Blues Guitar Scale : Theory And Practice

Blues Guitar Scale

The blues guitar scale is much like the pentatonic scale, but with the addition of an important note, the diminished fifth, aka flat five or flatted fifth. For example, the A minor pentatonic scale includes the notes A, C, D, E, and G. The A minor blues scale contains the notes A, C, D, Eb, E, and G. Notice that the diminished fifth note, Eb, is added to the equation. Therefore, the scale is a sort of “hexatonic” scale that involves the use of the pentatonic scale plus an additional diminished fifth.

The Blue Note

The blue note, sometimes called the worried note or the devil’s note, is the diminished fifth note used for expressive purposes in blues. The alteration is usually a semitone, but some blues musicians may play it lower. This varies depending on the genre of the music and the musician. Keep in mind that the blues note is not only used in blues music, but in jazz, rock and funk as well.

The term blue note is used to describe the sound created when the flat five note is played along with other notes in the scale. It produces a sort of worried feeling, tension, discord, or depression. This is the reason why early religious authorities banned the use of the note and spread the rumour that it came from the devil himself.

How to Master the Scale

1. Master Finger Position

The first thing you need is a chart or diagram that shows where the different notes of the scale are found on the guitar neck. If you have mastered the pentatonic scale, the inclusion of the 6th note is the only thing you need to master. First of all, try to memorize the different positions of the scale on the guitar. With the help of mnemonic devices like those found in the charts, you can easily get the hang of it.

2. Play Blues Licks Repeatedly

There are numerous guitar licks online that involve the blues scale.  Get hold of these tutorials and master playing the blues guitar scale by playing them repeatedly. This will allow your fingers to get used to the pattern. As soon as you learn several licks, try playing them along with a jam track. These tracks usually come with a blues guitar tutorial purchase.

3. Improvise

As soon as you master the scale, learn how to produce blues music and try improvising. Improvising is a skill that can only be learned through practice and guitar mastery. You can do improvisation by playing along with an excellent jam track.

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