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Tony’s Acoustic Challenge – The New Way to Learn Guitar Family Forums Community Support Open towards receiving help understanding the B flat Blues scale

  • Open towards receiving help understanding the B flat Blues scale

    Posted by AAstrum on May 29, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    <font face=”inherit”>Does TAC have a daily challenge in the form of B flat blues scale? I recently gathered enough courage to go to a jazz bar as a way of progressing in my guitar journey and while I was there I became overwhelmed with excitement and am now inspired to play a solo in front of a crowd. I met a handful of friendly people who were almost all musicians and one of the guitarist </font>recommended<font face=”inherit”> learning the B flat blues scale to perform as a solo. Any </font>recommendations<font face=”inherit”> will be appreciated. Thanks, Andy.</font>

    jumpinjeff replied 2 years, 12 months ago 5 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • N-lightMike

    May 29, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    Well, that was certainly an interesting experience, @AAstrum . Those guys probably walked away chuckling about the rabbit hole they just sent you down. Mind you, it’s certainly not a bad rabbit hole, it’s just not the fastest route to learning to solo.

    So, let’s start with your actual question as I really have no idea what those guys intent was when they told you to learn the Bb blues scale.

    First, the Bb blues scale is simply the blues scale in Bb. Some people would call it the key of Bb, but to me that’s confusing. All blues scales are a derivative of the minor scale, which means they are not the identifier of their key, but their relative major “owns” the key. So, this is the key of Db. The notes in Db would be Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db. The major pentatonic would be Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb, and back to Db. You leave out the 4th and the 7th degree.

    Now, you can take those same notes and create the minor pentatonic scale, just start from the relative minor, which is the sixth degree. So, the minor pentatonic would be Bb, Db, Eb, F, Ab, and back to Bb. If you are one of those who like to memorize “formulas”, you would leave out the 2nd and the 6th, which are the same 2 notes, just in a different degree (position) when you start counting from the 6th. That’s what I meant above about “confusing”. I can derive all this from my head because I understand all the different scales, yes, including modes, as a modification of major scale. Truth is, all music theory is simply a way to define the music so we can talk about it. It isn’t the music itself. Many times, you can explain the exact same piece of music in a number of different ways.

    So, back to the Bb blues scale. We have the Bb minor pentatonic, Bb, Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb. Now, if you stick in the note between the 4th and the 5th, counting from the relative minor, you get the “blues scale”. Now, don’t get confused, because we left out the 2nd. So, what we have is 1 (Bb), 3 (Db), 4 (Eb), 5 (F), 7 (Ab), So, the Bb (minor) blues scale would have an E added, or “Fb”. So it would be Bb, Db, Eb, E, F, Ab.

    But, since music doesn’t have any “real” rules, there can be a blues “major” scale. That would be the same thing as we just did using the Bb major scale. Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb. The major pentatonic would be Bb, C, D, F, G, Bb. Now the note you stick in counting from the relative major is between the 2nd and the 3rd, which would be C#/Db. Again, it’s the same note, just starting the count from a different note. (To verify this, count from the relative minor, G, which is the 6th. G (1), A(2), Bb (3), C (4), D (5), Eb (6), F (7), G (1). So, the Bb major blues scale is Bb, C, Db, D, F, G, Bb. (Technically, this would be the blues in G, or the G minor blues scale, but that doesn’t stop people from playing the “G minor blues” using the Bb as the tonal center and calling it the Bb major blues scale.)

    Now, the real key is not finding out what the Bb blues scale is. Because if you were playing the Bb minor blues scale, you would only solo over the keys of Bb minor, Bb major and Db major. If you count minor and major scales and leave out the modes, you have 24 keys. So that leaves 21 keys you couldn’t solo in.

    Of course, if you learned enough music theory to know what the “Bb blues scale” was as (opposed to simply knowing the 6 notes) then you would know how to solo over any key. And, that, I believe is what they meant.

    My suggestion would be to take the fretboard wizard class and put effort into the Wednesday scale lessons. Eventually, you will understand all the above explanation. But the truth is, you could become a great soloist without ever understanding music theory. But you’d have trouble playing with the jazz players if you didn’t know music theory, but even in that situation, it is possible.

    I hope I helped rather than adding to your confusion. I will do my best to clarify if you have further questions.

    MG 😀

  • Cadgirl

    May 30, 2021 at 4:36 am

    I am going to agree with Mike-Garunier , look into taking the fretboard wizard. I went though it a couple of times to really understand it. Also the challenges are good to keep up on , especially Wednesday. There is a Blues 5 day challenge in the courses that might help you out a little too. good luck, but don’t worry you’ll get there.

  • Alfred

    May 30, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Mike covered your answer in great detail.

    Here is a site with all the blue’s scales. You can see from that why fretboard wizzard, which will give you a reasonable understanding of the fretboard and basic music theory as it pertains to guitar specifically will help with understanding. This includes how to “build” a scale for a particular key on the guitar.

    Anyway… the blues scales


  • AAstrum

    May 30, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    @cadgirl, @alfred, and @Mike-Gaurnier thank you so much for the info. Im going to read through this a couple of more times so that it sticks. I’ve taken the fretboard wizard at least 4 times since I started TAC and the blues 5 day challenge twice now lol. I’m going take a plunge down this rabbit hole of understanding the blues scale as a my goal for the next month, by then I hope to be ready to play a solo at this jazz bar. When it happens, I’ll let you guys know how my first solo performance went. Thank you so much for the education and advise.

    • N-lightMike

      May 31, 2021 at 12:20 pm

      Well, if you have already taken the Fretboard Wizard Course @AAstrum then I would make some different suggestions. There are a couple of very in depth, free YouTube videos covering the CAGED system. Also, some very good videos about how to solo. There is a lot more to soloing than simply knowing scales. That’s why I recommended the Wednesday lessons as the most important thing is to just practice your scales against backing tracks. Put the time in, see rewards. Keep looking for head knowledge, see a never ending search.

      Just remember, it’s a journey. Have fun.

      MG 😀

  • jumpinjeff

    June 1, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Hi @AAstrum , this scale is a good one to mess around with because of where the A shape triad is located. As you probably know it is up one fret from the open A chord, you do have to reach back and cover the high E string with your index though. It is easiest for me when I cover the A shape using my ring finger in the 3 string bar as my ring finger. You bounce back and forth between your index and ring finger except when you add the blue note in using your middle finger on fret 2 of the B string. This is a major scale without the 4th or 7th degrees and has a flat 3rd degree and 3 natural third degree both. That flat 3 is your “blue” note. Add it or not depending on how you want it to feel. When you make the Bb chord you hardly have to move your fingers to achieve playing the scale. It is fun to add the chord into the mix since you are right there. I saw you took Fretboard so I hope this makes sense. Your first Bb note out of this position is on the G string third fret and your octave Bb note would be on the high E string 6th fret. Lemme know if it works for you. You also have easy reach to the octave on the low strings but first things first, or you may be able to figure it out?

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