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Blues scale - 12 bar blues - huh?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by stoob, Sep 1, 2008.


  1. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    I'm a bit confused...

    I've learnt the blues scale - say starting in E - E, G, A, A#, B etc

    and I have been trying to play along with 12 Bar Blues but the scaling is totally different.

    Am I incorrect or is the the 12 Bar Blues a completely different scaling? Weird, please help! :meh:

    Cheers
    Stuart
     
  2. fish slapper

    fish slapper

    Nov 17, 2005
    Newberg, OR
    The blues scale is just a scale used to form solos. The 12 bar blues refers to the chord structure. IIII IVIV II V IV II. These are the chords you play to the form. So your supporting bass line could be any note coming off the root note to another note in the chord.

    Are you trying to form a supporting bass line or a solo over the form?
     
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Each blues scale will work over a specific chord. You don't play it over the entire 12 bars - you need to change scales when the chord changes.
     
  4. use mixolydian scales for walking lines (at least for a basic 3 chord 12 bar pattern)
     
  5. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Like Pacman said. For instance, if you're playing standard I IV V 12 bar blues in E then the chord changes are E A and B. You have to play the E scale over E, A over A and B over B.
     
  6. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    That depends on the music.

    As Fishslapper said, 12 bar blues is the progression I IV V over 12 bars. The format is:
    | I | I | I | I | IV | IV | I | I | V | VI | I | I |.

    You could base this on the blues scale, you could base it on Mixolydian, you could base it on the Byzantine or any other given scale, if you really wanted to.

    The blues scale doesn't necessarily mean that it will be used in every 12 bar blues progression just as every 12 bar blues progression won't be based on the blues scale.
     
  7. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Thanks guys great help, I know about changing the chords etc, I just think its a bit strange though that 12 bar blues doesn't allow the blues scale as the notes I mentioned when soloing over it, so it doesn't work so I have to use the Mixolydian scale which is almost a straight standard scale?

    Of course some of the higher blues notes can be used but these lower blues scale notes sound wrong when playing the standard 12 bar blues bass (E, G#, C#, E) lines (an example would be the chords in this video, the first one I found ) so I would have to use the Mixolydian scale or is there an alternative scale?

    I'm basically asking what scale would be best to use over this progression.

    Cheers for the answers already.
     
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    You have to lose the idea of using one scale over a whole progression. Unless the progression is entirely diatonic, you're not going to make it. Either way, the best way to outline the harmony is to play each chord change - and there's no shortcuts there. You've got to put in the work.
     
  9. When playing "normal" supportive Bass in a blues, you'd outline the chord being played at the moment.

    You'd use a pentatonic scale if you went off and did a widdly bit along with the drum fill at the end of (usually) a 4 bar section.

    Also many classic Blues signature riffs tend to be pentatonic and may also include the flat 5.
     
  10. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Yep I know these things, but say just playing around with the first note E, the pentatonic doesn't seem to work with this bass line even though it's blues, so are you both saying there isn't a scale exactly, you would just need to either work out or feel the notes to play?
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Bass lines really have to be based on the chords - you have to be outlining the chords.

    Solos can make use of seemingly unrelated scales, but you have to have the skill to resolve these and the confidence that what you are playing, sounds right!
     
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    No! We're saying understand what chords are in the 12 bar blues and outline them. In a 12 bar blues (using only the I, IV, and V chords) there are 3 scales used....

    You're missing some vital information. I suggest you start here....
     
  13. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Oh I see, sorry and thanks :)
     
  14. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Listen to what these guys are saying. They are telling you the truth. You have to stay within the structure of the chord that is being played. If you don't, there will be bloodshed, lots o bloodshed. And you will learn the true meaning of da blues :) Blues players take that stuff rather serious. If you get to solo then all bets are off:) Just rebember to bring it back to the song when you are done:)
     
  15. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    No, no - don't be sorry. I apologize for my ranting.


    The only reason I'm passionate about it is that I was there once. Looking for a "one size fits all" approach - the proverbial magic pill. I wasted so much time looking for a quick fix, if I'd just put in the time, I'd be way ahead of where I am today. I'd hate to see anyone waste as much time as I did....
     
  16. stoob

    stoob

    Feb 3, 2008
    Horten, Norway
    Hey no problem, I just got really frustrated that when I got the blues scale down well and can play fast runs with it, I thought, great, if I play 12 bar blues with people I can put in the Pentatonic blues scale and look impressive but this doesn't work all the time, I guess I'll just have to learn the scales of the chords being played.

    Thanks again!
     
  17. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Ok, now you're cookin'! Learn the blues scale for each chord in a 12 bar - That's where you want to head next..
     
  18. Lorenzini

    Lorenzini

    Dec 31, 2004
    Los Angeles
    You should specify which scale, because a major or major pentatonic or minor pentatonic or blues scale won't work just because it's on the IV or V chord
     
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Actually, in a blues it will work. A blues will have dominant chords for all changes (generally), so E blues will work on the I, A blues on the IV, and B blues on the V chord will work just fine. In the key of E of course.
     
  20. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    This isn't accurate, one can use a single blues scale over the entire 12 bar blues.
     

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