Soloing Over The Blues Scale

Soloing Over The Blues Scale

Blues solos have a special “bluesy” sound which comes from the use of special blues scales. In this piano lesson we will familiarize ourselves with the blues scale and construct it in several keys. We’ll look at how you can solo over it given a basic 12-bar blues and how it fits the different chords in the 12-bar progression. Then we’ll learn that there are *two* possible blues scales that sound good over any 12-bar blues: one constructed on the key of the blues progression, and one constructed on the key a minor third below it. For example, a blues in C can make use of the blues scales in C and in A. Switching between them, or even combining the scales, gives you many interesting combinations and variations.

How To Construct The Blues Scale

The blues scale is made out of the following intervals: 3 2 1 1 3 2
The C blues scale: C Eb F Gb G Bb C
The F blues scale: F Ab Bb B C Eb F
The D blues scale: D F G Ab A C D
The A blues scale: A C D Eb E G A
and so forth. This is sometimes also called the “hexatonic blues scale”.

From Wikipedia:

“The hexatonic, or six note, blues scale consists of the minor pentatonic scale plus the #4th or b5th degree. A major feature of the blues scale is the use of blue notes, however, since blue notes are considered alternative inflections, a blues scale may be considered to not fit the traditional definition of a scale. At its most basic, a single version of this “blues scale” is commonly used over all changes (or chords) in a twelve bar blues progression. Likewise, in contemporary jazz theory, its use is commonly based upon the key rather than the individual chord.”

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