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Sure, weve all heard the blues scale often. Its deeply linked to the language of modern guitar. Its a scale that’s versatile, adaptable, and perhaps, overused. Most of us have practiced it until our fingers became blistered. However, we always have to revisit it and refine our technique. Blues scales are employed in so many genres including rock, country, bluegrass, funk, jazz, metal, and beyond. Regardless of what design of music youre playing, it’ll last well to possess this idea down. But parallel blues scales might help open your ear and fingers to new musical explorations within mostly well-worn paths.
Exactly what is a Parallel Blues Scale?
Its simpler than you imagine. If you have a significant and minor scale that shares exactly the same root it generates a parallel relationship between them. Whether youre integrating both scales within exactly the same phrase, or playing one immediately after the other, this process will help you to say a lot more than if you only used one scale.
Each scale, chord, and arpeggio could be boiled right down to a numerical formula that lets you know how exactly to alter a significant scale to obtain a specific sound. A significant blues scale formula is 12b3356. You might consider this as a significant pentatonic scale with a b3.
The minor version of the blues scale is 1b34b55b7. Here, we have been taking our standard minor pentatonic shape and adding a b5.
Heres the overall Rule
Once the key is major, we are able to use major and minor blues scales based off exactly the same root. For instance, over a G7 chord we’re able to bust out both G major blues scale (GABbBDE) and the G minor blues scale (GBbCDbDF).
As a guitarist, its vital to know both forms intimately. In the event that you pay attention to the greats such as for example Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Pat Martino, George Benson, or Grant Green, youll hear they weave in and out of both tonalities seamlessly.
The Parallel Approach
In Ex. 1 I outline both scales you start with the major and the minor. Lets break this down a little more. Both scales share three common notes (G, Bb, and D). That leaves six notes which are unique to each scale. The two 2, 3, and 6 really solidify the sound of a significant tonality. However, the b5 and b7 are defining notes in the minor blues scale. These notes are what shapes the music that’s built upon these scales.
The next examples only use major and minor blues scales, unadorned with outside notes or other scales, played over G7. As youll see, with good phrasing and rhythm theres a whole lot that you can do with just both scales. In Ex. 2 I start nice and easy with a major-sounding blues run. Even by staying entirely within the scale it is possible to take liberties and emphasize colorful chord tones on strong beats. For instance, I kick it off with the 9 (A) on beat 1. Within the next measure I start the 13 (E) before drilling that b32 sound on beat 2.
Ex. 3 includes a fragment of the minor blues scale. Ive been focusing on playing repeated four-note patterns through different rhythmic ideas. Here, Im performing a four-note shape through sextuplets, or 16th-note triplets. As you build up the speed it could become very shreddy.
Next, lets look at ways to blend the scales together. In Ex. 4 I primarily utilize the minor version, but several notes from the major blues scale creep in, notably A and E. It will be provides line a Dorian vibe.
Just playing endless eighth- or 16th-notes could be tiresome, so adding more fascination with the phrasing helps a whole lot. Ex. 5 starts in major but descends the minor pattern. Plus, the syncopation and rhythm ensure it is pop a little more.
Theres still a location for chromaticismwhen used right.In Ex. 6 chromatic components of both scales are combined so much that the tonality is really a bit obscured. It is possible to totally hear the blurred line between major and minor here.
Ex. 7 is really a sweet country-style lick. This example sounds major overall, but you can find colors of the minor blues scale by adding F and Db.
It is possible to cover a substantial amount of ground with Ex. 8. The line begins having an ascending major blues scale run, accompanied by hybrid chromatic notes within the quintuplets. The chromatic components of both scales combined add color and again obscures the tonality, making for a thrilling line!
Ex. 9 begins in major, then switches to minor on beat 2. Spot the extended chromatic line that is a popular melodic blues phrase. It starts from the b3 and moves chromatically around the 5.
Our final example (Ex. 10) starts with a significant blues idea accompanied by minor blues phrase with the entrance of the quintuplets. The opening chromatic line, sweeps, and the quintuplets ensure it is pretty challenging.
Its vital to have the blues scales in your arsenal, both intellectually and technically. As guitarists, we keep adding new concepts to material we know. The word rings true: Whats old is new again. Until the next time, happy shredding and revel in the journey!