Blues Guitar Scale

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Learn How To Play The Blues Guitar Scale!

Blues Scale Guitar LessonIn this lesson we are going to be learning one of the most common shapes for the blues scale on guitar. We are also going to be learning about how the blues scale is made. If you are a beginner, the blues scale is something that you should be really excited about learning. Playing with the blues scale will be a great way to start making up your own solos. No matter what kind of music you are playing, you can bet that you will be using the blues scale quite often. This simple scale is really one of the fundamental things that you need to know to start improvising. First, we will learn the basic scale shape and then we will see how the blues scale is made. We will do this by looking at a regular G minor scale and building a G blues scale from that G minor scale. We have provided you with the tab and basic scale diagram for this G blues scale. Learn how to read chord diagrams and guitar tabs here!

Let’s start off by learning the basic shape for the blues scale. Here is a diagram and the tab for the scale. The black notes represent the root note of the scale. Start out with your 1st finger on the 3rd fret of the low E string. Try playing the scale up and down a few times. Keep your hands relaxed and remember to use alternate picking. Great! If you have a friend who can play with you, have them play a G7 or G minor 7 chord while you try improvising using your G blues scale. Learn new guitar picking techniques here!

Now that you have the basic blues scale shape down, we should learn how the blues scale is made. To do that we are going to use a G minor scale as a reference. A diagram of the G minor scale is provided so that you can see exactly what is happening. Let’s say that you have a regular G minor scale. To make a G blues scale, all you would need to do is take two notes away from your G minor scale and then add one note. The notes that you would take away are the 2nd scale degree and the 6th scale degree. In this case we are taking away an A and an Eb. Taking these two notes away would give us a regular G minor pentatonic scale. We have provided a diagram of a regular G minor pentatonic scale for you also. If we add what we call a flat 5 note to this G minor pentatonic scale, we would end up with our G blues scale. In this case, the flat 5 note is a Db. This flat 5 note is what gives the blues scale it’s unique sound. Be aware of this and emphasize this note if you want to get a real bluesy sound.

You will find that you will be using this scale quite often in your playing. Don’t forget that this shape is movable. Start on the 5th fret and you will be playing the A blues scale. Take this scale, move it around, and experiment with it as much as you can. If you really like the sound of this scale I suggest that you check out some of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s albums.

Click Here to go the next lesson in the Blues Guitar Quick-Start Series.

This Lesson Has 32 Comments

  • DJ(DENNIS JR) says:

    you know what i think you should do ; i think you should introduce how to create licks and guitar solos hope you get this message

  • Ken Cooper says:

    I recently signed up. I took lessons years ago and pulled out my old sightation book that my instructor marked up. According to what’s in my book, the blues scale follows the major scale with the following differences: a half step from the 2nd to the 3rd, full step from the 3rd to the 4th, half step from the 6th to the 7th and a full step from the 7th to the 8th.

    Example: using E scale
    E major E F# G# A B C# D# E
    E blues E F# G A B C# D E

    This doesn’t seem to be consistent with the lesson.

    In addition, I was taught that the blues scale has the same notes as as the major scale that is one one full note below. In this case E blues scale would have the same notes as D major scale. Is this correct?

    Am I missing something? Not understanding something?
    Great lessons by the way. Really enjoying getting back into it.

    • Chase says:

      Sorry, your teacher was incorrect. The notes of the E blues scale are:

      The blues scale has basically the same notes as the minor pentatonic scale, plus the added b5 note (the blue note).
      You are CLOSE on the D major scale, but not exactly. If you go down 2 frets (one whole step) from E to D, and solo in D major over a song in E, you would then be playing E Dorian, which is used a lot in blues, but IS NOT the E blues scale.
      If you are playing a blues progression in E, you would want to play E minor pentatonic/blues scale most likely (with many other options available as well).

