What Are Blues Scales
The blues scales are truly based off of the pentatonic scales with one extra note added. We call that extra note the “blue note ” because it devotes the pentatonic scale its obvious “bluesyness .” The actual note in the context of the scale lets say C Major, is called a Flat 5 which would be F# in the Key of C.
The only real discrepancies between the scales on the guitar and the same scales on any other instrument is the fact that there is more than one route to play them on a guitar. This is due mostly to the fact that the guitar is a stringed instrument and there are at least 3-5 ways to play any unique note.
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Ye Olde Devils Note The Flat 5
The minor pentatonic blues scales are created using the root( or 1 ), flatted 3rd, 4th, 5th, and flatted 7th of a major scale. Notice that there is no 2nd or 6th scale tone used. There’s an interesting reason for that but it requires a substantial sum of music theory to explain it and this isn’t actually the place for that now.
To make the minor blues scales we take the minor pentatonic scale and add a flatted 5th( or sharp 4) to it. In the key of A, this creates a scale with the notes A, C, D, Eb, E, and G in it. Some people don’t differentiate between the minor and the major blues scales. If someone calls a scale a blues scale, assume they mean the minor version. The diagram below is in the Key of F# so just move the entire scale up 3 semitones you will be in the key of A as mentioned above.
A major pentatonic scale is created with the 1st( root ,) 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th tone of a major scale. In C that would be C, D, E, G, and A. To make them major blues scales you add a flat 3rd which gives you C, D, Eb, E, G, and A in the key of C.
The Difference of Major & Minor Notes
Notice that the rule governing relative major and minor keys/ scales is also in effect here. If you look at the keys of A minor and C major, which are relative, meaning the product contains the same notes, you’ll find the same group of notes.
The A minor blues scale is A, C, D, Eb, E, and G. The C major blues scale is C, D, Eb, E, G, and A. Same notes, different starting point. This sort of thing happens all the time in music. This is of particular interest if you’re playing blues result guitar because you can see that your blues guitar scales genuinely do double duty. Once you learn one pattern, it’s really useful for 2 keys, one major and one minor.
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