How To Play a Blues Scale

By: Jerry A. Greene

Question: How do you figure out a jazz/blues scale in any key?


The first thing you must do is determine the key that you are playing in. It helps if you know the major scale built on that same key tone. That way, the scale degrees I am going to list for you will make sense.

A C blues would look like this: C Eb F Gb G Bb C

The Scale degrees are: 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7 1
This is the same in any key.

Another example using the G Blues: G Bb C Db D F G

If you play piano, the easiest of the blues scales that you can play is the Eb blues. The reason why this is so easy is that it is every black key, with an "A" added. It looks like this:

Eb Gb Ab A Bb Db Eb

On a guitar, the blues scale is relatively easy as well, since it is a pattern that can be used up and down the neck. The first octave tab (from bottom to top) (Bolded numbers are 1 in the key):


You can use these scales along with the blues chord progressions and create your own songs!