Chords, Scales, Theory

Blues Scales

Blues scales can be used in many situations. Young improvisers can get by using a blues scale over an entire blues tune. This approach is called harmonic generalization. Eventually you will learn how to outline every chord in a song. The blues scale will get you by until you can do this. 

These scales must be memorized, even by beginning jazz students.

Blues in Concert F       Blues Scale                   Major Blues Scale

Concert Instruments:    F Ab Bb B C Eb F            F G Ab A C D F

Bb Instruments:            G Bb C C# D F G             G A Bb B D E G

Eb Instruments:            D F G G# A C D                D E F F# A B D

Blues in Concert Bb    Blues Scale                     Major Blues Scale

Concert Instruments:     Bb Db Eb E F Ab Bb        Bb C Db D F G Bb

Bb Instruments:             C Eb F F# G Bb C            C D Eb E G A C

Eb Instruments:             G Bb C C# D F G             G A Bb B D E G

After Mastering these, go on to learn all 12: 

Here is the scale construction (compared to a major scale):

Blues Scale: 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7     Major Blues Scale: 1 2 b3 3 5 6 8

C Eb F F# G Bb C                    C D Eb E G A C

F Ab Bb B C Eb F                     F G Ab A C D F

Bb Db Eb E F Ab Bb                 Bb C Db D F G Bb

Eb Gb Ab A Bb Db Eb              Eb F F# G Bb C 

Ab B Db D Eb Gb Ab                Ab Bb B C Eb F Ab

Db E Gb G Ab B Db                 Db Eb E F Ab Bb Db

Gb A B C Db E Gb                   Gb Ab A Bb Db Eb Gb

B D E F F# A B                        B C# D D# F# G# B

E G A Bb B D E                       E F# G G# B C# E

A C D Eb E G A                      A B C C# E F# A

D F G G# A C D                      D E F F# G A B D

G Bb C C# D F G                    G A Bb B D E G

How to construct Major, Dominant, and Minor (Dorian) scales & chords

Chords and scales go together. Chords are built on every other note of a scale. These chord/scales will cover most situations that the young improviser will encounter. Master these in all 12 keys, and you will have a great foundation for further study. Click the links below to download the practice sheet for your instrument in all 12 keys.

Type                         Scale                               Chord             Symbol         How To Construct

C Major 7                  C D E F G A B C             C E G B            CMaj7          Every other note of the major scale

C Dominant 7            C D E F G A Bb C           C E G Bb           C7               Lower the 7th note of the major scale

C Minor 7 (Dorian)     C D Eb F G A Bb C         C Eb G Bb       Cm7 or C-7    Lower the 3rd and 7th note of the major scale

C Minor 7 flat 5         C Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C    C Eb Gb Bb      Cm7b5          Lower the 3rd, 5th and 7th note of the major scale

(also called half diminished)   This is the 7th mode of the major scale, so just think of the key that is one half step above the root. In this example we play a Db scale starting on C. 



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