Learning Blues Scales

Although my site concentrates mainly on R&B and Neo Soul. Many people who listen to this genre of music may also be interested in Blues, the roots of R&B. Even though the C scale maybe the easiest key to explain in piano theory, that is not the case for the blues scale. The C blues scale does not consist of the white keys only like the major scale.

In terms of ease of playability and finger movement I recommend the blues scale F as a good learning starting point. However the principle is the same for all scales. The blues scale is as follows:

1 – b3 – 4 – b5 – 5 – b7 – 1. Six notes are used. To play the blues in the scale of F you will need to learn the following notes.

F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F

I like to practice these blues scales 3-4 times a week. The best way to practice playing blues scale alone is to play over backing tracks. There are many on YouTube with different tempos. A good one I tend to use is the one below. This one is a little fast if you are still learning but there are many slower versions on line.

I play the chords with my left hand and improvise over the Blues F scale using my right hand. Below is a typical chord progression for Jazz Blues. Note that the chords are not all Dominant (Blues) chords. There are minor (jazz) chords mixed in towards the end. However you can still improvise using the F blues scale throughout.



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