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Guitar Blues Scales Crash Course

guitar blues scales

The guitar blues scales are 6-note scales similar to a pentatonic scale but with the addition of an extra note. What are the notes of the blues scale? And how do you find the blues scale? The major blues scale pattern is 1 - 2 - b3 - 3 - 5 - 6. There are major and minor blues scales and they’re used in blues music but are often used in other genres as well. We’re going to break down the difference between pentatonic and blues scales here, so continue on for all the details. 

Now that you know what a blues scale is, which is a 6-note scale that is mostly the same as a major or minor pentatonic scale, we have to figure out which notes go into these scales. 

Major Blues Scale

The major blues scale is exactly the same as a major pentatonic, but with the addition of a b3. With that in mind let’s take a look at the pattern for a major pentatonic scale. 

The major pentatonic scale looks like this:

1 - 2 - 3 - 5 - 6

The 1 is the root note. 

If we want to make this a major blues scale, we add a b3 right after the 2. So a major blues scale pattern looks like this:

1 - 2 - b3 - 3 - 5 - 6

With this in mind, let’s form the C major blues scale. The C major blues scale will consist of these notes:

C - D - Eb - E - G - A

If you want to check out a quick lesson on the blues scale, we have a great, quick lesson below.


Minor Blues Scale

The minor blues scale comes from the minor pentatonic scale plus one additional note, the b5. First, let’s take a look at the minor pentatonic scale pattern:

1 - b3 - 4 - 5 - b7

To form a minor blues scale, we add the b5 between the 4 and the 5. So a minor blues scale pattern is this:

1 - b3 - 4 - b5 - 5 - b7

Let’s make an A minor blues scale. 

A - C - D - Eb - E - G 

In our Blues Level 1 course, Anders breaks down the A minor blues scale, so don’t miss it here.

Here’s what an A minor blues scale pattern looks like as a tab: 

The A minor blues scale also looks like this on the fretboard:

This was a crash course, and simple overview of the blues scale, but if you want a deeper dive on this amazing scale, don’t forget to check out our Blues Level 1 and Level 2 courses. 

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