Why Are Ukulele Strings Out of Order? | Expert Opinion – 2023

A lot of people have been asking us, “why are ukulele strings out of order?” So we decided to write a full guide on the strings of the Ukulele. In this article, we will discuss every single detail about how to tune the ukulele strings and what its properties are.

When they buy a new ukulele, most people feel like the strings are out of order. They contact the music store owner and return the uke, thinking that it’s not the right piece. However, the Ukulele is right, and the strings are kept out of order for a specific reason.

Sometimes the order of the strings needs to be maintained while changing strings. The right order, string tension, and tuning of the strings can give a brighter sound and increase the life span of the strings. So let’s discuss how to maintain the stringed instruments and how to keep their strings in order.

Ernie Ball Ukulele Ball End Nylon Strings
Ernie Ball Ukulele Ball End Nylon Strings

Brand: Ernie Ball
String Material Type: Nylon
String Gauge: Custom

Martin Ukulele Strings M600
Martin Ukulele Strings M600
  • Brand: Martin
  • String Material Type: Nylon
  • String Gauge: Light
Nylon Ukulele Strings
Nylon Ukulele Strings
  • Brand: CHENGU
  • Color: 5 Sets String, 10 Felt Picks
  • Instrument: Ukulele


According to our research, the Ukulele is descendants of Portuguese stringed instruments for music such as the machete de Braga and the Rajuo. Both these instruments have “out of order” tunings to facilitate the style of play popular in Portugal.

out of order

Ukulele Strings Order

What is the first string on a ukulele? Seventy percent of the beginners are unaware of the order of the strings of a ukulele. Though there are several orders for different tunes, the G4-C4-E4-A4 order is the most common. This tuning is commonly known as G tuning and the majority of the ukulele songs are written with this tuning.

Moreover, for different ukulele sizes, there are different string orders. So let’s discuss the string order of every uke in detail.


It is the smallest Ukulele with a length of only 21 inches and a standard tuning of G4-C4-E4-A4. There is also an alternate for players who want to play other chords and for a Soprano Ukulele it is A4-D4-F#4-B4.


The Concert Ukulele has a length of 23 inches and is slightly bigger than the soprano ukulele. The standard for both the ukes is the same, i.e., G4-C4-E4-A4. The alternate tuning is different and is written as G3-C4-E4-A4.

concert ukulele


Tenor is even larger (26 inches) than the Concert ukulele. However, it has two standard tunings and two alternate tunings. The first standard tuning is similar to the previous ones, i.e., G4-C4-E4-A4, while the second one is G3-C4-E4-A4. The two alternate tunings are D4-G3-B3-E4 and D3-G3-B3-E4, respectively.


A baritone is the largest uke with a size of 29 inches. Though the Bass Ukulele is 30 inches, it is infrequent, so we consider the baritone ukulele the largest. The standard tuning for a Baritone ukulele is D3-G3-B3-E4, while the alternate is C3-G3-B3-E4.

baritone ukulele

Factors which affect the tune

The factors on which the tune of the instrument depends are also responsible for the wrong order of the strings. Errors while changing the strings can lead to the strings being out of order. These are the factors that you should consider while you tune a ukulele.


The thicker the string is, the lower is the note produced. The reason is that thick strings can’t vibrate with a velocity with which thin strings can. That’s why, for a higher note, it is better to use thin strings.

Ukulele string order thickness is also a matter to be discussed here. While tuning a uke, remember that the thickest string is always on the top,i.e., closest to your chin while playing. The thickness decreases as we go down the strings towards the floor.


The tightness of the string also alters the highness or lowness of the note. Tight strings produce higher notes, while loose strings produce low notes.

tightness of string


Shorter strings produce higher notes. Professional ukulelists take advantage of this feature and change notes while playing the uke. For higher or lower notes, they press their fingers against the fretboard at specific lengths. Some also use a capo instead of the fingers.

Ukulele Strings Tunings

Several other tunings that ukulele players use are as follows. Though these are not the standard tunings, they are still loved by many ukulelists. You can also try these tunings if you have a good grip over the basic ukulele chords.

ukulele tune

Baritone Tuning

The baritone ukulele is the most difficult Ukulele to play due to its large size. Most baritone players follow this tune. It sounds somewhat like a guitar because the last four guitar strings are also tuned similarly. Some users also tune it on a tenor. It is D-G-B-E.

