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Electric Guitar Manual

Blues Scale Guitar: Major and Minor

Blues Scale Guitar Lesson

The BLUES SCALE for Guitar in Seven Keys, and in Both Major and Minor. Meet the Blue Note.

The blues scale, also known as the blues minor pentatonic scale, or blues hexatonic scale, is one of the easiest scales to learn. It is simply about adding a note to the minor pentatonic scale or the major pentatonic scale. These two scales are the simplest, since they are only made up of 5 different notes, and with the additional note there would be a total of 6 different notes.

That note that we must add to a major or minor pentatonic scale is known as the Blue Note. This note was introduced by African slaves brought to North America, for the creation of one of the most influential genres in the development of American popular music, and of all modern music.

This genre became part of other classic musical genres such as country, jazz, Bluegrass music or Rhythm and Blues. And was later introduced into more modern music such as Rock and Roll, Funk or Pop, or even in styles like Heavy Metal, or Hip-Hop. Obviously I’m talking about Blues music.

How the Blues Scale Is Made

The blue note represents the influence of African musical scales on North American popular music. This note added to the minor pentatonic scale would be a diminished 5th or augmented 4th, compared to the natural minor scale. So, if we simply add this note to a certain minor pentatonic scale, we would obtain a Blues Scale in a specific key.

Blue Note on Guitar - Blues Scale

The blue note can be used at will, although it is usually used mainly as a passing note between the 4th and 5th degree of the scale, both in descending and ascending progression. However, that will be enough to provide the characteristic flavor and expressiveness of blues music.

This scale is obviously one of the most used in the Blues genre, but don’t get confused. Since it is also used in practically all modern musical styles, just like the minor pentatonic scale, but with the sophistication added by the blue note.

Guitarists who have Used the Blues Scale

Scale evidently widely used by blues guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton. But also used, for example, by the famous Metal music guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. Or for example in the song “Calling Elvis” performed by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.

In the following menu you have the Blues Scale in the entire guitar fretboard, in seven keys, and both major and minor:


Blues Scale Guitar

The green circles mark the Tonic, the blue circles the Dominant or 5th, and the yellow circles the Median or 3rd. You can see how the notes colored in green, blue and yellow form C minor chords. The orange circle marks the Blue Note.

How to Learn Guitar Scales

The way to memorize scales is one of the issues that causes the most headaches for guitarists. But with this learning tutorial, you will have no problem learning the distribution of the notes of a scale throughout the entire fingerboard. Since the structure of the main scales would be the same.

How to Use Guitar Scales

Depending on the tonality or tone of a musical theme in question, we can understand which guitar scale to use for each song. Easily improvise with your guitar on your favorite musical themes.

Guitar Scales all Chart