Tuning to Thirds
As is mentioned above, the most common soprano ukulele tuning is GCEA. In this tuning, C is the lowest note, then E, then G, then A. This means that a lot of folks, myself included, learn to tune the string to one another in a rather strange way:
- the E is tuned to the 4th fret of the C string
- the G is tuned to the 3rd fret of the E string
- the A is tuned to the 2nd fret of the G string
The other night, my friend Tori pointed out this is completely unnecessary, because the GCEA tuning is actually tuned in 3rds (almost the same as a guitar). For this reason, you can tune thus:
- the C is tuned to the 5th fret of the G string
- the E is tuned to the 5th fret of the C string
- the A is tuned to the 5th fret of the E string
which makes things a bit easier. It is a bit stranger, since the C you play on the G string will be an octave higher, but it is just as effective once you get used to it.
Making sense of the fingerboard is a whole lot easier, too.
mathematics meltdown: C is five frets from G but not a third. E is a third above a C but not 5 frets. And A is a fourth above E, not a third.