The Major and Minor Blues Scales and Improvising

Did you know that their are two blues scales? A minor blues scale and a major blues scale. Many students are introduced to improvising on a blues tune using the minor blues scale. The music teacher usually says just use the same scale over the entire song.

The C minor blues scale consists of the notes: C,Eb,F,F#,G,Bb.
The biggest problem with only using this scale is that it limits what you can play and the solos tend to be boring. Furthermore many beginning improvisors don’t know how to properly resolve their ending notes. This scale is most importantly missing the major 3 and also the 2nd and the 6th.

The major blues scale may be conceived by starting with the major pentatonic scale and adding a minor 3rd. The C major blues scale consists of the notes: C,D,Eb,E,G,A.

Please not that the major blues scale contains the same notes as the minor blues scale that is down a minor 3rd. For example the C major blues scale consists of the same notes as the A minor blues scale

Practice Suggestions for simple 3 Chord blues:
1. Practice playing the ascending major blues scale over each chord.
2. Practice playing the descending major blues scale over each chord.
3. Practice playing the major blues scale over the I chord and the minor blues scale over the IV and V chords.
4.Practice moving between both scales.
5. Add the b7 and 4th to the major blues scale
6 Add the 6th or the 9th to the minor blues scale.

Do you have any suggestions for practicing the blues?

Comments

  1. Robert Salazar says:

    Dear Mr. Maine,
    I’m not necessarily having trouble with your notation, but I’m having doubts. This is because if I type in on Google Images, “C major blues scale”, the notation usually comes up as C D Eflat E G A C. Please let me know which one is musically correct to fix my confusion.
    Thanks, Robert Salazar