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Major Blues Scale

Playing in major is challenging to many guitarists, the major blues scale is no exception. I think one reason to why many guitar-players prefer the minor scale is simply that it is the first scale you learn. 

Also, a lot of rock and pop songs are based on minor blues, I don’t think there are many riffs in popular music based around the major scale. I can clearly remember myself when I started to explore playing in major, I would always relate to the parallel in minor: If i played in G, I would pretend to play in e-minor, just starting the scale on another root. 

While this is a way into major-playing, it has the limitation that you don’t really feel the major scale, you just pretend to play in another mode. You have to treat the note g differently if it is the root than if it is the minor-third.

Enough of the theory stuff, here is an example of how to easily get the feel for the major blues:

I´m basically playing a minor blues scale, and raise all the minor thirds in that scale. 

It is a very easy thing to do, and I first discovered it a few years ago when I was into Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer stuff. The recordings of them have a unique vibe, and I think some of it is caused by using the scale mentioned. It gives the music another feel, and when performed by masters like Hammer and Beck, it really shines. 

Later on, I discovered country and jazz-players does the similar thing, both of them use chromatics as well. The scale has the same feel as the mixolydian mode, but is easier to apply. Below is a clip where I improvise using the scale. Enjoy!


Article by Christer Fredriksen

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