Tech Tip:The Blues Scale Formula

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The following tips for aspiring guitarists are courtesy of John McCarthy of The Rock House Method, publisher of video lessons for musicians at every skill level.


Jimmy Edwards; Memphis, TN



Q: Okay, I see that minor/major scales follow a certain pattern using steps and half steps, etc., but on the "E" Blues scale I can't see a similar pattern? Am I correct in this observation and can you give any particular reason this is the case if it does not follow a pattern?


A: The Blues scale is simple in its own right and does have a definite formula.



The Blues scale formula is: 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7


In the key of "E" the Blues scale notes are: E G A A# B D


The Minor Pentatonic scale formula is: 1 b3 4 5 b7


In the key of "E" the Minor Pentatonic notes are: E G A B D



The Blues scale just has a #4 note added and this note is referred to as a Blues Tri-tone. This gives it the very distinctive Blues sound.


Hope this helps!


Yours in Music,
John McCarthy
Rock House