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Lyle Ronglien >> Beginning Guitar VI - Scales >>

Beginning Guitar VI - Scales

Lesson 4 - The Minor Blues Scale

Lyle: In this series you have learned and worked on the major scale, the minor scale, and the minor pentatonic scale. All of these scales are so both valuable and popular to use. The next scale to learn that is also very useful is the minor blues scale.

Lyle: Here's how the minor blues compares to the major scale in E:

1 - Emajor and E minor blues scales

Lyle: The minor blues is just like the minor pentatonic scale, but with one extra note. This extra note is the flatted 5th (b5) and is responsible for the "funky/bluesy" sound of the scale.

1 - Emajor and E minor blues scales

Lyle: Here's the easy way to play this scale on the bass strings:

2 - E minor blues - open posititon 1

Lyle: Here's a jam track you can use to play the E minor blues scale against:

jam track - Blues Shuffle in E

Lyle: Once you have the single octave - open position pattern memorized, learn the next octave:

3 - E minor blues - open position 2

BigTX: What are the chords in the blues shuffle jam track?

Lyle: E, A, and B7.

Lyle: Here's a fun way to play the E minor blues on just the two bass strings:

4 - E minor blues - alternate 1

Lyle: If you start on the E note on the 5th string, you can play a minor blues pattern like this:

5 - E minor blues - alternate 2

Lyle: Add a third octave on top of the last two patterns and you get this, a 3 octave minor blues pattern that spans 12 frets!

6 - E minor blues - alternate 3 octave

BigTX: Should we hold the blues notes a little? Gives it a cool sound.

Lyle: Sure, you can hold the b5 note within the scale a little longer if you feel like it, that's part of improvising. Here's the main patterns I like to use for playing this scale:

7 - E minor blues- main patterns

dan: Where do the patterns come from?

Lyle: In whatever key you're in, you take the 1st, b3rd, 4th, b5th, 5th, and b7th degrees (in relation to the major scale), locate them on the neck and there are your patterns for the minor blues scale.

sammy_andrews: At the 12th fret octave position, it looks like pentatonic to me?

Lyle: At the 12th fret there is a flatted 5th added to the minor pentatonic shape to make the minor blues scale.

Lyle: If you wanted to play the minor blues scale in Gm, here's the main patterns you might use:

8 - G minor blues

BigTX: What's the most used minor pent used in blues, A?

Lyle: Em might be the most used key for blues because it's the lowest. If you were to play in Am, here are the main patterns for Am blues, which are two frets higher than the Gm patterns:

9 - A minor blues

sammy_andrews: The same scale for Gm is the same pattern for Am only moved up two frets right Lyle?

Lyle: Yes sammy, from G to A is up two frets.

Lyle: Here's a good exercise for you to learn.

exercise 1

exercise 1

Lyle: It's just a pattern for the minor blues scale played in all the keys one at a time up the neck.

Lyle: To be able to play that last exercise without mistakes is a little hard to do.

Lyle: For your last exercise, try stringing together several of the E minor blues scale patterns together and play them against the jam track like this:

solo exercise with E minor blues

solo exercise with E minor blues

Lyle: Here's the same exercise again but with the note names displayed:

solo exercise with E minor blues

sammy_andrews: Lyle.....does Billy Gibbons use these scales in his songs for ZZ Top?

Lyle: Yes, the minor blues scale is almost always used in all blues solos. Let's take a break here. See you at the next lesson!

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