What do you call the strings on your ukulele? This seems like such a simple question, but unfortunately, it’s not so easy to answer. Ukulele strings can have many names, but there are two primary methods of naming them.
The first, and simplest naming convention is to use numbers: you can call them the first, second, third and fourth string. But wait, there is some confusion here as well. When holding the ukulele, the first string is at the bottom and the fourth string is at the top! Facing the fretboard of ukulele, the strings are numbered from right to left – exactly the opposite of what you’d expect.
In this photo, the player is fretting the first string with her index finger. Her thumb is about to pluck the third string. Clear as mud?
Here’s a more musical way to get this across:
- “My” – Fourth String
- “Dog” – Third String
- “Has” – Second String
- “Fleas” – First String
Using the Notes to Name the Strings
Another way to identify the ukulele strings by name is by the note each string is tuned to. Again, this can be a bit confusing because there are multiple ways a ukulele can be tuned. But for our purposes, let’s assume your soprano, concert or tenor ukulele uses the “standard” tuning of GCEA. Using the example above, you can name the strings as follows:
- “My” – Fourth String – the G string (no giggling!)
- “Dog” – Third String – the C string
- “Has” – Second String – the E string
- “Fleas” – First String – the A string
In the photo above, the woman has her index finger fretting the A string and her thumb is about to plug the C string.
Aaaand if you have a baritone ukulele the “standard” tuning changes from GCEA to DGBE. So you get the following on the baritone ukulele:
- “My” – Fourth String – the D string
- “Dog” – Third String – the G string (no giggling!)
- “Has” – Second String – the B string
- “Fleas” – First String – the E string
Hopefully this helps straighten out what to use for ukulele string names when talking shop with your ukulele peeps.