This week we continue our series on the Blues Scale! Presented here is the fourth of five Blues Scale Shapes that we will be covering weekly! Not only are Blues Scales widely used in both rock and blues (as well as other genres) – they are also fantastic exercises to train your fingers, and are a ton of fun to play! For those familiar with the Minor Pentatonic Scales, Blues Scales are a great addition to that knowledge – it’s just adding one note into the scale! This scale corresponds to Pentatonic #4.
Head to our Facebook for a video how to play the scale in twelfth position! A tab can be found at the end of this post.
Let’s talk about what’s happening in the first image. The green notes are the “Root Notes” (also called “Tonic Notes”) – the notes that give the scale its name. A root note grounds the melody and gives it that sense of “home”, and the musical scale itself starts on a root note and completes at its next root note. We’ve included blue notes as well which are the “Blues Notes”, or Flat Fifth (b5th) notes, that highlight the sound of the Blues scale! Those blue notes are also the notes that are not found in the regular Minor Pentatonic Scales.
To practice this scale effectively, on the EADG strings use your index finger for notes on the twelfth fret, middle finger for notes on the thirteenth fret, ring finger for notes on the fourteenth fret, and pinky for notes on the fifteenth fret. However, for the B string you’ll have to use your index finger for the thirteenth fret, ring finger for the fifteenth, and pinky for the sixteenth; and for the High E string, use your index for the twelfth, and ring finger for the fifteenth! Check the video for an example if you’re confused. For training, play the scale forwards and backwards in first position using the same fingerings (at lower frets it is better to use the index and pinky for notes on the High E string, instead). Then, move the scale up by one fret, and after completing it there, keep moving up fret-by-fret all the way to twelfth position!
How do you feel about Blues Scales? Do you use them in your playing? They’re for far more genres of music than just the blues! We’re currently offering Video Conference Lessons if you want to learn the blues from a professional!
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