Set Up and Banjo Uke Tuning

Congratulations on your purchase of one of the most fun instruments you can own.

Designed in The Bay of Islands, New Zealand, its sound will brighten any occasion & certainly raise the level of enthusiasm among other players. But first you’ll need to understand a few things about the Banjo Uke SideKick & get it ready to play.

SideKick Set Up

The bridge comes flat, held in place under the strings. It needs to be stood on its feet. The position is critical to the sound and tuning of your Banjo Uke SideKick.

The 12th fret is midway between the nut and the bridge. Simply take the measurement from the nut (the white support bar below the tuners) to the 12th fret, & then use this same distance to pencil mark the head (drum) of the banjo.

This is where the bridge should be placed.

You can now tune to “C” or “D” tuning & start to play.

As you may have noticed there are brackets holding the banjo head under tension.

  1. If you want a brighter sound you can tighten these with a household screwdriver. Make sure you only do it a half turn at a time. If you wish to have a more “tubby” or funky sound simply loosen them.
  2. It is best to start with one & then go to the opposing one on the other side of the head. This ensures the tension is even across the membrane. Even though the membrane is very tough plastic (mylar), you should always exercise caution when tightening.
  3. Each player has a string height that’s most comfortable for them. If you feel that yours are set high & that if after a little playing you choose to lower them, simply push each string aside on the nut &, using a fine file, increase the depth of the slots to suit you.

The neck is bolted to the rim. If it should loosen over time just tighten with a screwdriver.

You can get different sounds and tones depending on how you hold your BanjoUke SideKick. Close to your body muffles the sound & further away lets its voice out. It’s easy to do & fun to utilize the different tones while you play. Banjo players have been doing this & other things for many years to change the sounds, including stuffing rags & foam into the back. Relax, use your imagination & we know you’ll have great fun.

Tuning Pegs First Time Set Up

Friction tuning pegs, those on your new Banjo Uke, are the original tuners for the banjo. We think they suit our instrument well.

As you play you’ll only need small adjustments to keep them pitch perfect, and once you’re used to them, you’ll be amazed how quick and easy they are.

They’ll need a little attention to put them in tune.

When you initially take your Banjo Uke out of the box, tune the strings, probably to GCEA.

When you’ve done that, one at a time, take hold of each white plastic turner and, using the Phillps head screwdriver, tighten the screw in the middle as hard as you can – REALLY hard.

Then rotate each white plastic tuner half a turn tighter and leave for an hour.

After an hour, re-tune. Then turn each white plastic tuner half a turn, check that the center screw is still tight, and leave for half an hour.

Keep doing this second re-tune until the strings hold their note without adjustment.

This could take some time, as the strings need to stretch and settle into their note.

From then on, before you play and before you tune, use the screwdriver to make sure the screws are in tight.

Happy strumming


Picture of BanjoUke SideKick tuning pegs