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> Minor Blues Scales For Guitar
The Professor
post Sep 15 2013, 09:29 PM
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Minor Blues Scales



Usually one of the first scales that any guitarist learns when beginning their exploration of lead playing, the Minor Blues Scale is both one of the easiest scales to learn, and one of the trickiest to make sound unique and original when applied to a soloing situation.

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the theory behind the Minor Blues Scale, how it is built, how to apply it to your soloing and a few common fingerings that you can explore in the practice room.



How to Build a Minor Blues Scale



The Minor Blues Scale is built from the following interval pattern.

Root - b3 - 4 - #4 - 5 -b7

You can see these notes laid out in tab and notation for an A Minor Blues Scale below.


To apply this scale in a soloing situation, you can use the Minor Blues Scale over just about any chord progression, depending on style, and it will work to varying degrees of success.

It works over Major and Minor chords, as well as maj7, 7th and m7 chords, which is why it can be used over a variety of progressions when using this scale to build solos on the guitar.



2 Common Minor Blues Scale Fingerings



To help get you started, here are two common fingerings for the A Minor Blues Scale, one with a 6-string root, and one with a 5-string root.


Attached Image


Attached Image



Try memorizing these scales in the key of A first, then take them to the other 11 keys around the neck as you expand on these scale shapes in your guitar practice routine.



Minor Blues Scale Practice Guide



To finish up, here are a number of ways that you can practice these scales in order to get the fingerings, and theory, behind these scales under your fingers and into your guitar playing.


1. Sing the root note, A for example, and play the corresponding Minor Blues Scales over that root.
2. Play a root note on the guitar, A for example, and then sing the corresponding Minor Blues Scale over that root note.
3. Say the note names, or interval numbers, such as A C D D# E G or 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7, as you play and sing the notes in the above exercises.
4. Put on a static vamp, A7, A, Am, Am7 or Amaj7 for example, and practice soloing over those chords using the related Minor Blues Scale as the basis for your solo.
6. Repeat any/all of the above exercises in all 12 keys.



Do you have a question or comment about Minor Blues Scales? If so, share them in the comments section below this thread.


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Taka Perry
post Sep 18 2013, 08:57 AM
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I really like this scale smile.gif I use it a lot for quick bluesy improvs. If I'm right, this scale is essentially a minor pentatonic scale with the added #4.

If I remember correctly, the #4 is a lydian note, so would it be possible to get some interesting sounds by soloing with the blues scale over lydian chords?


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 18 2013, 12:38 PM
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QUOTE (Taka Perry @ Sep 18 2013, 09:57 AM) *
I really like this scale smile.gif I use it a lot for quick bluesy improvs. If I'm right, this scale is essentially a minor pentatonic scale with the added #4.

If I remember correctly, the #4 is a lydian note, so would it be possible to get some interesting sounds by soloing with the blues scale over lydian chords?


As long as you'd play with confidence and land more or less on chord tones, I guess it'd work. but say in A lydian you have:

A B C# D# E F# G#

Where as A blues is:

A C D D# E G

So you see, you'd get a clash on the third and seventh. Without the minor seventh you'd have a bebop scale, I think, but with the minor seventh I'm not sure what you're getting.

Then you must also remember that Lydian is a major sounding mode, so the minor third from the blues scale would probably clash on some chords.

In a simple lydian chord progression: Amaj7, B, Amaj7, B... you'd have a few clashes.

Here's a link to a nice article from Andrew Cockburn about modes and so on. Perhaps it offers a little insight:

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...?showtopic=6023

Otherwise, get a lydian backing track and start playing. See if it sounds alright smile.gif You could use the backing track from Muris' Lydian phrasing lessons.

EDIT: Perhaps try a major blues as well:

R 2 b3 3 5 6
A B C C# E F#


This post has been edited by Caelumamittendum: Sep 18 2013, 12:44 PM


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The Professor
post Sep 18 2013, 12:45 PM
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QUOTE (Taka Perry @ Sep 18 2013, 08:57 AM) *
I really like this scale smile.gif I use it a lot for quick bluesy improvs. If I'm right, this scale is essentially a minor pentatonic scale with the added #4.

