Blues Scale Patterns For Beginners

 

The Blues Scales

If you want to be a 'Bluesman' then you will need to learn the blues scales very well!

Description of the Blues scale

The good news is that the scale shapes for the blues scale are identical to the minor pentatonic scale with the addition of one extra 'blue' note, thus making it a six note or 'hexatonic' scale.

The extra note that is added is known as a Diminished 5th, because it uses the fifth note from the minor pentatonic scale which is then flattened (diminished) by a semitone.

To make this crystal clear here is an example...

This time to make things more interesting we will use the Eb minor pentatonic scale.

Here are the notes of the Eb minor pentatonic scale...

Eb - Gb - Ab - Bb - Db - Eb

Now we need to add the diminished 5th to this scale...

Counting from the root note (Eb) the fifth note is D flat (Db).

Now let us flatten the Db by one semitone, this gives us the natural D note, and add this note into the pentatonic pattern...

Thus the notes of the Eb blues scale are...

Eb - Gb - Ab - Bb - D - Db - Eb

In case you have not yet learned the pentatonic scales yet and only have the Major scales commited to memory, you can still find the blues scales in any key using the notes from any Major scale with this formula:1st - b3rd - 4th - b5th - 5th - b7th

That's...
  • The First or Root note
  • Flattened 3rd
  • The Fourth 4th
  • Flattened 5th
  • Fifth Flattened 7th

The 2nd and 6th notes are not used.

The Five Blues Scale Patterns

Guitar Blues Scale pattern one 292 x 560px image

Guitar Blues Scale pattern two 292 x 560px image

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Guitar Blues Scale pattern three 292 x 560px image

Guitar Blues Scale pattern four 292 x 560px image

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Guitar Blues Scale pattern five 292 x 560px image



To save you looking them all up or working them out here are the blues scales in all twelve musical keys.

As all the patterns except one are interchangeable In my opinion, you should begin by first learning the Blues scale in A Major and then progress to E major, as I believe this is the best-sounding key to play blues in.

You will find blues in E with standard guitar tuning is tricky because you cannot fret the guitar's lowest E note, on the Low E string.

Now there are dozens of different non-standard guitar tunings, but such tunings are really for advanced players and if you are beginner I don't suggest messing around with them as you will just get confused.

If you are determined to have a bash and Blues in E, the easiest method is to de-tune all the strings by a semitone, so you have the Open string tuning of Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb, you just have to remember the fret markers will all be a note lower than
normal, but at least all the scale patterns will be the same.
 

The Blues Scale In The 12 Chromatic Keys



Ab Blues scale
Ab - B - Db - D - Eb - Gb - Ab

A Blues scale
A - C - D - Eb - E - G - A

Bb Blues scale
Bb - Db - Eb - E - F - Ab - Bb

B Blues scale
B - D - E - F - F# - A - B

C Blues scale
C - Eb - F - Gb - G - Bb - C

Db and C# Blues scales
(enharmonic scales, the notes are the same)
Db - E - Gb - G - Ab - B - Db
C# - E - F# - G - G# - B - C#

D Blues scale
D - F - G - Ab - A - C - D

Eb Blues scale
Eb - Gb - Ab - A - Bb - Db - Eb

E Blues scale
E - G - A - Bb - B - D - E

F Blues scale
F - Ab - Bb - B - C - Eb - F

F# and Gb Blues scales
(enharmonic scales, the notes are the same)
F# - A - B - C - C# - E - F#
Gb - A - B - C - Db - E - Gb

G Blues scale
G - Bb - C - Db - D - F - G