Step By Step Lesson For Easily Deriving A Blues Scale

author: Zach Eapen date: 05/04/2012 category: guitar scales and modes

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Hi Ultimate Guitar Mates, This is my very first lesson in this forum and please do let me know your feedback on this lesson by leaving a comment. In this lesson I will show you how to derive a C Blues Scale in a step by step fashion from a Major Scale, and for that I will be using a C Major Scale for explaining all the scales.
Major Scale Formula 
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Whole Step - Whole Step - Half Step - Whole Step - Whole Step - Whole Step - Half Step
Whole Step is equivalent to 2 frets or 2 semi tones (a.k.a. Whole Tone) Half Step is equivalent to 1 fret or 1 semi tone (a.k.a. Semi Tone) And by applying this formula, we can easily build the C Major Scale.
C Major Scale 
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C - D - E - F - G - A - B
What is a Blues Scale? A Blues Scale is nothing but a Minor Pentatonic Scale with a raised 4th note (or a lowered 5th note) added to it. So the next step would be to derive a Minor Pentatonic Scale from this Major Scale (in this case, the C Major Scale)
Minor Pentatonic Scale Formula
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R - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7
R = Root Note or the first note of the Major Scale b3 = Flattened 3rd note of a Major Scale b7 = Flattened 7th note of a Major Scale Flattening just means lowering a note by a Half Step and is denoted by "b" in musical notations.
C Minor Pentatonic Scale
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C - Eb - F - G - A
As I said earlier, Blues Scale is nothing but a Minor Pentatonic Scale with an added raised(sharpened('#') 4th note (or a lowered(flattened('b'))5th note) to it. Hence, we get the blues scale formula as
Blues Scale Formula
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R - b3 - 4 - 4#(b5)- 5 - b7
The added 4#(b5) note is known as the "blues note" which gives you that bluesy feel to your licks and solos.
C Blues Scale
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C - Eb - F - F# - G - A
That's it! We derived the blues scale from a Major Scale. So essentially we learned 3 different things here, deriving a Major Scale, a Minor Pentatonic Scale and ultimately a Blues Scale. Now you can apply all the above formulas to derive different Major Scales, Minor Pentatonic Scales and Blues Scales, pretty easily. I hope you found this lesson easy to read and understand. And Thanks a lot for stopping by!
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