So you’ve purchased a six-string ukulele and now you’re having trouble getting the darned thing tuned up? Well you’ve come to the right place.
How are 6 String Ukuleles Tuned?
6 String Ukuleles are most typically tuned with the same notes as their more traditional 4 string cousins (GCEA). The difference with six-string ukes is the C string and A string are doubled up in pairs. The 2nd C string is usually an octave higher than standard, and the 2nd A string is either identical or an octave lower than standard.
It should be noted, however, that with 6 string ukes, there is no 100% “standard” or truly traditional way of tuning them.
For example, I’ve seen the low A string is on the bottom and also on top of the high A.
The setups vary from maker to maker and player to player much more than in typical 4 string ukulele tuning.
Low G Tuning for 6 String Ukes
6 String ukuleles can be tuned with either Low G or High G tuning, and switched from one to the other by simple changing the top (G) string.
You’ll likely have to purchase an entire new set of strings to get the low G string, but if that’s what you’re looking for, string sets are usually around $10 or less.
For an in-depth comparison of these 2 tuning options (though not six-string uke specific) check out our High G vs Low G Ukulele tuning article.
Can I tune a 6 String Ukulele Like a Guitar?
A guitar’s tuning is much lower than a 6 String ukulele, so the short answer would be no.
There is another similar instrument called the guitalele which is a hybrid between the guitar and the ukulele.
What’s the Point of a Six String Ukulele?
The purpose of having 6 strings on your uke is to give the uke a fuller, busier sound.
The effect is comparable to 2 ukuleles in 1.
This is useful for players who are looking for a more robust texture for their performances or recordings.
6 String Baritone Ukulele Tuning
6 String baritone ukuleles are sometimes tuned with doubled strings like soprano, concert, or tenor, but also sometimes tuned identically to guitar, depending on the manufacturer’s choice.
This is in line with other 6 string tuning types, where there is no true “standard” way and therefore varies from maker to maker, and player to player.
6 String Ukulele Tuning & Sound Videos
Here’s a couple of videos demonstrating this tuning setup and also what 6 string ukuleles sound like.
Here’s a video showing the basic tuning setup for a six string uke.
Tuning a 6 String Banjo Ukulele
Six-string banjo ukuleles are pretty uncommon, as they are a less-common string/tuning setup on a less-common body type.
But as far as tuning goes, they should typically be tuned similar to the standard wood-body six-string uke, with double C and A strings, the 2nd C string being an octave higher, and the 2nd A string lower or the same as usual.
Check out our banjo ukulele tuning article for more information on banjo uke tuning generally.