Playing scales on a ukulele is like being introduced to your best friend’s girl friend’s best friend that has a “great” personality.
Why? Well because you can so rarely pull off all 8 tones from lowest to highest. You can always find all eight tones but you can rarely play them all from root to root in a ascending or descending pattern IN ONE HAND POSITION (Think Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do).
Whats a hand position? It’s usually a section of the neck that you can get your hand on and stretch your fingers out comfortably. I usually shoot for a max of 5 frets. So, on a 12 fret instrument we only really have about 3 hand positions maybe four with a cut away, maybe 5 with a cut away long scale baritone!
I have attached my Scale work chart to this lesson. It will be important for you be able to play all of the scales listed on this page. No ANGST.. take a close look Spanky is being real good to you! I am sure you will figure out why I think this is easy.
Okay real important steps about practicing scales.
1 Practice the scales at first in one position at a time. They are marked by a red or blue box
2 Be sure that you know where the root of the scale is. Marked by a blue dot with the letter in the middle. You should actually start with this note.
3 Practice in TIME… Use a metronome .. Tick Tock
4 Practice with good form, be ergonomicaly responsible. Keep straight wrists, and good posture
5 HAVE FUN
When have you mastered it?
When you can easily see where the positions connect and you can navigate thru the positions with out getting lost. No… I am not kidding!
Here is a link to the a few scales written in C major and A minor:
Wanna do more?
Practice two or more positions at the same time. Go up thru the two positions one way then work yourself back down another way.
Each scale can be transposed by moving the hand position or pattern up or down frets. Move it up two and C becomes D move it down two and C becomes Bb.
Maybe its a good time for you to be able to identify where all the notes are on the ukulele. It sounds daunting doesn’t it? but its not! Here is a cool trick that got me thru it. First know the note names of the open strings. Then just move up the neck and label each fret with the next possible name. Skip the flats and sharps at first.
So if your on the G string two frets up and you have A, another two frets and you have B another two frets and you have…. C SHARP!
Oh dude classic blunder! You have to remember that between B and C and E and F there is only one fret (half step) not two frets (hole step) but knowing this little rule and you’re set. You can start with the open string (be sure to count the nut as your first fret) and rock right up the fret board.
Here is a little check for yourself.
Open G C E A
Fret 2 A D F# B
Fret 5 C F A D
Fret 7 D G B E
Fret 12 G C E A
Other than Fret 5 do recognize those collections of notes?
Fret 2 is the D tuning for the ukulele,
Fret 7 is Barri tuning,
Fret 12 is the octave (so C tuning)
Cool huh.. Easy sha..meeeeazy…
Here is blank fret board paper for GCEA tuning:
Here is some blank fret board paper for DGBE tuning:
Peace, Love and the sound of the Ukulele!!