I've bought a new ukelele and it's been quite a while since I've last held a musical instrument (a year, maybe), so it might be possible that I'm just quite rusty with toning a guitar/ukelele.

I tried toning it with a help of an online tuner, and it does tune quite well after I do it. However, give it 1-3 minutes, one or more of the strings will be out of tune.

Is this something normal for ukeleles or newly bought string instruments in general or do I have to worry and get a new one?

  • 4
    I thought the Real Question (TM) was 'can a ukelele ever be kept in tune at all, and how could you tell?' :-) Oct 28, 2014 at 16:57
  • 2
    There is a paucity of levity on this site. I wish contributors wouldn't be so darned serious all the time. Should ukelele questions be posed on a music site...
    – Tim
    Oct 28, 2014 at 17:17
  • 1
    Does your ukulele have geared tuners, or friction tuners?
    – Ben Miller
    Oct 28, 2014 at 23:48
  • Related: music.stackexchange.com/q/1348/28
    – user28
    Oct 31, 2014 at 5:43

2 Answers 2


It's often the nature of the beast for stringed instruments. The strings need to settle in, sometimes there are too many turns of string around the tuning peg, which makes bedding in take an age. Nylon or metal strings will do this. Try pulling the string, along its length,for a few minutes. Then re-tune. It will settle in eventually, unless there's a problem with the neck.But then, you'll probably have to re-tune it after playing it for a while, and check every time you pick it up for the next practice.Try to keep it in the same room, away from sunny windows and radiators. Changes of humidity and temperature are not good for tuning, and indeed, stringed instruments in general.If the problem persists for more than a week or two, it's back to the shop.

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    I have seen cheap ukeleles where the tuning pegs won't even hold still, so although your advice is correct and hopefully fixes the problem it might also be necessary to find some kind of thicker lubricant to put in their gears to add a bit of friction. Oct 28, 2014 at 17:45

Yes, very normal.

And it's not only with a new ukulele, but anytime you change the strings.

The knot at the bridge end of the nylon strings needs to tighten up. You'll get it in tune, but the knot will slip and the tuning will go out.

Just keep tuning/tightening the string. A week from now it will keep its tune much better.

If you have friction tuning pegs, it is possible that your strings are turning your pegs loose. You'll find a small screw on the end of the tuner knob. If you think that your tuning pegs are turning loose, tighten the screw to the point where you can still turn it to tune, but it is tight enough that the strings won't turn the peg on their own.

If you have geared tuners, you don't have to worry about that.

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