Once you feel comfortable soloing and improvising using the minor pentatonic scale, there will come a point where you want to move beyond the scale and into new territory. In my experience, most players look to make this move too quickly. They learn the shapes of the minor pentatonic scale, and then almost immediately start looking at new and additional scales that they can learn.
If you have followed some of the other Blues Club courses on the minor pentatonic scale, then I hope you appreciate just how much mileage you can get from the scale. It is little exaggeration to say that you could play nothing but the minor pentatonic scale for the rest of your blues guitar career, and still have a lifetime of challenging practice. If you are not convinced – or if you feel that you might benefit from digging deeper into the minor pentatonic scale, then I would recommend heading over to any of the following courses before continuing here:
- An Introduction To The Minor Pentatonic Scale
- Creating Solos With The Minor Pentatonic Scale
- How to Connect The 5 Pentatonic Shapes
- 5 Ways To Create A Killer Guitar Solo
Each of those will help you to maximise how you use the minor pentatonic scale. And this will help you to extract as much from the scale as you can, before you get started here.
Once you feel comfortable that you have explored the minor pentatonic scale in depth, there are a variety of benefits of adding to your repertoire and learning new scales and material. And as I will explain in much more detail throughout this course, learning the blues scale is one of the best first steps that you can take to move beyond the minor pentatonic scale. Throughout this course you will learn:
- What the blues scale is, and how it compares to the minor pentatonic scale
- The 5 shapes of the blues scale, and where you can find them on your fretboard
- How to use the blues scale in your solos to add variety and depth to your playing
- The differences between the minor and major blues scales
In my opinion, there are 3 main benefits of understanding these points and adding the blues scale to your repertoire. And these are as follows:
Firstly, and as the name suggests – the blues scale can help to create a distinctly bluesy feel in your improvisations. The reasons for this will become clear throughout the course. However it is worth noting that (perhaps unsurprisingly!) the blues scale is strongly associated with the blues. So if you are looking to create a bluesy feeling in your solos, learning the blues scale will definitely help you with that aim.
Secondly, learning the blues scale will grant you access to a greater variety of potential sounds in your playing. The minor pentatonic scale is so popular in part for two reasons. The first of these is that it is versatile. You can use the scale in a wide range of musical contexts, and it sounds great.
The second and connected reason – is that it is quite difficult to get into trouble with the minor pentatonic scale. Of course, not everything you play using the scale will sound good. But if you are simply playing the notes of the scale in the correct musical context, it is difficult to play something that sounds very harsh or dissonant.
For players starting out, this is a real benefit of the scale. However as you start to become more advanced, there will be times where you want to move beyond the comfort and consonance of the minor pentatonic scale. And this is where the blues scale comes into its own. As I will explain throughout, it will help you to create new sounds and feels in your playing. And these are sounds which you cannot access when using the minor pentatonic scale in isolation.
As noted above and in the video, one of the strengths of the minor pentatonic scale is its ease of use. If you are playing in the correct musical context, you can use the notes of the scale fairly indiscriminately. And you can do this without creating any harsh or dissonant sounds. As a result, you don’t have to use your ear or pay particularly close attention to the musical context in which you are playing.
This is not true of the blues scale. As I will explain in more detail, the blues scale offers the potential to create some quite angular and dissonant sounds. And if you want to use it effectively, you have to use your ear to assess when it is appropriate to utilise these new notes.
This will help you develop your musical ear and improve your musicianship. And this will be a great help as we start to explore more complicated and advanced material in the future.
So with that in mind then, let’s get into it! I’ll see you over in the next lesson, where we’ll look at the blues scale in more detail, and see how it compares with the minor pentatonic scale 😁