How to use blues scales to play country music

Secret Guitar Teacher

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Published on 26 January 2016
For more information from the source site of this video please visit: Using Blues scales to play country scales. In this lesson we are going to further explore the relationship between the blues and country scales. And to show you a few practical ways of putting this knowledge to good, instant effect.. To start off I am going to use a 12 bar blues in A as a backing track. Watch and listen what happens as I shift from the first verse (over which I am going to stick to the Blues Scale) to the second where I am going to jump to the Country scale...(see video) Did you here the change in feel from Blues to Country..? Hard to describe exactly, but it is a definite strong change in musical flavour. One of the special features of the Major 12-bar blues sequence is that you can use either the Blues scale or the Country over it -- in fact, this is exactly what many of the Blues Greats do -- to make brilliant sounding solos. Let's take a closer look at how to get from a knowledge of the Blues Scale patterns to the Country Scale... In the last lesson we saw how the notes of the G Country Scale come from the same series of notes as the E Blues scale.. In music theory we refer to this relationship between keys that share the same notes as Relative Keys. We say that G Major is the relative Major of E Minor. Equally, that E Minor is the relative Minor key of G Major -- it's a two- way relationship. The Blues Scale is classified as a Minor Scale and the Country Scale is classified as a Major scale. (See Music Theory Section of this site: for more details on what defines these classifications) There are several ways to work out relative keys, but today we are interested in practicalities so I am going to show you one simple one will help you with this. When I think of playing Blues Scales in A , my first point of orientation is the First Position. To play the first position in A I know that I have to find the note A on the 6th string and place my first finger on that note. I am then lined up to play the first position in A and, if I want to, I can go on and work the other positions out from there using the drills we have been over in the orientation lessons. To get the Country Scale in A -- I start by locating the same note -- A on the 6th string, but instead of lining up my first finger with that note, I line up my fourth finger, the pinky with it... Allowing my other fingers to fall into their natural places means that my first finger aligns with the note F#. This tells me in effect to 'Think' in the key of F# or more specifilly to use the F# blues scale patterns to give me the notes of the A Country Scale Improvising using the Country Scale is, I think, slightly harder than using the Blues Scale. You have to work at your phrasing a little more carefully. Think melodically, make up little tunes.. Remember that our main key note has moved from here ... ... in the Blues Scale to ...Here in the Country Scale (see video) You can happily recycle the same licks as you have learnt or developed with the blues scales, but most often you will have to change the last note of the lick to make it phrase properly so this Blues Lick...(see video)...becomes this Country Lick.. (see video) Finally, although we have limited our explanation to the First position for the sake of clarity, what goes for one position applies to all .You'll find the Backing Track for Blues in A in the toolbox and I recommend spending some time experimenting with this approach before moving on to the next lesson. Also in the printout section of the toolbox is a look-up chart you can use to help learn your related keys off by heart. So I'll play out now with a demonstration of using the A country scale (the F# Blues Scale patterns) across the whole fretboard. See you in the next lesson when we'll look at some key Country Scale Licks.

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