Guitar Lessons • The Blues Scale • Theory, Scale Shapes and Fingering, Tab, Chords, Video Lessons

Updated on August 20, 2018

Definition

The Blues scale adds a flat fifth to the Pentatonic scale. In the key of E minor, this note is a B flat. Rarely used as a note to resolve a phrase (ending a lick on the flat fifth results in a very dissonant sound), it's main use is that of a passing tone (moving into either the fifth: one fret higher, or the fourth: one fret lower). The Blues scale tends to have a meaner, darker sound than the Pentatonic. This scale is prevalent in all forms of music, not just blues, despite it's name.

Box Pattern #1

Just like the Pentatonic scale, the Blues scale Box Pattern #1 is the most played. Easy to execute and visualize, this position is the basis of many staple blues riffs and licks. Tunes that come to mind are: Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo (Rick Derringer and Johnny Winter), Walk This Way (Aerosmith), Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple), and Enter Sandman (Metallica). In fact, Metallica have utilized this scale throughout their career, taking it away from the blues genre and moving it into metal. Scale spelling in E minor Box Pattern #1 is: E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G.

Box Pattern #2

This position is harder to execute, due to the slight fret hand shift. I use the second finger to play the B flat and the B on the third string, in order to setup the second string with the first, third, and fourth finger. Also try fingering pattern: 2, 4, 1, 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 2, 3, 2, 4, 2, 4, 4 (bottom to top, sixth string to first string). Scale spelling in E minor Box Pattern #2 is: G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat. Since this scale ends on the flat fifth, it is very easy to hear the dissonant sound.

Box Pattern #3

This is a little bit easier to execute than Box Pattern #2. The movement on the bottom three strings (E, A, and D), is very useful and easy to visualize. The same is true for the top two strings (B and E). Many solos contain the pattern on the top two strings, usually as a triplet sequence on the high E. Scale spelling in E minor Box Pattern #3 is: A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B.

Box Pattern #4

Pattern #4 in both the Blues scale and the Pentatonic, seem to be the hardest to remember. Students tend to have a hard time with this one. As in Pattern #2, it involves a slight shift with the fret hand. Also try fingering pattern: 1, 4, 1, 4, 1, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2, 4, 4, 1, 4. Scale spelling in E minor Box Pattern #4 is: B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D.

Box Pattern #5

Pattern #5 also involves a fret hand shift to move back to the B on the fourth string. The five note pattern on the top two strings (B and E), is very common. Scale spelling in E minor Box Pattern #5 is: D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E, G, A, B flat, B, D, E. As in the Pentatonic, this pattern ends on the root E.

Sloe Gin
Sloe Gin

Voted by Guitar Player readers as 2007's Best Blues Guitarist, blues-rock guitar virtuoso, vocalist, and songwriter JOE BONAMASSA is set to release his seventh solo album, SLOE GIN, on August 21, 2007. Bonamassa's fourth release, the disc re-teams him with producer Kevin Shirley (Joe Satriani, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Led Leppelin), who produced 2006's YOU & ME, which debuted at #1 on Billboard's Blues Chart in June of last year.

 

Blues Scale Riff In Gm

This riff is actually based on three different Blues Scales. It starts off in Gm Blues, moves to Cm Blues at bar five, back to Gm Blues at bar seven, up to Dm Blues at bar nine, then back to Gm Blues at bar eleven. Even though it moves through the three scales, it would be described as being in Gm, or more commonly just G. This is a very common format for this type of riff.


Besides being a dynamite tune, the end solo is a fine example of the Gm Blues Scale in action.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        6 years ago from Oshawa

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        6 years ago from Oshawa

        Hi Joe. Thanks very much for the compliment. Don't know how qualified I am to teach shredding. Many years ago, I got Luke and Tim from Protest The Hero started on guitar. They ran with it from there. I will check the archives and see if I can find anything. Guitar World put out a great article on How T Play Fast. I believe Jimmy Brown was the author. Very good primer. Here is the link:

        http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-101-how-play-fas...

        Also check out part 2. Hope this helps!!

      • profile image

        Joe D'Souza 

        6 years ago

        Great,Excellent Way to go. I would also like to know if you have anything on shredding exercises from basic to advanced.Please let me know.

        Regards.

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        6 years ago from Oshawa

        Thanks very much, Xan. Pretty easy to do on a Mac. I am posting a hub on the combination scale. Please check it out if you get a chance!

      • profile image

        Xan Sillem 

        6 years ago

        Nice work on your videos

      • Lorne Hemmerling profile imageAUTHOR

        Lorne Hemmerling 

        6 years ago from Oshawa

        Thanks lucy. I was in the pocket at that time. I could feel every note I played. Not every solo feels that way. Thanks again!!

      • lucybell21 profile image

        Bonny OBrien 

        6 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

        I enjoyed listening to your video. I played it twice.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://spinditty.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)