This week we continue our series on the Blues Scale! Today we’re looking at Blues Pattern #4, and we’ve got a Blues Riff and a Blues Backing Track to get you applying the scale in a practical way. Blues Scales are widely used in both blues and rock (as well as other genres), and they’re a fantastic exercises to train your fingers – and also 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!
Let’s talk about what’s happening in the grid box. 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.
Take a look at the tab, which is using Blues Pattern #4 in the key of D minor, which we can help identify by noting that the first tonic (or root) note in the scale is on a D, at the fifth fret of the A string. Note that the riff has an eighth note (half beat) rest at the beginning, before using slides and staccato (abrupt) notes to really accent the blues notes at the start of bars 1 and 2.
Check below for a blues backing track in the key of D minor to try this out on! Remember to keep trying your own improv riffs, too!
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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