UD#22 Moving Scales up the Neck – Blues in All Keys

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UD#22  Moving Scales up the Neck – Blues in All Keys
from Ukulele in the Dark
w/ Guido Heistek

NOTE: It will be useful to have a fretboard chart for this lesson. Here is a link to to a fretboard chart in case you don’t have one already.


Last week we looked at using the C Minor Pentatonic Scale to play a solo on a blues in the key of C. But what happens when we play a blues in a different key? Like G, A or D?


The great thing about a ukulele or a guitar is that it is a graphic instrument. Meaning that the shape of any chord, scale or melody that you learn in open position can be moved up the neck to play the same chord, scale or melody in a different key. Let me show you how that works.

NOTE: Open position is the first four frets of the ukulele including the open notes.

Last week we learned this scale: the C Minor Pentatonic Scale in open position:

Okay let’s move this scale up the neck!

Let’s move every note up two frets. (Two frets closer to the sound hole)

That gives us this:

The D Minor Pentatonic Scale

Notice that this scale now makes the same basic shape as the C Minor Pentatonic Scale but every note has been moved two frets up the neck. The starting note tells us the name of the scale. We are now playing a D minor pentatonic scale.


It can be useful to think of the scale as having a shape.

1. Here I’ve put stickers on my uke to show you the shape of the C Minor Pentatonic Scale:
(Note that the open C note is included in the shape.)

2. Here is the D Minor Pentatonic Scale which is the same shape just moved two frets up the neck of the uke:

You just need to move the same shape up and down the neck and you can play a Minor Pentatonic Scale in any key.

Just remember, the starting note tells you which key you are playing the scale in.

Let play a G minor pentatonic.

To play a G minor pentatonic scale we would take the same shape but start on a G note. To do this we have to start on the 7th fret of the C string. Here’s how it looks in tab:


Here’s a recording of me playing the the G Minor Pentatonic Scale over a 12-bar blues in G:

Practice the scale a few times and then see if you can play along.

I play the scale ascending and descending like this:

When you are ready, try playing along with the backing track:

When you feel comfortable enough, try making up your own solo!

Here are the chords in case you want to strum along or play with a friend.

I start with a two bar intro:

| G7                    |  D7                     |

Then these 12 bars repeat several times:

|| G7            | G7            | G7            | G7            |
| C7            | C7             | G7            | G7            |
| D7            | C7             | G7            | D7           ||

At the very ending I play a G7 instead of a D7 in the last bar,

That’s all for now,

The busy summer is coming up for me so I will only be able to make one newsletter per month until September. Hope you don’t miss me too much!


P.S. I am regularly adding new lessons to Ukulele in the Dark. Please subscribe to my mailing list below to receive every lesson right when it comes out. Be sure not to miss a thing!


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