Forever Site Access Membership for $149 $279 Get This Amazing Deal Today!














Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele

Six essential scale that can get through a wide variety of traditional and contemporary music.

PUBLISHED: Jan 2, 2005 UPDATED: Apr 3, 2020 • VIEWS: 493 • LESSON CODE: UL04

Instruments: ukulele Subjects: scalesintermediateadvancedjazzbeginnerquickstartmodescore

This Download is NOT part of your membership level. Sign-up for a Site Access or Upgrade your current access level to download this PDF or your can purchase a copy for download.

Each PDF file is a formatted high resolution file that prints out great. You'll need Adobe Reader or a PDF viewing application to view your PDF file.

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.


C Blues (Minor Pentatonic) C Eb F G Bb C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual scales.

C Pentatonic (Major) C D E F G A B C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual scales.

C Dorian (Minor) C D Eb F G A Bb C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual scales.

C Mixolydian C D E F G A Bb C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual scales.

C Aeolian (Natural Minor) C D Eb F G Ab Bb C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual scales.

C Ionian (Major) C D E F G A B C`

User the audio to compare the sounds of the individual 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.

End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Download the lesson's PDF file for the latest, complete and most up-to-date version of the lesson. As well as additional information not presented on-line.

Members and Active Students need to sign-in
to download the premium lesson PDFs for the complete lesson.

Related Lessons

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

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: Apr 6, 2020

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.

The Major Scale • Updated: Feb 11, 2016

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 • 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: Apr 6, 2020

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

Related Books for Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele at this time.

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

A highly organized, efficient system of scale fingerings for C tuning.

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

Six essential scales for ukulele using D tuning.

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

Six essential scales for G tuned ukuleles.

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

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard. - C tuning

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

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard - D tuning.

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

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard - G tuning.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering
Updated: Dec 31, 2019

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard.

Related Songs

Related Songs for Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele at this time.

Any Song Will Do
Updated: Dec 7, 2015

When any song here can be used for the concepts in the lessons.

Related Lesson Series

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

Blues Chord Progressions
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

From A to Z - These are the 26 blues chord progressions, extracted from my book Blues Chord Progressions for Ukulele from A to Z for use with on-line and private students.

QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series are a concise, well organized series of books and lessons ideal for any ukulele, guitar or fretted string player beginning to explore scales and arpeggios. Unlike so many other instruction books on the market, QuickStart Scale and Arpeggio Fingering Series keeps a sharp focus on the six critical scales, their fingerings and their related chords. All material is covered in every key.

The Blues Progression in Common Keys
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

This series of common blues chord progressions uses the seventh chord vs. a triad to explore the blues chord progression.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Six Essential Scales for `Ukulele at this time.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Scale Worksheet
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Site Access Plans for

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.

If your anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overload with everything on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once and your done.

The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee that is more material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That along is more than the cost of this plan.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!


Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II.
33 years ago.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!” has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often.