I was wondering if you could give me any help on how to use the Aeolian mode, or natural minor scale for blues solo's. The reason why I ask is because when I try to use it for solo's, for example in the key of A or E, I often find it difficult to come up with licks and improvisations. Coudl you give me some pointers on where to go please or what to do!!!

Thank you!
What chords are you playing over? Which natural minor scale are you trying to use? If it's a basic major blues (with all dominant 7th chords), the natural minor scale will not work that well over it. Then again, if it's a minor blues (with all minor 7th chords), it works just fine. But you can't just force a scale over chords.

The best way to find new licks is not to noodle around with a scale. The best way is to listen to a lot of blues and learn what other blues guitarists do (and not just guitarists - you can also try learning solos played on other instruments). Another thing is just coming up with licks in your head and singing them and then finding them on your guitar. This way you will not be limited by scales, chords or anything like that.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.


Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Over a major key I don't think I'd use the natural minor. The b6 is waaay too minor sounding go over a major chord. b3 is fine, but if you use b3 and 2 sequentially it tends to invoke that dark, dramatic minor key sound. With major blues, I'd stick to major and minor scales/arpeggios and pentatonics.

Over a minor key, the natural minor sounds great. Overdoing the half steps can spoil the bluesy feel, but scale degrees 2 and b6 add a definitive minor sound.

Look up some backing tracks on youtube in major and minor blues and try different approaches.
Last edited by cdgraves at Oct 30, 2016,
You can call the natural minor scale (group of notes) Aeolian, but they're not going to function modally.

Minor pentatonic works great and avoids scale degrees 2 and b6.

Minor pentatonic works regardless of if it's major or minor. There are a few alterations you might want to make (b3 over the V chord is a clash like cdgraves mentioned), but otherwise, it gives the 7#9 sound.
yeah pretty much what everyone said- not sure i'd use it over a major blues. If you don't have enough notes with what you're currently using, 1 2 b3, 3 4 b5 5 6 b7 (and probably major 7th as well, at least as a passing tone) of the overall key should work over a major blues, at least if you use your ears to avoid the odd clash as mentioned above.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Mrpiggles4 the short answer is that it only works over a minor blues and you really need to be careful with the 6th note - don't emphasise it on the first chord( E min for example), use it in passing. Then accentuate it over the second chord ( Amin)if it's minor - it will outline the chord change and always sound great.

A great approach is to play the following scale instead of aolian : 1,2, b3, 4,5,b7 - those notes basically always sound great so try forming lines around those. Any fast lines will sound great.
^ This. Aeolian is not a blues scale, unless the blues is in a minor key. Even then, dorian might sound better on the key chord.

Eg. in a blues in A minor, the F note is only really going to work well on the Dm chord. It's dissonant (and un-bluesy) on the Am or E (or Em). Either avoid the F altogether, or try F# on the Am (it might work, bend it up to G if not). Otherwise stick with minor pent, adding the 9th (B) for colour, and b5 (Eb) for extra blues flavour.