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3 Scales To Play Minor Blues

Minor blues scales. Minor blues lesson

This minor blues lesson includes chords, scales, backing tracks to play different scales along with blues in B Minor key

I will start with a quick introduction about my personal journey getting to play the blues. If you are looking to start right away please jump down till you see the backing track and scales used in this lesson


I learned about playing the blues years after I started playing the guitar. As a beginner I was more impressed with showy fast playing and fancy tricks.

5 years later I started to settle a bit and focus more on melody and feeling, and that when I fell in love with the blues. Perhaps this sequence happened with many other guitar players. Many young guitarists start with metal and hard rock then slowly move back to the roots.. towards more soul and more feeling.. towards the blues.

As I am coming from a different part in this world, A place that is far away from where the blues originated, I think I have been lucky to explore the blues with a bit freedom rather than stick to the traditional methods or the conventional way.

With an influence by Middle Eastern and Egyptian music, I find it interesting and joyful to mix different sound with plain minor blues. Minor blues has always been a favorite by great players like Gary Moore, BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Today I will share with you my favorite scales to play with minor blues. I am more of a minor person when it comes to music, I love major sound at times, but like many of you, I find myself mostly in the minor mood.

Backing Track (B Minor Blues)

First, listen to the backing track we have for today’s lesson. It is in Bm

The scales I will talk about today are

Natural Minor (Aeolian Mode)

Harmonic Minor

Pentatonic Minor/Blues Minor

Chord Progression (12 bar)

First lets look at chord progression used

Look at the image below and see the fingerings of the different chords used in this 12 bar blues progression. 3 chords are needed to play this.

All are minor chords and they are numbered 1 4 5 based on their order in the B minor scale.

Chord 1: Bm Chord 4: Em Chord 5: F#m

the 7th extension is usually used in blues and jazz music.

Listen to the backing track, focus on hearing the shifts between these different chords as they appear in the image below. Click to enlarge or save as a file for later use

Here is another link if you like to listen to the audio version of this blues backing track

Now lets check the scales that we can use to improvise ideas and play a solo along with the chords. In the next video you can watch a demo of how to mix those scales…

B Natural Minor Scale
B Harmonic Minor Scale
B Pentatonic Minor Scale

Here is a few thoughts about playing different scales..

First let me be clear and say that you don’t need a lot of scales to sound good. You can play a single scale all the way and sound much better than someone who seems to be focused on technical playing or showing off his knowledge of different scales.

I will use this analogy example to make it more clear. Speaking is expressing ideas using words to communicate. Playing music is expressing ideas with tones. What matter is what you say not how much you say, that applies to speaking and the same way applies to music.

The main purpose of mixing scales is to play different sounding ideas and express varied dynamics with flexibility depending on the energy level/vibe of the different sections of the track. keeping the solo interesting and move between different colors and flavors is another goal of playing different scales.

As you can see in the video I used the harmonic minor scale to play along with the section where the energy drops and the vibe changes to light beat without that hip hop groove used in other section. the Purpose of playing the harmonic minor at this part is to introduce a new sound and new improvisational ideas that has a strong contrast.

You don’t need to play the different scales all at the same time (although you can) but like I said it is better to focus at playing one scale at a time with a specific section. Doing that will make the sound of the scale more clear and will let you express more unique and tasty ideas using it rather than just mindlessly playing different scales.

For more minor blues backing track check this playlist on Spotify

If you like to get access to download all scale diagrams needed plus monthly downloads backing tracks you join me on Patreon

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