Blues scales for guitar are an essential part of any players skill set. If you have a good knowledge of your blues scales, you’ll develop an understanding of how existing songs and solos work. It’s great fun to learn a lick, riff or solo from someone like Eric Clapton or BB King and actually understand how they wrote that particular piece. It’s almost like learning how to think like they do as songwriters and guitar players.
Now, if you’re interested in playing the blues, the best place to start is with the pentatonic scale. By adding just one note, you can convert that scale into the full fledged blues scale. So, here is your first pattern. Starting with the low E String, the numbers correspond to which fret you should place your fingers on. You play two notes for each string.
Pentatonic Scale in A: 5 8 – 5 7 – 5 7 – 5 7 – 5 8 – 5 8
Now to convert this into the blues scale, we just have to add one single note, known appropriately enough, as the ‘blue’ note.
Blues Scale in A: 5 8 – 5 6 7 – 5 7 – 5 7 8 – 5 8 – 5 8
If you practice these scales back to back over the top of a backing track you’ll notice that one note adds a whole different flavor to the sound. You should spend a little time practicing these two scales over a few different blues backing tracks. That way you’ll really get a feel for how they sound in the context of a full song. Why don’t you get started right away?