Aug 09 2015

The 5 Blues Scale Positions

By: Frank Macri

Posted in: Guitar Scales


The blues scale is one of the most commonly used scales in soloing and essential for a guitarists vocabulary. This scale is derived from the minor pentatonic with the addition of the b5. This note gives a bluesy feel and is the only difference between the two scales.

Pentatonic Minor Scale

1     b3    4     5     b7

Blues Scale

1     b3     4     b5     5     b7

With this formula, the notes that make up an E blues scale would be:

E     G     A     Bb     B     D

1     b3     4     b5     5     b7

There are 5 positions that make up the blues scale, allowing you to play the same notes all over the fretboard without any limitations.

Position one starts on the root note  E” (root highlighted in red and blue square is the b5 note for targeting a bluesy sound)

or playing position one in the open position:

Position two starts on the second note (b3) of the scale “G

Position three starts on the third note (P4) of the scale “A

Position four starts on the fifth note (P5) of the scale “B

Position five starts on the sixth note (b7) of the scale “D


Important notes when practicing:

  • Practice the positions slowly paying particular attention to your technique. Always use your fingertips and never bar your finger at any point while practicing these positions.
  • Alternate your picking when playing through each position.
  • Memorize the positions one at a time. It’s much easier to learn each position one at a time versus running through all five positions then starting again at the top.
  • Once you have the blues scale positions memorized in E, make sure to practice them in all keys so you have them at your fingertips no matter what key you’re playing in.
  • It is important to keep in mind that we are playing the same set of notes. We are just playing them at different locations on the fretboard and in different octaves.

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