Utilizing And Understanding The Blues Scale

author: JacobCaine date: 06/07/2011 category: soloing
rating: 8.2 / votes: 5 
Okay! Blues Scale! Like the name suggests. The blues scale is useful In Blues rock of course! But it is another versatile widely used scale, Just like the Pentatonic minor from my previous lesson. In fact the Blues scale Is basically the same thing as a pentatonic minor + 1 note. You add a flatted Fifth to the Pentatonic Minor scale. Heres a diagram explaining how to get from a Minor scale.. to a pentatonic minor scale.. To the blues scale. Minor Scale In Am
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (8)
A B C D E F G (A)
Pentatonic Minor scale In Am Since you only Use the Root(1), Minor Third(3), Fourth(4), Fifth(5), And Minor 7th notes(7).
1 3 4 5 7 (8)
A C D E G (A)
To get a blues scale from this formula.. You just add a Flatted Fifth note(5b) to the formula above. So 1 3 4 5b 5 7 The flatted 5th note in this case would be E flat since it is between the 4th note( Which is a D) and the 5th note( which is an E) So technically you can call it a D sharp as well. These two notes are En-harmonics which mean they are the same note Just with two different names. Anyways..
1 3 4 5b 5 7(8)
A C D Eb E G(A)
Those notes make up the A blues scale. Which can be played in the Key of A minor/C major. I suggest finding a BLUES backing track on YouTube in the key of A minor.. And practice playing this scale and messing around with it over the backing music. After all that is why you are here right? to learn how to Solo and improvise. Anyways. Here is a tab for the Aforementioned scale. Ascending and Descending.. As you can tell.. it is very similar to the A minor pentatonic scale.
--------------------------5---8---5------------------------------------------
---------------------5---8---------8---5-------------------------------------
----------------5-7-8-------------------8-7-5--------------------------------
-----------5---7-----------------------------7---5---------------------------
------5-6-7---------------------------------------7-6-5----------------------
-5---8-------------------------------------------------8---5-----------------
Once again this is only One Position of the scale.. In my next lesson on Blues scales i will include another Position and get you started playing it. To get the most out of these lessons you must experiment on your own and get a feel for these scales. Like I said earlier.. Just improvise along to backing tracks on YouTube. Its fun and very good practice to help you find your own "Sound" or playing style! Anyways.. here is lick. This is one with a good utilization of the blues note. I throw in a chromatic passage to get that bluesy effect.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-7^7p5-5~--------------------------------------------------------------------
------7--7p5-5h7p5----------7------------------------------------------------
------------7-----7-6-5-6-5--------------------------------------------------
---------------------------8-------------------------------------------------
Alright I'm not going to go over exactly how to play it.. By now you should have developed a technique.. but if you can't play it or are confused about it.. I Will have a sound up on my profile as soon as possible Of me playing it. This is the most technically challenging lick i have so far because of the quick chromatic passages and utilization of precise vibrato and bending and all of the hammer ons and pull offs i use.. Anyways Enjoy. Hope you learned something :p Check out my other lessons if you haven't seen them. Also check out my original song "Heaven Sent" on my profile. It is a good example of what you can do with the Pentatonic, Blues, and Natural minor scale in the Key of C# Minor/E major.
More JacobCaine lessons:
+ Pentatonic Licks. Lesson 2 Soloing 05/31/2011
+ Pentatonic Licks Soloing 05/27/2011
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