BM 107 - Blues Soloing

Soloing over a 12 bar blues is something we could talk about for ages. But, we have to start somewhere and I can't imagine a better place to start than learning the blues scale; or more properly know as, "The Minor Pentatonic Blues Scale". It is the #1 scale of choice when looking to sound "Bluesy". We make our Soloing note choices based on what's available from the scale. In other words, don't play notes that don't belong to the scale that corresponds to the key you are in. For instance, if you are in an E Blues, use the E Minor Pentatonic Blues scale!  

The definition of a Scale is:

"An arrangement of notes in a specific order of whole steps (2 frets) and half steps (1 fret)."

For the short term I am going to compose everything from the E Minor Pentatonic Blues Scale. You will be able to "move/shift" most all of it to the other 11 "keys" later, I'll show you how.

The E Minor Pentatonic Blues Scale is a 6 note scale spelled:

E G A Bb B D

Here is what it looks like represented on the 1st string. I think, if you learn it first in this fashion you might see/hear the "intervalic" distance between notes of the scale:) Or at least get used to the idea of it sooner than later.

I've placed a piano blank next to the fretboard so you can see how the same notes appear on the piano. Notice the order and interval between notes is exactly the same. E to G is 3 half steps, G to A is 2 half steps, A to Bb is 1 half step, Bb to B is 1 half step, B to D is 3 half steps and D to E (the octave) is 2 half steps. 

The E Minor Pentatonic Scale

(right click and print image)


The E Minor Pentatonic Blues Scale on 1st string

Although easy to see layed out on one string, we don't typically play solos using these notes in this "horizontal" fashion. I will lay out several places on the fretboard these very same note names can be found in a more standard "vertical" patterns. It is from within these patterns we'll create simple phrases you can learn to play!



Take a look at these patterns. Get familiar with them but spend to long with them. Better to just move on to learning our phrases that make use of these patterns sooner than later. It'll be more fun:)


 BM 108 - Blues Phrases