Ukulele Scales Part 1: Major Scale

When I did my ukulele scales posts there were a few people who didn’t have a clue what it was all about. So, I thought I’d go back to basics and cover it from there.

The most common scale in all music is the major scale. You’ll hear it all over the place (pretty much every nursery rhyme, Christmas carol and national anthem uses it) and it’s the basis of all chords.

The major scale creates a particular pattern on the ukulele. This pattern can be moved up and down the neck depending on which key you play in.

C Major Scale

The most important note to concentrate on is the root note – the first one played and the last one played. For example, The C major scale starts on the open C string and ends on the A string, third fret. The pattern looks like this on the fretboard:

ukulele scale C

The tab looks like this:

C major ukulele scale tab

And sounds like this:

There are lots of ways you can use the major scale. One is for improvising a solo. In the following snippet, I’m improvising a little melody with the chords C, F and G and using only notes in the major scale pattern.

D Major Scale

For the D major scale, you use exactly the same pattern but start on a D note (C string second fret) and end on a D note (A string, fifth fret). Giving you this:

ukulele d scale tab

d major ukulele scale tab

F Major Scale

Moving that pattern up and down the fretboard will give you a major scale wherever you use it. Whichever key you want to play the major scale in, find that note on the C string and start the pattern from there.

For example, to get the F major scale, you start the scale pattern on the fifth fret of the c string which gives you this pattern:

ukulele scale f major tab

This tab:

f major scale ukulele tab

And sounds like this:

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  1. louise langdon August 12th, 2014 4:30 am

    O.K. I’ve located all the notes on the Uke necks. When I read a music sheet, I have no problem locating the notes on my Uke AS LONG AS THE NOTES ARE ON THE STAFF. My problem is, when the notes are ABOVE AND BELOW THE STAFF, I don’t know which string or fret to apply these notes on. For example, let’s say a B note BELOW the staff – which string and which fret to I chose on the Uke? Could you supply a complete TAB indicating the notes above and below the staff???

  2. Woodshed August 12th, 2014 6:46 am

    louise: I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to. A B below the staff would need a low-G ukulele.

  3. Ben June 9th, 2015 1:10 pm

    What do you do with your right-hand in all of this? Are there any rules/patterns to follow picking repeated notes on one string?

  4. Woodshed June 10th, 2015 8:57 am

    Ben: I think I was just using my thumb. But use whatever. This post is focussed on the left hand.

  5. Irish Tom July 13th, 2015 9:19 pm

    I salute you sir! Like someone said above, it all seems so easy once you have the right person explaining it to you.

  6. Woodshed July 13th, 2015 10:29 pm

    Irish Tom: Thanks very much! I’m really glad it helped.

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