  • Nick says:

    Little fast but I’m catching up great lessons btw

  • Nick says:

    Hey I have a question what pick is best to use, thin thick or medium

    • tgsystem says:

      If you are just starting out I would go with a medium. From there it is mostly personal preference and music style that people go by when deciding what kind of pick to use.

  • SupahBoy says:

    Were are the tab pages??????????

  • Felicitas P. Calicdan says:

    Nate could you play blues on the fender blacktop strat also on a acoustic guitar

  • Alycesha says:

    hey nate i was wondering to play the blues do you need any experince playing the guitar?

  • SupahBoy says:

    hey nate do you play rock by any chance?

  • Ralph says:

    Hi Nate, I’m missing something here. Correct me if I’m wrong, but of the three diagrams, none represent the blues scale with the Db – correct? Put another way, you show G minor, G minor with “x” outs, and G pentatonic. So, if the G pentatonic has twelve notes, does the blues scale change two other notes keeping the total at twelve, or does the blues scale have a total greater than twelve?

    • vampire_mccoy says:

      I noticed the same thing. this page does not show the blues guitar scale diagram. It would really help comparing it to the other scales if it was up there. Anyway, thanks to all you guys working on the site, I am learning a lot.

    • Hans says:

      ColinI have been struggling with 3rds, but your video here(Jonathan kdnliy directed me to) has opened the door for me.I was able to go to my major and Minor scales and work things out. Now I understand .I should be able to transpose into other keysThanks againDenis McCourtIreland[]

  • Jeff says:

    Blues scale diagram is missing.

  • mr.raccoon says:

    Yes its good to learn that scale but, in this video they allready expect that you know what is g minor scale and what is scale at all. Maybe i missed something, just got on this site, but since there isnt 1,2,3 then this scale thing is a bit too much. So i guess it should start like what is a scale and then start learning those scales and then we can talk about missing few notes on some scale otr what ever..

    • Jackson says:

      Sub-dominate- tonic chord?????, you have such great lessons, but I cant wrap my mind anroud the words you use to explain things, I have been playing for 16 yrs and I have been practicing different lessons, and it helps, but I only play what sounds good to my ear, i don’t understand why chords go together , I wish I understood theory so I can create better songs, like why Aeolian is Aeolian, and phrygian is phrygian and what chord they go anroud. Maybe I’m just not smart enough?????

  • lily says:

    can someone tell me why in some places 3 and 1 are red in color?

  • Renata D. says:

    How can i download the second PDF? By upgrading? Thank you!!

  • Vegard says:

    So, is this identic to the minor pentatonic scale then?

  • How To Play a Guitar says:

    I feel this is among the such a lot vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But want to observation on some basic issues, The web site taste is ideal, the articles is in reality excellent : D. Good process, cheers

  • bookman37 says:

    Great lesson! I have been playing for almost 40 years and this is the scale I use more than any other. It is exactly what was taught to me in the early 70′s. It is also very useful in different keys. For example use this scale based on the ninth fret in E. I have no idea what you call that but it is cool.

  • Jovan Cifligaroski says:

    i cant get this…its too hard

  • Guy says:

    I am confessed, when going through the blue scales strings and frets. Should I be alternate my picking, or just down picks.I tried both and it seems when I alternate I find myself in wrong position to go to next lower string

  • Keith {Wizard} says:

    I’m just a beginner tryin to learn BLUES,can anyone explain when playing blues scale do i only play those particular notes in the scale to make it sound bluesy,or is it the norm to play any where in that scale??? The same really with any scale-would love to know many thanks.

  • emman says:

    may i ask question>? what is blues scale in guitar ? what is the purpose of this?

  • biniam says:

    i couldn’t download blue guitar scale to play offline

  • duncan says:

    Thanks a bunch savage you’ve really helped me get back into guitar!

  • nick says:

    hi nate can u tell me if a gibson les paul is a good first guitar cuz my grandpa used to play guitar and gave me his gibson les paul is it a good brand?


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