C” tuning
- “G” Tuning
- “D” tuning
Table 2. Changing from one tuning/key to another
“C” tuning A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#
“G” tuning E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D#
“D” tuning B C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A#
Table 3. Frequencies of a two-octave range of tenor ukulele notes
Note G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G
freq, Hz 196 207.7 220 233.1 246.9 261.6 277.2 293.7 311.1 329.6 349.2 370 392
freq, Hz 392 415.3 440 466.2 493.9 523.5 554.3 587.3 622.2 659.3 698.5 740 784
The little soprano, concert, and tenor are built at 4 pitches or 5 half feet above the baritone ukulele. So if you place the capo on the 5th fret of the baritone ukulele (dgbe), it will give you a base tuning (I’m-ca) or c6 cord. Linear tuning ”because the wires are in a sequence at lower altitudes.
However, the more common tuning system for the soprano is to tune the G string up one octave, resulting in the open strings matching the melody of “My Dog Has Fleas.” The 3rd string, the C, is now the lowest open-tuned string. This is referred to as “re-entrant” tuning because the strings are not tuned in a linear fashion from low to high. It is this tuning that gives the ukulele its unique, characteristic sound!
Some ukulele methods may recommend using the “linear” tuning as it extends the lower range. Additionally, it may be easier for the player to comprehend learning to read music and playing scales. As most stock ukuleles are pre-strung with the high G “re-entrant” tuning, you may need to purchase and install the low G strings separately if you plan on using these methods. These strings will have a different thickness or gauge.
When installing a low G string, the builder may need to reshape the groove in the nut to accommodate the thick string and to properly fit the string into that groove. .. The guitar and ukulele have the same tuning structure, so you can play both instruments with one finger. Many technologies have been adopted. You can play guitar and Yukuru! The instrument is on a different key, so you have to carry it between your guitar and Uccle. For example, a guitar G-string becomes a C-string when played in the same cargo position as the ukulele. Classroom teachers will notice that this sounds like the difference between a soprano and an alto recorder.
Tenor size is usually preferred by many artists and instrumentalists because it has long, high notes to play and a wide dynamic range.
I am in love penning this article and hope that this is exciting and undoubtedly useful to you and the beginner level player of the tenor ukulele. Don’t hesitate to search more about how to tune a tenor ukulele.