Sunday, July 12, 2009

2-String Pentatonic and Blues Scales

The first bar below shows a traditional Am pentatonic scale. The notes are A, C, D, E, and G.

In the second bar, the b5 is added to the Am pentatonic, creating what is commonly known as the Blues scale. With the added b5 the A Blues scale consists of the notes A, C, D, Eb, E and G.

In the first example, these two scales are shown in their traditional fingerings at the V (5th) position. To clarify, a position is determined by the fret where the index finger is placed when playing a particular scale, chord or musical passage.

Another way to negotiate the pentatonic and Blues scales is by re-ordering the notes so that they can played entirely on 2-strings.

The Am pentatonic, re-ordered from the 7th instead of from the root, becomes G, A, C, D, E.

Adding the b5 'blue' note, the order of the notes would now be G, A, C, D, Eb and E.

Both examples are shown below:

These 2-string pentatonic and Blues scale patterns yield a more horizontal or diagonal approach and help to break positional ruts while facilitating greater fingerboard range.

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