UD#90 A High-Tech Uke Tip
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek
You Use Your Tuner for What?
I was working with a student the other day, and I noticed that she kept glancing at her tuner during the lesson. I asked her what she was doing. She said,
“I am trying to see what notes I am playing.”
Interesting! I had never thought of using a tuner that way. Your tuner can tell you the name of any note you are playing, anywhere on the neck of the uke. Using your tuner this way can help you learn the notes on the fretboard.
If you play the second fret on the C string your tuner will tell you that it is a D note.
And, if you play the second fret on the A string, your tuner will tell you it’s a B note.
NOTE: The two examples above are in standard GCEA tuning.
Choose an area of the fretboard where you know the notes fairly well. Usually, the first four frets are most familiar. Test yourself. Play a note on any string. See if you can name the note. Look at the tuner to verify that you’ve got it right!
It’s like having a little “note coach” by your side at all times.
This is very helpful if you don’t have a fretboard chart around, which can often happen!
A couple of things to remember:
1. Some tuners have different modes: Ukulele, Guitar, Violin or Chromatic. If the tuner is in Ukulele mode it will only work for the notes G, C, E and A. In CHROMATIC MODE it will work properly with any note. So, set your tuner to Chromatic mode if you want to use it as a note coach. If your tuner doesn’t have modes it is probably in chromatic mode permanently, so you are good to go. Chromatic mode is sometimes called “ALL NOTES” mode on some tuners I have seen.
2. Most tuners only use sharps to name notes (F#, A#, C# etc.). If you name a note Bb (B flat) and the tuner says it is A# (A sharp), you are not wrong. A# is the same note at Bb, so you are right!
Here is a ukulele fretboard chart with some useful info about note naming which may be helpful in your adventures. Click the image for a downloadable version. Good luck!
That’s all for this week’s newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it. This is my first newsletter for 2019. For a variety of reasons I’ve been away from it. It’s good to be back! Drop me a line if you have a request for future newsletters.
All the best in your playing,
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