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Blues Scale Question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by p12bassnut, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. p12bassnut

    p12bassnut Be wierd Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2009
    DFW Metroplex
    If I was to play a blues tune in A Major:

    Would I play this ?

    (1-3-5-b7-1) With perhaps the 4 & b5 blue notes added?


    Also, what then would be appropriate for an A minor key?

  2. togglehead

    togglehead Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    A blues scale is:
    1 3 4 b5 5 b7 8

    ...in comparison to the major scale of the same key.

    In the case of minor key...you could always play the relative major blues scale. ;)
  3. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    Try a simple walking bass line...
    Anything will do just as long as it is 12 bars.....
    Best one I can think of at this time is anything by Paul Butterfield or B B King, these lines arel easy to copy......I could write it out for you but what would be the fun?................................You are playing bass and not soloing let the guitars do that.....Get a jamie abersold music minus one cd instructional material it will help you......
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    probably not. you might do a 1-3-5-6-b7-6-5-3, or maybe a 1-3-5-6, or possibly a 8va-b7-6-5, but you probably don't want to outline a 7th chord so blatantly like you're just running arpeggios. the best thing to do to learn how to play a good blues bassline is go listen to your favorite blues songs, learn the basslines, then steal their riffs and use them with your band.

    way too difficult without knowing the type of song. a funk blues would be a whole different approach than a slow blues, and a walking blues would be different from a rock blues. again, stolen licks off of your favorite songs are a lifesaver in blues.
  5. + 1 to the "lick library" idea. Get as many down as you can & nail 'em together your way.

    No-ones mentioned b3, so I will.

    1 - b3 - 4 - b5-4 - b3 - 1, 8va1 - b7 - 8va1 (Hard Road, John Mayall & Peter Green)
  6. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan used to comp there own bass lines in to here playing. Listen to Pride and Joy for example there is a bassline comp on it from the guitar. Blues bass players can learn a lot from players like Vaughan because if he is stating a bass line what does the bass player do. Tommy Shannon, in my opinion is a very under rated bass player. He does a killer job in a band with not only potential of Vaughans guitar in his space, but the left hand of keyboard player Reese Wynans also. Tommy is a true great of the blues bass player.:)

  7. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    +1 a standard trick in the blues is to call a tune with the same bassline if a member is not familiar with the original call.
    i.e. Shake for Me and Killing Floor. When you have to be really creative is when two tunes get called with the same line in a row.
  8. Yes - the blues scale I grew up with is:
    1, b3, 4, #4, 5, b7

    Sharp 4 or flat five take your pick. The blues scale in my neck of the woods is the minor pentatonic scale (1, b3, 4, 5, b7) with the blue note (#4 or b5) added.

    As the chord progression usually is all dominant sevenths, E7, A7, B7 if I'm going beyond a R or R-5 I try to get that b3 and b7 in there somewhere and accenting the blue note is also a good idea. If you are into modes then Mixolydian with its natural 3 and b7 would be a good choice.

    Major or minor over the major dominant chords seems to work. The blues have a different set of "rules".
    Notice the groove in this video http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/vi...4ff9df343d3aaa5eee4e4ff9df343d3-1669094507166 Gotta have a groove or you are just doing scale exercises.

    Have fun.
  9. Jimmy --- I think you were the first to mention:
    8va-b7-6-5 Not sure what va indicates. Few words on "va" would be appreciated.

  10. in notation 8va means played an octave up.....you see this a lot where the alternative would be a lot of ledger lines above the staff.....
  11. +1:bassist:
  12. lowendfriend
    -- I love bass 'cause I can still hear in that range!

    Yes small children --- forget it, no way.
  13. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    JimmyM. That's the best damn advice I've heard in a long time:D For those concerned. it's not really stealing, but rather, paying those players compliments by pinching their licks.:bassist: Copying is the best form of flattery IMHO:)
  14. Yes, but when notating notes of a chord, doesn't the '8' already indicate
    that it is an octave up?
    Is this something for the Department of Redundancy Department?

  15. We do need something, for example; I'm working on a riff that moves both up and down - having trouble deciding how to notate it -- I don't think in tab and would like to stay with scale intervals or degree. That way I can take it to any key I want. Once I place the pattern I visualize from there.

    Following Sunshine of your love in A.
    I made myself a notation to go to the G string for this part -- 4, 4, b3, 4 then up to 8, 7, b7, 4, b6, 4

    Riff in question is http://www.bassmasta.net/c/cream/109195.html

    How would you'all notate this -- in scale/key intervals?
  16. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Well i does sort of, but 8va means an octave up and a bracket above the stave is used to indicate the notes. It just helps reduce the notes getting to far off the stave with ledger lines. As does 15ma means two octaves above stated. 8vb means an octave below and 15mb means two octaves below stated and the bracket appears under the stave.

    Along with other notations that say the same thing it is good to understand what the all mean. Even the mistakes or misprints of 16va being used to represent two octaves from stated, it is wrong but you will know what is wanted.
    With that in mind is that not the point of standard notation..to have a standard that we all adhere to and understand so there should be no surprises, i mean if we all just wrote what we wanted then there is no standard to refer to is there?:)
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    hey, i didn't invent it ;)
  18. togglehead

    togglehead Supporting Member

    Jul 1, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    DOH! youre right...thats what i meant!

    But...in the case of a major blues...id usually sub in the maj3 (if i was playing a 3rd at all).
  19. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    1-3-5-6-b7-6-5-3 (Think Johnny B. Goode)

    I also use 1-1-8-8-7-7-5-5
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    if i'm playing a walking blues bass line in a major key, i would NEVER use the b3 in the main octave. if you use a b3 to play a support line in a major key, you throw it into a minor key. that may be ok if you're playing a solo, but it won't win you any friends if you're supporting. i would, however, maybe throw in the b3 in the higher octave now and then, but that's very case-dependent.

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