The Blues Scale on guitar

The blues scale is a sequence of notes that are played traditionally in blues songs.

The blues scale is also commonly found in other styles such as rock, rhyhtm and blues, and a few jaz pieces.

Understanding the Blues Scale

To form the blues scale, it is important to understand the intervals between each of its notes.

The best way to learn this scale is to understand that it contain 6 notes, most of them derived from the minor pentatonic scale, plus an aditional note also called the blues note. The blues note is what gives the blues scale its particular sound.

Building the Blues Scale

To build the blues scale, we first consider the 5 notes of the minor pentatonic scale. In the case of C minor, hese notes are:

C, Eb, F, G, and Bb.

These notes are just the traditional minor pentatonic scale.

To build the blues scale, you just need to add the blues note, which is between the fourth and fifth degree (F and G).

The result is the following sequence of nodes:

C, Eb, F, F#, G, and Bb.

Transposing the Blues Scale

You can build this scale in any key if you transpose these notes. The first step is to undestand the intervals between the notes of this scale:

  • One and a half step: between C and Eb
  • Whole step: Between Eb and F
  • Half step: between F and F#
  • Half step: between F# and G
  • One and a half step: between G and Bb
  • Whole step: Between Bb and C.

Now lets see how to build the same scale starting from E:

  • One and a half step: between E and G
  • Whole step: Between G and A
  • Half step: between A and A#
  • Half step: between A# and B
  • One and a half step: between B and D
  • Whole step: Between D and E.

Thus, the resulting blues scale is now:

E, G, A, A#, B, D, and E.

How to Play the Blues Scale on the Guitar

To play this scale, you just need to find a shape on the guitar that contains the notes we want to use. For the blues scale on C, we may use the following shape:

C-Blues Scale

We can use a similar shape for the the blues scale on G (starting from 5th fret, 4th string):

G-Blues Scale

Always practice these scales slowly and singing every note in the scale. Then, you can progress to play faster.

Learning More About Scales

If you want to learn more about scales, such as the blues scale and more, I have created a free guitar course.

The topics covered in the course are the following:

  • Finding the notes in the guitar
  • Learning about chords
  • Learning about scales
  • Reading tablature
  • Practicing songs.

To get you free guitar course, click here.