Please explain uke scales to an ex-guitarist


Dec 7, 2012
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Hi all,

I´m having hard time grasping how to go on with playing scales on the uke. With guitar it´s straight forward because the strings get higher in pitch in a continuous order as you move from low to high, but with uke and the high-G string it´s different... how do you go about it? Do you play only the strings 1-3 or what? :confused:
In layman terms:

That's why it's called re-entrant tuning. You are expecting the string nearest to you to be the lowest in pitch, leading to the highest as you pluck toward the floor. With the ukulele tuned gCEA, that near string sounds out of place and you must "re-enter" the low-to-high pitch pattern.

Ukuleles have half and whole note steps associated with frets on each string, holding with the pattern of a guitar. So that part doesn't change. There are several UU threads showing the various scales and such.

Where the ukulele is made simpler (via standard tuning) is when strumming chords. With the basic chords, we hit every string every time. No need to remember where your strum hand has been.
Thanks for the tips and links. I guess I´m just wondering why would I want to go for those higher notes from the 4th string when I can play them from the 1st and 2nd? The high 4th string gives the uke it´s charasteristic sound when playing chords (yes?) but when playing single notes (scales) I don´t see the idea of using more than three (c,e,a) strings, at least most of the time.
Do you play only the strings 1-3 or what? :confused:
When it comes to scales: Basically yes, though it depends a bit on the piece of music you're playing. There is no need to always play open g string instead of 3rd fret e string.
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