This week we continue our series on the Blues Scale! Presented here is the fifth and final of five Blues Scale Shapes that we have been 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 #5.
Let’s talk about what’s happening in the above 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.
Head to our Facebook page for a video example of how to play this in A Minor!
For acoustic players who can’t reach so far down the fretboard, another location to play this scale in the key of A Minor is by playing in second position – which is done by starting the scale with your middle finger on the third fret, and using the same pattern and fingerings as outlined in the next paragraph. Tablature for both can be found below!
To practice this scale effectively, on the E and A, and B and high E strings use your index finger for notes on the fifteenth fret, middle finger for notes on the sixteenth fret, ring finger for notes on the seventeenth fret, and pinky for notes on the eighteenth fret. For notes on the D and G strings you’ll have to move back and use your index finger for notes on the fourteenth fret, and pinky for notes on the seventeenth fret. 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. 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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