How To Play The Blues Scale Right

Learn how to play the blues scale properly.

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Ultimate Guitar
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To begin, I'll tab out the basic "E" Blues Scale. We'll use this scale throughout this entire lesson.

e---------------------------0-3-]
B-----------------------0-3-----]
G------------------0-2----------]
D-------------0-2---------------]
A--------0-1-2------------------]
E----0-3------------------------]
Alright. That is the "E" Blues Scale. Feel free to transpose as you like.

What I like to do when I play the blues scale is to add in some extra notes. Even though they aren't normally tabbed, these are what I like to add:

e---------------------------0-3-5-]
B-----------------------0-3-------]
G------------------0-2------------]
D-------------0-2-----------------]
A--------0-1-2--------------------]
E----0-3-5------------------------]
Adding those notes give a little bit of expression when you play.

Then, if you want to make it sound good, mess around with it alot. I will go from the fourth string to the sixth string, to the first string. Just keep messing around with it!

Now, if you want to take it up an octave that is quite alright. But, let me warn you. It may not sound good in certain parts of songs. Pick which octave you want first, and then switch to the other octave when you KNOW it will sound good.

When learning to play the blues, you may want to try backing tracks, where you can put in your own music, and how the bass and drums going in the background. I'll put the links at the bottom of the article. When you play backing tracks, keep in mind what is going on in the background. Don't play some insane solo in the middle of a ballad, and don't play slow in an over 120 BPM song. It just doesn't sound right. Also, check the key of the track, and make sure your guitar is tuned perfectly. It is very important to be right on the money with your tuning.

Anyways, learn how to improvise and you will be on your way to become a guitar legend! What are you waiting for? Go get your guitar!

Backing Tracks:

www.dolphinstreet.com www.guitarbt.com (I think this place works... not sure) www.torvund.net

Oh, by the way, if you don't mind spending a little money, go to iTunes and buy the mp3s for $0.99 or $1.29. You don't even need an iPod!

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AlanHB
    I'll leave a comment for you mate. Although you have outlined the E minor penatonic in it's first position (or G shape for the CAGED method), the lesson is lacking is many areas. Firstly, those "extra notes" you add, they're still part of the E minor penatonic scale. The 5th fret, low E string note is the A note, which you also play on the open A string, and the 5th fret on the high E string, an A note again, but two octaves higher. You're also missing a note in this position - on the G string you're missing an A# (ie. 3rd fret). It would help if you told people why the scale doesn't sound good sometimes over certain chords - here's a hint, it's because it's not in the key of the song. Additionally, if you take the entire scale up an octave, it should sound no different than in the original position (ie. your diagram), because you're playing the same notes.