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Thread: The Blues Minor and Major Scale

  1. #16
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    I agree with JonR, just take a 5 note pentatonic scale either major or minor

    I would encourage you to start with the pentatonic minor scale
    So you mean play the C pentatonic major over C major, and so forth, or could I use C pentatonic minor over C major?

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    So you mean play the C pentatonic major over C major, and so forth, or could I use C pentatonic minor over C major?
    For a blues sound (specifically for blues, not for other styles of music), play the minor pentatonic scale against chords in the major key. So in your example where you are playing in the key of C-major, play C-minor pentatonic to get a blues sound.

    I think it will clarify things if we take a step back to your original question and answer that directly - here's what you originaly asked -

     
    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    Hey guys, here's my question:
    I was wondering what key i could play the blues minor scale over ?
    If it's in C major, should i use the C blues minor scale or should i use the A blues minor scale ?
    Same thing with the Blues major scale,
    If it was in C major, should i use the C blues major scale ?
    What fits, I'm not sure.
    As a basic principle in music, in general, "what fits" is the parent scale of the key. Eg if you are playing in the key of C-Major (your example), then to make a solo your first choice of scale would normally be the C-Major scale.

    However, blues is really an exception to that general rule. Because the essential sound of the blues relies on making a tonal "clash" between the Major-3rd in the chords vs. a minor-3rd being played in your scale choice.

    In other words - for a blues sound you break the normal rules, and play a minor scale such as minor-pentatonic against the major sounding chords in the major key ... so in your example that would be chords in the key of C-Major but play your solo/melody from the C-minor pentatonic scale (add the b5th to make it a "blues scale").

    I just wanted to clarify that, in case it was not as obvious to you as we are all assuming.

    From there - all the other ideas mentioned above come into consideration (ie mixing various major & minor scales) ...

    ... to get a good feel for how guys mix both major and minor pentatonic scales together in blues (ie mixing both scales togther in the same licks), try playing through some early BB King stuff from "Signature Licks Series, BB King the Definitive Collection", and also particularly the early Clapton Beano album stuff from the excellent "Signature Licks Series, Eric Clapton Bluesman".

    Ian.
    Last edited by Crossroads; 06-25-2010 at 06:40 AM.

  3. #18
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    Okay so the Key is C major. That gives you (for example)


    C7 F9 G9


    Over the I chord (C7) you can play Cmaj pen, and add a b7 to give it the mixolydian flavor.


    Over the IV chord (F9), you could then play C minor blues scale.

    Over the V chord (G9) you could play G major pent., G Mixo, or a simple G arp (depending on how quickly the turnaround is coming).

  4. #19
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    haha okay thanks for the help guys !


    What about vocals ?
    Does one just utilize the C major scale, or could one sing using the blues scale as well

    (in the context of a blues song, of course)
    Last edited by clint eastwood; 06-26-2010 at 03:48 PM.

  5. #20
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    quote by Clint Eastwood:
    haha okay
    ok I'm beginning to think you are wasting some of the good knowledgeable members time here having us answer questions you really have no interest in knowing or applying.

    explain what is funny about the advice that is contained in this thread ??
    "Success is arriving at a Personal Satisfaction within yourself"

    Dedicated To Guitar!!!

  6. #21
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    haha why would i stick around if i wasn't interested ?

    i read through all the things posted on this thread

    i was laughing at

    I just wanted to clarify that, in case it was not as obvious to you as we are all assuming.
    it became redundant on my part, i just wanted to make sure

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    haha why would i stick around if i wasn't interested ?
    i read through all the things posted on this thread
    i was laughing at
    Quote Originally Posted by Crossroads View Post
    I just wanted to clarify that, in case it was not as obvious to you as we are all assuming.
    it became redundant on my part, i just wanted to make sure
    Well there was a time when things like that were far from obvious to me. So I think it's usually worth checking just what is "obvious" vs. what is not.

    In fact, the more I learn in music, the more it seems that very little is really obvious.

    Even when you understand theory very well, and when you know which scales and arps can be played in key against any given chords, still it often takes years of serious practice, playing & experimenting before you begin to become fluid enough to be really musical and creative in the way you'd like ....

    ... we're all beginners really, inc. the greatest names in music.

    Ian.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    Also, could I use the rest of the chords in C major ?
    i didn't wanna start up a new thread since i already asked the question i wanted to ask.
    Malcom said the 1,4, and 5 could be used when the C blues scale is being played over them.

    my question is can you use the 2, 3, 6, and/or 7 as well ?

    for example,
    the C and A blues scale played over Dm, Em, Am, and B half dim

  9. #24
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    i didn't wanna start up a new thread since i already asked the question i wanted to ask.
    Malcom said the 1,4, and 5 could be used when the C blues scale is being played over them.

    my question is can you use the 2, 3, 6, and/or 7 as well ?

    for example,
    the C and A blues scale played over Dm, Em, Am, and B half dim
    The truthful-but-not-very-helpful answer is - yes you can do anything you like.
    The slightly more helpful answer is - yes, if you like the sound it makes.

