The Blues Scale in G Guitar

blues scale in g guitar

The blues scale is an indispensable foundation of guitar playing. Easy to remember and applicable across any key, it forms the cornerstone of a solid musical foundation.

This scale is a minor pentatonic scale with one additional chromatic passing tone – flattened down to a blue note b3. When played properly, this note adds tension and dissonance which resolves beautifully upon walking up to subsequent notes in the scale.


No matter the genre of music you perform, mastering the blues scale can open up new avenues of improvisation. This minor hexatonic scale named after American blues music can be played over chord progressions of any tonality and its unique feature is that some notes may not match up perfectly with chords in its progression; creating tension which resolves beautifully once reaching its next note.

This scale is derived from the minor pentatonic, but includes one additional note – often called the “blue note.” It’s easy to practice and incorporate this scale wherever minor pentatonic may currently be utilized.

If you’re unfamiliar with fingering guitar, start with your index finger at the first fret of A string and move up and down through its scale making sure that each note strikes with equal force. Once comfortable with this approach, try it in other keys and use its scales to craft unique licks.

Take the time to study and memorize any new scale. By carefully paying attention to every note in its structure and context of improvisational scenarios, this will enable you to play it quickly in any situation that arises.

When starting out in scale practice, it’s wise to start off slowly before progressing at an increased pace as your proficiency grows. A metronome will also help keep your rhythm steady; daily practice, even for just a few minutes at first, will help build muscle memory and increase finger dexterity.

Once you have learned the fundamental blues scale, use it to your advantage! Use it to craft unique licks and explore how you can use it to convey emotion through guitar playing.

Scale Shapes

The blues scale is an indispensable set of scale shapes used when improvising, helping you find notes to fit with chord progressions. There are various set of these scale shapes; most frequently used ones include Shape 1 (E minor pentatonic), 2 (E minor major), and 3 (B minor pentatonic). There are various ways of building this scale on the fretboard which may initially prove daunting – it is best to spend time practicing its construction by ascending and descending each shape on single strings or pairs as well as drawing them on paper before trying them on your fretboard – this way everyone involved knows where each shape should go on their fretboard.

Key to this scale’s unique sound is that it does not include half steps, creating its distinctive bluesy sound. The only note with an offset semitone between notes in this scale is the blue note or flat tenth note – considered an extra chromatic note that adds to both minor pentatonic scales to give them their unique sounds.

If you have already learned the minor pentatonic scale and want to expand your repertoire with new scale shapes, this is an ideal place to start. This scale shares similarity in structure to its minor pentatonic counterpart; however, one difference lies within one additional blue note which adds tension and bluesy flair during your improvisations.

Once you have mastered scale shapes, an excellent way to practice is playing them in groups of five ascending and descending notes at a low metronome speed; this will help cement these scale shapes across your guitar’s neck.

Or you could alternate playing each scale shape starting at the third fret and proceeding up without pausing until reaching the 15th fret – taking care to practice each one before moving forward with this method.


One of the key aspects of blues scale music is understanding its variations, as this will enable you to use it effectively in various situations and develop your improvisational style. There are numerous shapes and variations, with minor pentatonic scales having one additional flat fifth (known as “blue note”) adding more chromaticism and creating its distinctive sound.

Step one in mastering the blues scale is memorizing its shape on all six strings of your guitar. A metronome set to 60 BPM may help; repeat the scale from bottom to top until you can play it without consulting tab or fingerboard diagram. This exercise not only strengthens memory but can help reveal any gaps in understanding of its structure.

Once you’ve memorized the scale shape, it’s time to put it into action by playing songs that utilize the G blues scale. Doing this with familiar songs will help familiarize yourself with its sound as a whole while sparking ideas for new licks. In subsequent lessons we will look at examples of blues licks using this scale and how you can incorporate these licks into your own playing.

G blues scale is composed of two major constructions: major scale and minor pentatonic scale with flat 5th. We will focus on this latter form as it is typically employed during improvisational music performances.

The major scale is made up of seven notes that are all an equal fourth apart from its tonic note or root note, making up its center note (tonic note). To identify its notes, one method that helps is the W-H-W rule, used to count whole and half steps on piano keys – where for whole tones you simply add two physical piano keys (white or black), while to count half tones simply subtract two half steps at either end.


The blues scale consists of six notes including an octave of its tonic note (G). While its basic shapes resemble that of either minor pentatonic or major pentatonic scales, what sets this one apart is an additional flat fifth note referred to as the ‘blue note”. This additional flat fifth gives this scale its signature sound and makes it particularly effective for creating blues riffs and solos.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, including blue notes into your improvisations is an integral component of playing blues guitar. They create dissonant sounds which add depth and character while helping create tension within phrases that can then be resolved by returning back to chord tones – an effective way to make music more captivating for listeners.

As a way to help get you started, I have designed a simple fretboard chart which displays all of the blues scale patterns. Use it to find one that works with the chord you are playing before practicing ascending and descending it. When you have it down pat, experiment by playing it with other chords to see how it sounds.

As your skills advance, start including blues scale improvisation into your regular improvs to add another dimension to your playing. It will open up new improvisation opportunities while giving you tools for any style of blues from slow 12-bar slow blues to driving rock songs – just be mindful not to overdo it as overusing blues scale can become harsh and dissonant; use it sparingly!

As time progresses, you should be able to effortlessly move between all of the blues scale shapes without pausing, which will help cement your knowledge of scale patterns while simultaneously building speed. Once you’ve mastered all of them, try using them in combination with other scales to form chromatic lines with both major and minor chords.