The Blues Scale: The Easiest Way To Add Variety To Your Guitar Solos
What Is The Blues Scale?
- The blues scale is almost identical in form to the minor and major pentatonic scales
- The only difference in each scale is the addition of one extra note
- This note is commonly referred to as the ‘blue note’
- There is both a minor blues scale and a major blues scale
The Shapes Of The Blues Scale
When To Use The Blues Scale
- You can play the minor blues scale over both a minor and a major chord progression.
- You can only play the major blues scales over a major chord progression
- It is best to avoid playing the major blues scale over the IV chord of a 12 bar blues progression. This is particularly the case if the IV chord is a dominant 7 chord like A7, D7 etc. This is because the major blues scale contains certain notes that clash with those in the IV chord. This creates dissonance, and not in a pleasant bluesy sounding way.
How To Solo Effectively Using The Blues Scale
- Play an A minor blues backing track (I chose this one)
- Pick any note that appears in the A minor pentatonic scale and play it repeatedly over the progression
- Pick another note in the A minor pentatonic scale and do the same thing
You’ll notice that whichever note you play fits perfectly over the backing track. There is no dissonance whatsoever.
Now try the exact same exercise but only play the notes of the blues scale. You should notice that they sound bad, and create a sound that is harsh on your ear.