The Major Blues Scale | Guitar Lesson with Shapes

What is the Major Blues Scale?

The major blues scale is one of the most important blues scales that any jazz guitarist must know. It is built with root (1), second (2), minor third (b3 - passing tone), major third (3), fifth (5) and sixth (6). The major blues scale  is a useful device when you want to improvise over major and dominant chords. It gives bluesy vibes to your guitar solos.

How Is Built The Major Blues Scale?

This is a hexatonic scale, it means that it contains six notes per octaves just as the minor blues scale. In comparison with the major pentatonic scale, there is an additional note between the second (2) and the major third (3). This note is named flat tenth (b10) or flat third (b3), this a blue note. Flat tenth is more appropriate in this harmonic context because a scale can't have two thirds in its composition. 

In brief the major blues scale is made up of : root (1), major second (2), a flat tenth (b10) or minor third (b3), major third (3), fifth (5) and sixth (6).

C major blues scale C D Eb E G A
Formula 1 2 b10 or b3 3 5 6
Intervals W H H W + H W W+H

 

Here is a comparative table of the major scale, the major pentatonic scale, the major blues scale, the minor pentatonic scale and the minor blues scale :

Major scale 1 2 X 3 4 X 5 6 X 7
Major pentatonic scale 1 2 X 3 X X 5 6 X X
Major blues scale 1 2 b10 or b3 3 X X 5 6 X X
Minor pentatonic scale 1 X b3 X 4 X 5 X b7 X
Minor blues scale 1 X b3 X 4 b5 5 X b7 X

Major blues scale | Guitar diagrams

How to Play the Major Blues Scale on Guitar?

Here are five guitar positions of the major blues scale. The first important thing to do is to locate the root note (R), this is the orange triangles in the diagrams.The root will serve as basis for the transposition of these shapes.

You can also locate the blue note (b3), which is the blue note in the diagrams. Please note that these guitar positions are the same as the major pentatonic scale boxes but with the minor third (b3) added. This one is used as a passing tone between the second (2) and the major third (3).

Once you have memorized these diagrams you have to transpose them moving the root on the desired note keeping the same intervals. 

  • Diatonic Licks Bundle NEW

    This downloadable package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
  • 40 Mixolydian Jazz Guitar Lick NEW

    This package contains a guitar method available as a PDF with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
  • 40 Minor (Dorian) Jazz Guitar

    This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode for building effective improvised solos.
  • 40 Major Jazz Guitar Licks

    Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
  • 40 II V I Jazz Guitar Licks

    This pdf method for guitar contains 40 II V I jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
  • 101 Dominant Arpeggio Patterns

    This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
  • 49 Essential Jazz Lines

    This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians of all times with TABS, standard notation, audio files and analysis both for guitar teachers and students.
  • Mastering Pentatonic Scales

    This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
  • 50 II-V-I voicings

    This guitar method is a printable PDF eBook contains 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation on how to play over II-V-I chord progressions using different kind of voicings.
  • 11 Jazz Blues Studies

    This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
  • Mastering The Altered Scale

    This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
  • 40 Blues Dominant patterns

    This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
  • 25 Soul Jazz Guitar Licks

    You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
  • 25 Diminished Patterns

    This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
  • 6 Tritone substitution licks

    The tritone substitution is explained through 6 jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video links. Printable PDF eBook.

Last edited: 10/17/2019