Blues Scale

Why The 1 Scale Pattern Gets All The Leads

The Blues Scale Pattern

In the Blues there are several different scale patterns that can be used. But there are 100s of songs that are straight out of the first and second pattern.

Lets take a look at pattern one.

But first you should know the Pentatonic scale – a scale of 5 notes or tones. Penta is five, tonic is the first degree of the scale; the keynote or root.

Pentatonic Scale


The Blues Scale

The Blues scale is basically the Pentatonic scale with one additional note. The “Blues note.”

Blues Scale

The 5 blues scale or patterns go up to the 12th fret. Then it starts over at the 12th fret and continues through the first fret.

The major scale pattern has a minor scale pattern that is the same, but you start on a different note.

For example the C major scale pattern. Pattern one starts on the 8th fret 6th string which is a C note. The relative minor is an A which is on the fifth fret 6th string.

Follow along to see how they are the same pattern and notes, but you start the scale at a different note.

Alright lets take a look at the scale below.

  • It is all the notes between the fifth fret and the eighth fret from the low E string to the high E string.

If you look at the form 1 it is a square block between the fifth and eighth fret.

A Minor Blues Scale

  • The scale starts on the fifth fret 6th string it is an A then the second note played is the C which is the eighth fret 6th string.
  • The next note played is the D on the 5th string.
  • Then the Eb, and E, notes.
  • Then G and A notes on the fourth string.
  • The third string C, D, and Eb notes. On the second and first string the notes are E, G, and A, C.

These are in the order of the scale.

When Played Like this you are playing the A Minor Scale form 1.

  • The root is the A notes. Located on the fifth fret 6th string and 1st strings, also on the seventh fret 4th string.
  • The blues notes are the Eb notes on the sixth fret 5th string.
  • The eighth fret 3rd string is also a blues note.

Now if you play the same scale and notes, but start at the C on the eighth fret 6th string instead of the A.

Now you are playing the C Major blues scale.

  • The root notes are now on the eighth fret 6th string.
  • There is a root on the fifth fret 3rd string.
  • The next C, root note is on the 1st string eighth fret.

You can play the scale starting at the 1st string and playing the notes of the scale upward to the 6th string.

One can also start in the middle with the root note, follow the pattern and stay within the scale.

  • If you take the blues notes out the scale, you now have the Pentatonic scale.

So you can see that there are so many notes and variables to just one scale that a lot of leads can derive just out of the first form or pattern.

There are a lot of licks that can come out of pattern one. Practice the pattern until you have it memorized.

Here is a Great resource that shows all the Blues Scales and how to play the Blues.

Start slow with no backing track.  Then before you know it you will be able to improvise within the scale.

Put on a backing track and try it out. Rock Out!

Check out the Blues Tutorials in the Guitar Essentials Blog.

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