L7: 5 Positions of F Major

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In order to complete this level you’ll need to read this excellent article by Brett McQueen of UkuleleTricks.com. Concentrate on learning the patterns on strings 1, 2 & 3 (A, E & C).

NOTES: See the notes section on L5: 5 Positions of C Major.

CHALLENGE

Earn your Soloing Level 7 patch by demonstrating the following:

  • After printing out some staff/tab paper (pdf), write out each of the five playing positions of the F major scale. Write the appropriate fret numbers on the tab below the staff (numbers should only appear on strings 1, 2 & 3).
  • Using the above work as a reference, create an exercise that incorporates all five playing positions of the F major scale. Write/tab this exercise on staff/tab paper. Play your scale exercise, saying the names of the notes as you play. Tempo (speed) does not matter, but keep a steady beat.
  • Write/tab an original melody of at least 16 bars using the the F major scale. Incorporate at least three of the major scale positions. Play this melody, keeping a steady beat.

The Extra Mile

You’ve now learned scale positions for three of the most common keys: C, G & F. If you’d like to become familiar with other major scales, repeat the steps above for other common ‘ukulele’ keys: D, A and Bb. The other six keys are less common (E, B, F#, Eb, Ab, & Db), but if you plan to become a proficient Jazz player you’ll need to know these as well as other modes and scales in all twelve keys (see the Chord-scale system and Jazz scale on Wikipedia for more info on Jazz improv). However, for the use of pop, folk and rock (with the exception of progressive rock), you’re probably good with the six most common major scales (in fact, you’ll be well ahead in the game).

Of course, major scales are not the only kind of scales used in popular music genres. Minor scales crop up occassionaly, and Mixolydian modes are a staple of certain rock styles. We’ll discuss these in future levels.