8-String Ukulele Tuning

An 8-string ukulele has every string doubled and creates a big, giant, rich sound. It’s similar to a 12-string guitar with a course for each string.

A course is two strings that are treated as one. They are played at the same time and usually tuned to the same note.

If you examine the string layout on a classic Kamaka HF-38, you can see that they are grouped in twos. Each pair of strings takes the place of a single string on a normal ukulele.

8 string ukulele bridge close up

Here it is in a strumming setting as implemented by Nā Hoa.

The nice thing about the 8-string is that its tuning is pretty much locked in to convention. Nine times our of ten, an 8-string ukulele is tuned gG cC EE AA.

To break that down, the top course is tuned high-g and low-G – with the high-g closest to the ceiling. The C course is tuned with a high-c and a normal C – with the high-c closest to the ceiling. Both the E and A courses are tuned in unison to the normal GCEA pitches.

Reversing the strings in the G course is probably the most common variant to the 8-string tuning you’ll see.
8 string ukulele tuning chart
An 8-string is usually tenor sized, but can sometimes be a baritone. In this case, the tuning is dropped down to dD gG BB EE.

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