If I remember correctly, the #4 is a lydian note, so would it be possible to get some interesting sounds by soloing with the blues scale over lydian chords?



You can use the blues scale over Lydian chords, maj7#11, but you don't have to. Often the blues note, the #4, sound better over a m7 or minor or major or maj7 or 7th chord, without the #4 already in it. Helps create a bit of tension that is then resolved as you move to other notes in the scale. Hope that makes sense!


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 18 2013, 12:52 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Sep 18 2013, 01:45 PM) *
You can use the blues scale over Lydian chords, maj7#11, but you don't have to. Often the blues note, the #4, sound better over a m7 or minor or major or maj7 or 7th chord, without the #4 already in it. Helps create a bit of tension that is then resolved as you move to other notes in the scale. Hope that makes sense!


Wouldn't there be quite a bit of tension with some other chords from Lydian? I'm no expert by all means, but the blues scale has a minor third, 4th and minor seventh, where Lydian has the major third, sharp fourth and major seventh.


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The Professor
post Sep 18 2013, 01:22 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 18 2013, 12:52 PM) *
Wouldn't there be quite a bit of tension with some other chords from Lydian? I'm no expert by all means, but the blues scale has a minor third, 4th and minor seventh, where Lydian has the major third, sharp fourth and major seventh.



Yeah, that's where the "blues" notes come from. If you play say a C blues scale over a Cm7, it sounds good but has less tension, as both the chord and scale have Eb and Bb in the, m3 and m7th.

When you play C blues over C7, then you get the Eb in the scale but E in the chord, so now there's that blues tension we like to have in our lines, that fits over that chord.

So the more clashes you have, the more those blues notes will stand out and sound like blues notes, rather than arpeggio notes.


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 18 2013, 01:31 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Sep 18 2013, 02:22 PM) *
Yeah, that's where the "blues" notes come from. If you play say a C blues scale over a Cm7, it sounds good but has less tension, as both the chord and scale have Eb and Bb in the, m3 and m7th.

When you play C blues over C7, then you get the Eb in the scale but E in the chord, so now there's that blues tension we like to have in our lines, that fits over that chord.

So the more clashes you have, the more those blues notes will stand out and sound like blues notes, rather than arpeggio notes.


I'd just think that a minor blues over a lydian progression would have a bit too much tension. Worth a try. Will try it out later and post results in here laugh.gif


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The Professor
post Sep 18 2013, 01:39 PM
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Yeah, the best way to test this stuff out is to try it. Put on a simple Lydian progression like C to Bm or C to D and use C minor blues to solo over those chords.

If you find it to tense, you can switch scales with each chord, so play C blues over C, B blues over Bm and D blues over D, that works well also.


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 18 2013, 02:00 PM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Sep 18 2013, 02:39 PM) *
Yeah, the best way to test this stuff out is to try it. Put on a simple Lydian progression like C to Bm or C to D and use C minor blues to solo over those chords.

If you find it to tense, you can switch scales with each chord, so play C blues over C, B blues over Bm and D blues over D, that works well also.


But I mean over a distinct lydian progression such as with a Cmaj7 chord to D, which gives you a feeling of all the scale degrees, I'd just think that playing some of the stuff over those chords would clash too much. I'll try it out a bit later.


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klasaine
post Sep 18 2013, 04:21 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 18 2013, 06:00 AM) *
But I mean over a distinct lydian progression such as with a Cmaj7 chord to D, which gives you a feeling of all the scale degrees, I'd just think that playing some of the stuff over those chords would clash too much. I'll try it out a bit later.

Try an F# minor blues scale over that prog.


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Caelumamittendum
post Sep 18 2013, 05:24 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 18 2013, 05:21 PM) *
Try an F# minor blues scale over that prog.


Yeah, that'd probably be better. I just thought the question was A minor blues over A lydian or similar. smile.gif


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klasaine
post Sep 18 2013, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Sep 18 2013, 09:24 AM) *
Yeah, that'd probably be better. I just thought the question was A minor blues over A lydian or similar. smile.gif


Yeah, I really only consider something 'lydian' sounding if it's major (or sometimes dominant) sounding.


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