Slack Key Tuning

The Slack Key tuning (G-C-E-G) is popular in Hawaiian music. This tuning involves the slacking or detuning of some strings. For example, you can destring the A string to G making it G-C-E-G. You can tune the top G string in either a linear or a reentrant tuning.  However, you can just strum the open strings by strumming the C chord.

Moreover, this tuning also works with many other musical instruments, including guitars.

slack key tuning

English Tuning

The English tuning is almost similar to the standard ukulele tuning, except it is tuned a step higher. Also known as D tuning, this is popular for the soprano or banjoleles ukuleles. The English Tuning can be written as A-D-F#-B.

Canadian Tuning

The Canadian Tuning is popular for Concert and Tenor Ukuleles. However, it is almost similar to English. Both have the same tunes except that the Canadian is low as compared to the English Tuning. Also, in a Canadian tuning, you tune the top A string down an octave.

When To Change the Strings

Always keep changing yourUkulele’ss strings after regular intervals. Mostly, ukulelists change their strings after every three months. It is because the older strings are not much comfortable to play with, and also their sound is dull.

change ukulele strings

To make sure that you need new strings for yourUkulelee or not, check out these signs in your uke strings.

Do your ukulele strings have nicks or grooves over them? The grooves or damage signs on the ukulele means your ukulele strings have been used for a long time and needs to be changed now.

Are the strings less resonant as compared to their first day? Less resonance of the strings shows that the strings have lost their original elasticity and have bUkuleleigid.

Is the brighter tone of your ukulele gone and you are tired of the dull and low sound? Most ukuleles often start giving a dull or low sound. The basic reasons behind this may be the damaged strings or any issue in the soundboard. In electric guitars, it maybe due to a fault in amp or the electric pickups.

Do you have to retune your uke after playing it several times? Old strings get loose afteryou play it for several minutes. It is a big headache to retune your ukulele after every few minuteUkulelen any such case, it is better to change the string of your ukulele.

Mostly, similar situations apply for guitar strings. So if you want to know when to change your guitar strings, chUkulele for these signs in your guitar.

Make sure that your strings are tuned correctly so you don’t have to worry about it while playing. While changing the ukulele strings, make sureUkulelee using the right strings. Low-quality strings that are not suitable for your ukulele can break easily, and they can’t produce a lively pitch and good sound effects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

strings faq

Why are ukulele strings in that order?

The G-C-E-A order of the strings is the most common and traditional. It is simple, and even a beginner ukulele player can easily remember it and play a few simple chords over it.

The G-C-E-A order is primarily a standard for specific ukuleles such as Soprano, Concert, and Tenor. The E and A are the bottom two strings while G is the topmost string.

What order are the strings on the ukulele?

Understanding the order of the strings on a ukulele is very simple. There are fUkuleleings on a uke, and they count as 1 to 4. The string closest to the ground whenUkulelee playing ukulele is the first string. Then comes the second string and after that the third string. The fourth string is the one nearUkulelethe ground.

Now the most common string notes of the ukulele are G-C-E-A. G note is on the fourth string, C is on thUkulele’string, E on the second string, and A on the first string. Simply, the G note is on the top, and the A is nearest to the floor.

How do you memorize ukulele strings?

The most traditional method to remember something is using acronyms. The acronyms are easy to remember, so we also made an acronym for the ukulele strings. Just remember the acronym that “Good Charlie Eats a lot.”

Now the numbering of the strings is from the top string (closest to your chin) when you are plaUkulele’sIt starts from G nearest to the ceiling), then C, then E, and at last, A ( closest to the floor). This is the best way to remember ukulele string names.

Why is the ukulele tuned GCEA?

Most ukuleles are tuned G-C-E-A because it is a standard for the ukulele. Another reason is that it produces sounds that are similar to traditional Hawaiian music. With this, you can also play songs on the ukulele that are commonly played on a guitar.

Final Words

Besides tuning a string, the brand and quality of the string also affect the ukulele’s sound. Some famous ukulele string brands are Aquila, Worth, D’Addario, and more.

strings out of order

Among these, the nylon strings and the D’Addario strings are preferred by most ukulelists. Fluorocarbon strings are also found in some ukuleles. Every string has its unique feel and sound, so we would recommend you should try different strings.

In the above article, we discussed “why the ukulele strings are out of order.” According to our guidance experience, after such a detailed analysis of the ukulele’s strings tunings, there should be no doubts left. However, if you are still confused somewhere, feel free to ask us.

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