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Thread: Blues scales

  1. #1

    Default Blues scales

    WHere can I find them ? Particularly interested in the one Bill monroe used a lot .
    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    1 b3 4 b5 5 b7
    -----------
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Blues scales

    Here is a moveable minor pentatonic scale plus b5 with the root (R) on the G, A and E strings. Move everything across one string to get the root on the D string. R = root, O = other minor pentatonic notes and o = b5.

    Code:
     ╒═╤═╤═╕
     │ │ │ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ │ │ o
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     O O R O
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ o │ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     R O│ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ │ O O
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ ││ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     O O O R
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ ││ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ │ │ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     │ │ │ │
     ├─┼─┼─┤
     ││ ││
     ├─┼─┼─┤
    There are other solutions to this I'm sure. You might want to include the 6th, one fret below the flat 7th as well.

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  6. #4
    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    Bill Monroe hammered on or slid up from the minor to the major third a lot. Almost all blues players use this lick. I would say that the "blues" scale Monroe used could be called a Mixolydian scale with the flat third and the flat 5th. Key of G: G A Bb B C Db D E F G. In fact, I'd even say the major 7th would be in there as well, since that note is the major third of the V chord, so you could call it the major scale with the addition of the b3, the b5 and the b7.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Blues scales

    Don Julin's Mandolin Exercises for Dummies covers this topic in depth, and the audio files are all there to work with. Highly recommended.

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  10. #6
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    See if you can find Thomas Ohmsen's book on improvising; it has blues scales among others. It's a great book.

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    Iron 

  12. #7

    Default Re: Blues scales

    I learned blues soloing from The Blues Scales: Essential Tools for Jazz Improvisation, which suggests the use of two blues scales: major and minor. The book refers to the Major Blues scale that Pete provides above (1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7) as the Minor Blues scale, and uses 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6 (a major pentatonic scale with a 3b) for the Major Blues scale.

    The way you would combine these scales over a chord progression is to use the Major Blues of the key over the I chord, and the Minor Blues of the key over the IV and V chords. In other words, you would use both the G Major and G Minor Blues scales. While the book is directed toward Jazz Blues musicians, the concept works in Bluegrass contexts too.

    This may seem to overcomplicate things for some people, but I picked it up pretty quickly. The end result is a larger group of strong sounding notes as a foundation for your soloing.

    Here are the Blues scales for the mandolin in first position. They can also be moved up the neck.

    <Image files removed by Moderator per posters request, see following message for corrected documents. They should be gone shortly>

    I made these diagrams up pretty quickly. If anyone catches an error, let me know and I will post a correction.
    Last edited by Scott Tichenor; Jul-22-2015 at 2:36pm. Reason: incorrect mages removed at poster's request
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  14. #8

    Default Re: Blues scales

    Ok. Found a bunch of errors already. Here are corrected diagrams.
    <Removed per posters request-See corrected files below>
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jul-22-2015 at 7:46pm.
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  16. #9

    Default Re: Blues scales

    The major and minor appear to be identical. Shouldn't there be a flat5 in there?
    Richard Hutchings

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  18. #10

    Default Re: Blues scales

    Third time's the charm.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Minor Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	1772 
Size:	207.3 KB 
ID:	136585Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Major Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	1243 
Size:	244.3 KB 
ID:	136584
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  20. #11
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    I always play the major blues pattern as shown by Mr. Ellison, but with the 4th on the (in this case) 4th string.

    I don't know why, it just works for me. But thanks for the other charts, RonZ, I guess I should practice them, too. Oh, no, wait, I was going to stop practicing and start playing. Well, maybe next year.
    belbein

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  21. #12
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ View Post
    Third time's the charm.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Minor Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	1772 
Size:	207.3 KB 
ID:	136585Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Major Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	1243 
Size:	244.3 KB 
ID:	136584
    Thanks Jonz,
    On the second page of your send pdf, Major Blues there are a fair number of errors. It’s probably the first page you intended to post, and delete the second page.
    Thanks for posting it.

  22. #13
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    Thanks for these

  23. #14
    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blues scales

    Here’s JonZ’s Major Blues pdf with the 2nd page blanked out. Many thanks again JonZ

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Major Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	57 
Size:	2.47 MB 
ID:	201510
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Mandolin Minor Blues Scales 1st Position.pdf 
Views:	28 
Size:	245.5 KB 
ID:	201511
    Last edited by Simon DS; Jun-16-2022 at 5:07am.

  24. #15

    Default Re: Blues scales

    The fun part about the blues is you can start with the basic blues scale (1 b3 4 b5 5 b7) and play all day over all three chords and it works pretty well with most blues, be it in a minor key or a major key (oddly enough, but that's part of what makes it the blues.) And yes, when playing in a major key on the I or V, slide from the b3 to the 3! Also, slide either way from the b5 (in any chord, and major or minor key.)

    Then you can start adding the 2nds and 6ths, to make your lines more melodic. That's pretty straightforward.

    Earlier, notice that I said "slide up from the b3 for I and V" ... why did I leave out the IV? Because there's a subtle but important shift in harmony there. All the notes in the blues scale work there, so it's easy to miss. But that slide from b3 to 3 does NOT work. Say we're playing in G. The IV is C. Sliding from Bb to B while playing the C (and usually, a C7, sometimes a Cm7, but NEVER a CM7) just doesn't work because that's the major 7 on the C chord, which just ain't happening.

    So, the next step is understanding that subtle shift in harmony, but not just playing the C blues scale, even though that works there. It's altering the original blues scale to accommodate: mainly, leaving out the major third, and also, adding a nice little slide from Eb to E (b6 to 6 in the original G scale). Of course, weave it in properly and you can move to the blues scale on the IV chord's tonic (meaning that in addition to the above you can play with the IV chord's b5). It's kind of an art form to do this smoothly and not have it sound like you just moved your hand from one scale to the other.

    Later, you can play a similar trick with the V chord, where the 3rd of that chord isn't on the original blues scale -- it's the maj7 to the I, but you can slide into it from the note below and other fun tricks.

    The great thing about the blues is that it's easier than music. ;-)
    Last edited by JeffLearman; Jun-16-2022 at 3:25pm.

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