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: May 14, 2014

ukulele | Subjects: scalesintermediateadvancedjazzbeginnerquickstartmodescore


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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.

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.

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

UL04_six_scales

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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Whole Tone Scale for `Ukulele - C Tuning

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

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

Learn the Blues ( Minor Pentatonic ) and Pentatonic ( Major Pentatonic ) scales on ukulele.

What is the different between a Scale and a Mode?

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

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

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.

The Major Scale

Not 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. There are 15 major scales.

A Practical Approach to Exploring Scales

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.

Essential Jazz Scales for `Ukulele

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.

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QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, C Tuning

This book is out of print and has been replaced by the individual scale books covering each scale with additional information.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, D Tuning

This book is out of print and has been replaced by the individual scale books covering each scale with additional information.

QuickStartScale Fingerings for Tenor and Baritone Ukulele, Volume I, G Tuning

This book is out of print and has been replaced by the individual scale books covering each scale with additional information.

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - C Tuning

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard. Learning the notes of your instrument allows you the flexibility of not having to remember so many shapes. There are simply way too many chords, scale and notes patterns, and shapes to remember. It all comes down the notes.

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - D Tuning

If your goal is to finally learn the names of the notes on the ukulele fingerboard. Then Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - D Tuning is your answer. Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - D Tuning, has a step by step approach to finally mastering the ukulele fingerboard.

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - G Tuning

If your goal is to finally learn the names of the notes on the ukulele fingerboard. Then Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - G Tuning is your answer. Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - G Tuning, has a step by step approach to finally mastering the ukulele fingerboard.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard.

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