The Blues Guitar Scale Shape

Welcome to the sixth lesson of the Blues Guitar Quick-Start Series. Here, we’ll be shifting our focus from rhythm blues guitar to lead blues guitar. In this lesson, we’ll be learning how to play the blues scale shape, and learning where the root notes are located within this scale shape.

The best thing about learning the blues scale is that once you get it under your fingers, it’s really easy to make it your own and create great sounding licks and solos. In later lessons, we’ll start looking at how to choose your notes and make creative licks. For now, let’s start off by learning the main blues scale shape you’ll be using.

There are many different shapes you can use for the blues scale, but for this lesson series we’ll just be concentrating on the one. It’s much better to know how to use one shape really well than know many shapes and not know how to use them.

If you’ve learned your minor pentatonic scale shape already, then you may notice the blues scale looks familiar. The blues scale is essentially the exact same scale with the inclusion of one note. This note we add to the minor pentatonic scale is what we call a flat 5 note. You’ll see this note is added in two spots within the scale.

The flat 5 is what makes this scale get its signature bluesy sound. We’ll start by learning how to play this shape in the open position. Pay attention to where the root notes are, and you can move this scale around to play in any key you’d like.

We’ll also take a look at how to play this same shape up an octave. To do this, we just have to move the entire shape up to the 12th fret. That way, all the notes are the same, just an octave above where we were before. You’ll notice the shape doesn’t change at all, which makes it pretty easy to use whichever shape you want to.

Once you feel comfortable playing through this scale shape, you can practice going through it along to the jam track. Take it as slow as you need to until you really get the feel for this shape under your fingers. You can treat the jam tracks like a dressed up metronome which makes it a lot more fun to play along to.

In the next lesson, we’re going to take a look at how the blues scale it made. This will start to give you a better understanding of the theory behind the blues scale. Even if you don’t know much music theory yet, you’ll still get a lot out of this lesson.