We have been hearing that many of you have been ordering sets of ukuleles for your classrooms. This is so wonderful! However, when they arrive, they need a lot of tuning before they are ready for use by your students. Why? Because strings stretch out in the beginning and go flat. If you try to teach with new ukes, they will need constant retuning during class time.
The process that follows helps you stabilize the tuning first before taking ukes to school. The steps below are goof proof. They will save you time and frustration on the job. The whole process can be accomplished in a single evening while you are watching a show or doing chores around the house. Thanks to GITC advocate, Drew Decker for teaching us how to do this! Side note: It’s more fun to do this with friends and it’s easy to teach them the steps.
- Get a string winder (we will mail you one) or borrow/purchase a power winder. Power winders rule! They speed your tuning along to be almost effortless once you get the feel for them.
- If you have a small hand drill, you can buy an attaching Peg Winder “cup” made by Planet Waves to plug right into it for under $10. They sell them at Guitar Center and online.
- If you don’t have a small drill, you can purchase the whole set up or get an all-in-one power winder.
- Have your electronic tuner at the ready and attached to the top of your ukulele.
- Tune your ukulele up to pitch (G-C-E-G for Open C Tuning or G-C-E-A for Standard Tuning.)
- Pull on the strings to get the extra “give” out, then retune them back up to pitch using your power winder for major adjustments.
- Insert a pencil or chopstick under the ukulele strings and move the pencil up between the fretboard and the strings.
- Leave the pencil under the strings for 20 minutes. It will do a lot of string stretching for you.
- Remove the pencil, stretch your strings once more by hand, then with your winder, bring the strings back up to pitch.
- Insert the pencil once again and let the instrument sit for another 20 minutes.
- Repeat the process in its entirely 1 more time.
- Now you are ready to bring the ukuleles to school. They will still need some minor retuning during class but will remain relatively close to pitch.