Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele

From these six essential scale you can get through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.

PUBLISHED: Jan 2, 2005 • UPDATED: Jan 11, 2019 • LESSON CODE: UL04 • VISITS: 158

ukulele Subjects: scalesintermediateadvancedjazzbeginnerquickstartmodescore

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Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele

The six essential scales are: Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, and Ionian. From the six essential scales, you can get through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.

Here are the six essential scales, in open position, the key of C. Check out this lessons Videos to see the Ionian and Aeolian scales played on ukulele.

UL04_six_scales

What IS a Scale?

A scale is simply a collection of pitches or notes, not really a "this is a Jazz scale", "this is a Blues" or "this is a Rock scale". It's how a scale is used that really matters not its name.

Most music starts with a scale. The melody, chords, licks and riffs all can be related back to a particular scale or scales.

The Six Essential scales ( in no particulate order ):

  • Blues (Minor Pentatonic)
  • Pentatonic (Major Pentatonic)
  • Dorian (Minor)
  • Mixolydian (Dominant)
  • Aeolian (Natural Minor)
  • Ionian (Major)

There are two scales that can be the memorized and other essential scales referenced from these two. These two scales are the Major and Natural Minor scales. The Major and Natural Minor scales are traditional scales and common scales in all forms of contemporary music.

This lesson explores the Major and Natural Minor scales and their derivations.

QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingerings for Ukulele

This lesson uses the same page format as the QuickStart Scale Fingering series of books.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele 3 volumes.
C, G, and D tuning. (QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele)

The QuickStart Scale Fingerings Vol 1 covers the Blues, Pentatonic, Dorian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Ionian scales.

Traditional names for these scales are: Minor Pentatonic, Major Pentatonic, Minor, Dominant, Natural Minor and Major.

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Related Lessons

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Whole Tone Scale for `Ukulele - C Tuning • Updated: Jan 2, 2005

The Whole Tone scale is a symmetrical scale with an equal distance been each note or scale degree.

The Harmonized Major and Minor Scale Charts • Updated: Sep 5, 2011

The Major Scale or Ionian scale is a diatonic scale, made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first one octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables “Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, (Do)”, the “Do” in the parenthesis at the end being the octave of the root.

Learning The Blues Scale on `Ukulele • Updated: Feb 12, 2019

Learn the Blues ( Minor Pentatonic ) and Pentatonic ( Major Pentatonic ) scales on ukulele. A practical approach to learning theses two essential scales using the Blues. These five note scales, the Major Pentatonic and the Blues or Minor Pentatonic scales are two of the most common scales used in contemporary music. This lesson focuses on the blues scale in the common key of D.

What is the different between a Scale and a Mode? • Updated: Oct 14, 2019

The term scale and mode are used interchangeably, and in a strict theory sense, there is a big difference between a scale and a mode or modal scale. They are NOT the same, even if they are the same notes. A scale and mode can contain the same notes.

Harmonic Analysis - Modes Harmonized Chord Charts • Updated: Apr 6, 2012

Modes Harmonized Chord Charts used for while doing a Harmonic Analysis. Shows triads and 4-parts chords for ALL 15 major and minor keys.

Upper Partial Chord Tones • Updated: Feb 3, 2017

Upper Partials or extensions are the 9th, 11th, and 13ths of a chord. The 9, 11 and 13 can be altered chord tones depending on the type: examples b9, #9, #11, b13.

These numbers, the 9, 11 and 13 refer to the scale tone/chord tone relative to the major scale used for building all chords.

The Major Scale • Updated: Feb 7, 2020

Called the learning scale for a reason. The major scale is a great scale for learning how music and chords work. It’s a core scale from which a majority of your core, essential scales can be derived.

A Practical Approach to Exploring Scales • Updated: Dec 21, 2019

On ukulele there aren't many positions where you can play a one octave scale from the root to octave. An instrument like the guitar with the additional lower strings five and six allows one to play a one octave scale in multiple positions in the basic 4-fret, 4-finger position. On ukulele there might be one or two depending on the scale and the key - and whether your using a low string four tuning.

This lesson offers a practical approach to practicing your scales on ukulele.

Essential Jazz Scales for `Ukulele • Updated: Oct 5, 2012

After you mastering the six essentials scales below and start to explore more advanced styles of music, especially jazz. There are a few more scales that are needed to cover the broader harmonic palette that a typical jazz tune draws from.

Related Books

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QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, C Tuning
Updated: Jun 24, 2006

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, D Tuning
Updated: Jun 1, 2006

QuickStartScale Fingerings for Tenor and Baritone Ukulele, Volume I, G Tuning
Updated: Jan 4, 2020

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - C Tuning
Updated: Apr 19, 2017

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - D Tuning
Updated: Sep 23, 2009

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - G Tuning
Updated: Aug 23, 2009

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering
Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele at this time.

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Six Essential Ukulele Scales
Updated: Feb 25, 2020

The Six Essential Ukulele Scales series is based on the fingering principles from my series of books in the QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingerings series.

The six essential scales are: Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, and Ionian. These six can get you through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.

A scale is simply collection of pitches or notes, not really “this is a Jazz scale”, “this is a Blues” or “this is a Rock scale”. It’s how a scale is used that really matters.

Most music starts with a scale. The melody, chords, licks and riffs all can be related back to a particular scale or scales.

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