    But I guess what you're really asking is either (a) how closely do those scale fit, and/or (b) are those scales commonly used over those chords?

    The short answer is "no" - blues scale is not used on the minor or dim chords in a key.

    A blues scale will fit an Am chord (and Dm to some extent), but that would usually be in the key of A minor, not C major.

    In key of C major, you should really think of A blues as a kind of C "major blues" scale: C major pent with an added b3. Don't think of it as A blues scale, that's misleading.

    C (minor) blues: C Eb F Gb G Bb
    C major blues: C D Eb E G A.

    Together they give you C D Eb E F Gb G A Bb: 9 notes that you can consider as a "mega" blues scale in key of C. But many of them will be passing notes, and you should always be aware of chord tones if working with all those notes. Here's how it works:

    Code:
    C mega-blues scale: C  .  D  Eb E  F  Gb G  .  A  Bb .  C
    
    C7 chord tones:     C  .  .  .  E  .  .  G  .  .  Bb .  C
    F7 chord tones:     C  .  .  Eb .  F  .  .  .  A  .  .  C
    G7 chord tones:     .  .  D  .  .  F  .  G  .  .  .  B  .
    Any note not actually in the chord will be a passing tone - you can use it, but in a phrase between chord tones.
    Notice that Gb is not in any of the chords - so is always a passing tone (to either F or G).
    OTOH, the B note in the G7 chord is not in the scale: so you'd probably bend the Bb over that chord. (You can bend any passing note up to the next chord tone, any time you like.)

    IOW, you can use any of those notes at any time, but stay aware of which ones are in the chord and which aren't.

    This means (of course) you need to learn which notes are which in your scale patterns - and in your chord shapes. If you don't know this yet - start learning! It's fundamental knowledge.

  10. #25
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    Thanks for replying,
    i wrote up my reply but pressed backspace and it went back a page,

    according to this:
    www.opus28.co.uk/bluesbasics.pdf

    Another way to go about the "mega-blues scale" is to pick a minor blues scale and the scale a minor third below it will be the other scale you combine with it

    for example:
    C minor blues scale
    A minor blues scale

    it also stated that you can use the C minor blues scale over chords that are in C minor.

    for example:
    Cm, Fm, D half dim, G7b9
    (1, 4, 2, 5)

    haha, though you already said all of this

    I wonder if blues-rock bands just use the 1,4, and 5 of the scale.
    How much can you deviate from that when it comes to blues chord progressions ?

  11. #26
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
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    Maybe you are thinking a little too much. Basically, if you understand the diatonic system, you will know what pentatonic scales will work. Your example is in the key of C minor, which is the same as Eb major. The Eb major diatonic system looks like this:

    Eb-Fmin-Gmin-Ab-Bb-Cmin-Ddim

    There are three minor chords and three major chords

    There are three minor pentatonic scales and three major pentatonic scales in the scale as well. One for each minor and major chord.

    The three minor pentatonic scales that will work are: F, G and C minor pentatonic scales.

    There are three major pentatonic scales that will work: Eb, Ab and Bb major pentatonic scales.

    By a twist of fate, the three minor pentatonic scales are really the same three major pentatonic scales:

    F minor pentatonic = Ab major pentatonic
    G minor pentatonic = Bb major pentatonic
    C minor pentatonic = Eb major pentatonic

    It is all about understanding the diatonic system.

    If you are interested, you can find more here >>>

  12. #27
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Chris, glad to see you are back with us.

    Clint - you can not go wrong with what Chris has to say. Here are some of his other articles. Well worth your time.

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/browse/...uthor&aid=1225

    This one is on pentatonic scales. http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/175
    ..
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-22-2012 at 11:23 PM.

  13. #28
    chewing bubble gum Chim_Chim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clint eastwood View Post
    Hey guys, here's my question:
    I was wondering what key i could play the blues minor scale over ?

    If it's in C major, should i use the C blues minor scale or should i use the A blues minor scale ?
    Either or.

    Same thing with the Blues major scale,
    If it was in C major, should i use the C blues major scale ?

    What fits, I'm not sure.

    Thanks, i tried searching for the topic, and read some of the threads, sorry if I posted the same question.
    Either or. They are interchangeable in an major setting. In C Major you can switch between C Major Blues Scale(which is the same as the A minor blues scale), "or" you can play the C minor blues scale. C Major Blues Scale is going to sound happy and country, and C minor blues scale is going to sound more sad and bluesy. Listen to some Led Zeppelin, you'll figure it out.

    If your progression was in C minor then you would just want C minor blues scale, or whichever mode was most relevant to the backing progression.
    Last edited by Chim_Chim; 04-24-2012 at 03:06 AM.
    Some days I seem to do OK. Other days I feel like just shoving an M-80 right up my guitar's butt.

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