Blues Scale - Junior Year Blues Lesson 9 Part II

So far we have avoided notes higher than 6D for our second position blues solos. Now we explore the higher notes. Play the scale 6B 6D 7D 7B 8D 8B 9D 9B, like this


The scale has the root, fourth and fifth and seventh. The blues scale also requires a flat third and flat fifth, and no other notes. However, the flat third and flat fifth are not available in the high second position octave. This is perhaps one reason why second position blues avoids the high notes, as they do not have the same blues sound as the lower ones.

There is a solution however, that is to play the flat second and second instead (namely the 6D' and 6D). The resulting scale has the notes 6B 6D' 6D 7B 8D 9D 9B, and sounds like this


This scale has a stronger blues sound than the previous one. Play the scale up, then down, with this backing


We now combine these blues scales. Play the notes

2D 3D' 4B 4D' 4D 5D 6B 6D' 6D 7B 8D 9D 9B

then back down, with

9D 8D 7B 6D 6D' 6B 5D 4D 4D' 4B 3D' 2D

finishing with

2D" 1D 1D' 1B 1D' 1D 2D" 2D

The whole exercise sounds like this


Try it with this metronome at 80 beats per minute


Your aim should be to reach 120 beats per minute, like this


Some of the faster country tunes go at this speed, this will help you to keep up. However, work up to this speed gradually. It may take several months. If you do not have a metronome, then use the free software one from this lesson.

The final blues scale exercise fits to a blues shuffle. The notes are

2D 3D' 2D 3D' 4B 3D' 4B 4D' 4B 4D' 4D 4D' 4D 5D 4D 5D

6B 5D 6B 6D' 6B 6D' 6D 6D' 6D 7B 6D 7B 8D 7B 8D 9D 8D 9D 9B

and sound like this


Now try the exercise with this backing


Hopefully you've been able to hear some great blues harmonica players live. You perhaps heard phrases you did not understand, but made you (and everyone else) feel good. A strong command of the blues scale will have you sounding more like these great players.

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