It’s not uncommon for new ukulele players, and even seasoned players, to tune their ukulele by ear. This is probably the most cost-effective solution. The problem with this method however is that it can sometimes be difficult for those who are unfamiliar with detecting pitch. Even those with a really good sense of pitch can still get an inaccurate tuning.
Using a chromatic tuner will always give you the easiest and most accurate tuning. A chromatic tuner is a device that detects and displays the pitch of the strings on your ukulele.
In this post, I want to take a look at five chromatic tuners that aren’t that pricey but will do just the trick in getting your ukulele tuned up.
Top Recommended Chromatic Tuner for Ukulele
In my experience, the best chromatic tuner for ukulele is the Snark SN-6 ukulele tuner. This tuner is different than most tuners in that it clips on to the headstock of your ukulele. When you pluck a string, the tuner senses the vibrations of the string and indicates how the string needs to be tuned.
The thing I like most about this tuner is that, because the tuner is sensing the string vibrations, rather than “listening” to the string with a microphone, you can easily and accurately tune in noisy environments. This tuner is incredibly easy to use, it’s small and portable (fits easily in your case or gig bag), and it’s accurate. Not to mention, it’s one of the most budget chromatic tuners that you can buy. Click here to learn more and buy the Snark SN6x ukulele tuner.
Other Recommended Chromatic Tuners for Ukulele
2.) Korg CA-40 Chromatic Tuner
I have the Korg CA-30, which is a discontinued version of the newly updated Korg CA-40. I love this tuner.
The new CA-40 sports a very sensitive microphone to detect acoustic instruments such as the ukulele and even has the ability to play reference pitches from the internal speaker.
If your ukulele has electronics, you might find the input and output jacks really handy too. This tuner will definitely give you the best bang for the buck. Click here to learn more and buy the Korg CA-40 tuner.
3.) Planet Waves Universal Chromatic Tuner
The Planet Waves chromatic tuner will be one of the cheapest options out there for ukulele players. This tuner comes with a built-in microphone and input jack for electronic instruments.
Those who have used it report it’s surprisingly accurate. The only downside with this tuner might be that it takes CR2032 battery (included), which is not as common as a AA or AAA battery. Click here to learn more and buy the Planet Waves chromatic tuner.
4.) Korg TM-40 Chromatic Tuner
The Korg TM-40 is very similar to the CA-40 except you get a built-in metronome. My brother has this tuner and whenever I’ve used it I’ve been really impressed with how sensitive the microphone is at detecting the strings.
The built in metronome is a really nice feature too. Using a metronome during practice sessions is really important for developing better rhythm and timing. My only complaint about the metronome feature was that you could only increase the tempo in increments of four BPM (beats per minute).
If you know you are eventually going to get a metronome, this tuner is a great choice. Click here to learn more and buy the Korg TM-40 tuner.
5.) Boss TU-80 Chromatic Tuner
The Boss TU-80 is pretty similar to the Korg TM-40 except a little bit smaller. Unfortunately, the metronome options are a bit more limited than the TM-40 and the volume of the metronome is fairly quiet, with no ability to turn up the volume like the TM-40. However, for ukulele players this might be okay.
Despite these issues, in my experience, I will say that Boss makes some of the most durable and reliable products. Click here to learn more and buy the Boss TU-80 tuner.
Final Thoughts & Tips
As most ukuleles don’t come equipped with electronics to plug in to a tuner, it’s absolutely necessary the tuner you buy has a built-in microphone. If you weren’t able to guess from the above list, Korg makes a really great portable tuner. As you go up in price-range, Boss and Peterson make some really great tuners, but these tuners often don’t have a built-in microphone and have only an input jack to detect the pitch of your instrument.
What’s your method for tuning your ukulele? Got any tips or suggestions for buying a tuner?