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Learn The Blues Scale

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First let's review our minor pentatonic scale pattern and add the first of two tension notes to it.

Our A minor pentatonic pattern starts here in the 5th fret of the low E string. Next we grab the 8th fret of the low E string with our pinky. Now for the next three strings we'll go 5 with our index finger and 7 with our ring finger. Now on the B and E string we'll do the 5th and 8th fret again with our index and pinky.

Take your time relearning this pattern, and remember that when you go up the scale, and want to go back down, you pick the top note again. That's to avoid the picking getting all turned around!

Now you probably remember that the term pentatonic means we have only 5 notes in the scale. The reason we have more than 5 notes in the pattern is because those 5 notes repeat again in a higher octave. So it's A, C, D, E, G. And then it repeats. So it's just those 5 notes repeating!

Now we'll add two notes to the pattern, but it's really the same note in two octaves. Let's add the first one now, which will be right in between our two notes on the A string. So we'll go 5 to 8 on the low E string and then 5 6 7 on the A string. Finish the octave, by adding 5 and 7 on the D string. Now let's just focus on that one octave on the bottom 3 strings here.

Notice how much cool tension this note brings to the pattern. It sounds bluesy, and that's why we call it the blues scale once we add this note to the pattern.

Now for the sake of practice, let's run this octave of the blues scale together as quarter notes going from the lowest note and ending in the 7th fret of the D string. Then we'll breath for 1 quarter note, and come back down. We'll do that 4 times, and then we'll end on the low note and let it ring.

It might still be hard for you, but try to alternate consistently between a downstroke and an upstroke. We call this alternate picking and it's a very important technique to start working on if you haven't already. This is also where you'll really feel why it's important to pick that top note again, when you start coming back down the scale, cause otherwise the picking gets all turned around.

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Learn The Blues Scale