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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Rockin John, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Been reading my Blues bass books. The Blues scale is R + b3 + b5 + b7 (as compared to a Maj scale).

    So, am I correct in thinking the root chord of a blues scale in C would be Cm7(b5)?

  2. no
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Blues Scale-


    IIRC...it's been awhile.

    Also, it's Blues.
    Sometimes, the bass will play patterns with b3's against chords that are not really minor (maybe Dominant 7 type of chords).
  4. I give up. I'm sick of it. I just don't know why I bother.

    :( :( :rollno: :(

    Everything I try to learn seems to be wrong. I'm not kidding, it's really getting to me now. If it's not getting it wrong with theory, it's incorrect technique on the bass. And if it's not incorrect technique it's the wife bitching snarling and generally being hateful towards me cos I'm trying to progress at the one and only hobby I've got.


    I posted a thread a bit ago about feeling like I'm standing at the crossroads with playing bass. I've just about had it...

  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Which makes the b3 a #2 (or #9)
  6. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    As already stated, the blues scale is R b3 4 b5 5 b7

    The b5 is a passing tone... it only really works well in passing between other notes. You really don't want to hit b5 on a strong beat (whereas the R or 5 would sound great).
  7. OK. Yes, I forgot to include 4th note.

    So, is the wisdom that:-

    1) Cm7(b5) is not a good chord to play because of b5?

    2) Cm7(b5) does not exist at all?

    3) I should have use a natural 5th so that the blues scale cord is Cm7?

    4) None of those things. Quit and take up heavy drinking and smoking (again!)?

    Sorry guys, but am seriously floundering here.

  8. middlebit


    Sep 10, 2005
    Don't be so put down, John. I think the problem here is that you think of the blues scale as belonging to a specific minor/major mode and try to construct a chord from this approach. In theory, you're right on: the most 'proper' chord would be the Cm7#11 (the #11 being the b5/#4 of your blues scale), but your ears would probably tell you otherwise.
    I see blues as a more open thing, typically based in an altered dominant chord or something. You can really do just about anything with a dominant7 chord and still have it function as such. Try with a C7 first, then throw in the extensions #9 and #11 later if you want. Hang in there!
  9. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    1) IF the other instruments are playing a m7(b5) then playing one is just fine. Blues are generally in Dominant 7 chords (R, 3, 5, b7), but I have heard blues songs with m7's, m7b5's, m6, etc... So the most acceptable one would be Dominant 7 or m7.

    2)Yes of course it exists. It is the chord played over the 7th mode Locrian, but is played as a m7 is most modern music. m7b5 was the "call of the devi"l in old Christian music. It really best serves its purpose in metal and some latin.

    3) Yes or a Dominant 7

    4) No

    Don't let theory stilfle you. Just keep asking questions. You have to know fundamentals before you know you are breaking the rules, and musicians do it all the time.

    There are no rules in blues, only what sounds good. The blues scale is really the minor pentatonic scale with the chromatic b5 there for funky walk ups and tension.
  10. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    I would disagree that the m7b5 chord is only for metal and latin. The chord is really nice when the 5b is a leading tone to the next root. It's common in a lot of jazz tunes.
  11. sethlow3

    sethlow3 Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Never said it couldn't be used in other styles.... Sure I've seen it in jazz. It just is VERY prevalent in those two styles mentioned.
  12. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    The 5b is a Neutral tone - meaning that it neither consonant nor dissonant. I use Im7b5 all the time. the 5b adds an interesting color to Im7.
  13. slybass3000

    slybass3000 Banned

    Nov 5, 2004
    I'll try to make it simple.
    Blues,Blues harmony and Blues scale are sounds that defies the standard harmony.
    If you are talking in your question the use of the blues scale versus chords, there are a lot of possibilities. A cmin Blues scale can be use on a Major blues in C and a minor blues in C. It can be use on a Eb Major chord or an Eb13. It can be use on a Ab7 if you don't use the natural 5. The list can go on like that.

    Now if you want to know what scales to play over a Cmin7b5 here are the possibilities: Bb min harmonic scale(C,Db,Eb,F,Gb,A,Bb)
    Bb min Aeolien or Db Maj.(C,Db,Eb,F,Gb,Ab,Bb)
    Eb min Melodic(C,D,Eb,F,Gb,Ab,Bb).
    Hope this will help,
  14. OK. Gasp... Gasp...

    Thanks for the wisdom gentlemen.

    It should be noted by all, I think, that my knowledge of musical theory would probably fit on the back of a cigarette packet.:eek: I am trying to get to grips with it but it's V difficult for reasons set out in my reply (=reply #4) of this thread.

  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It's a very common chord in Jazz - usually refered to as half-diminished with a circle crossed through.... Cø
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Seems to me you are asking GOOD questions...you're well on your way, IMO.

    When I played some guitar(in a different life), I loved the __m7b5 chord. Why? It was one of the easiset chords to finger.
    Imagine how a 'C9' looks on the guitar...just omit the bottom "C" note & you're left with E-Bb-D-G which, depending maybe on the bass' note choice, could be an Em7b5 voicing.
    See how the bass note can dictate how a chord's voicing functions? It's also important on how a guitarist voices his chords(sometimes a constant battle if you run into guys who only know 1-2 fingerings).
    If you have a keyboard, I suggest playing something like E-Bb-D-G with your Right Hand & then try differnt bass notes with the Left Hand.
  17. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I gave up on 'remembering' the blues scale(s)

    Blues (in essence) consists of one type of chord, the dominant 7th. That gives you four notes; root, Major 3rd, perfect 5th and flat 7th.

    In a blues bassline or solo you can happily play all these plus;
    * scales tones from the parent scale, mixolydian, so 2nd, 4th, Maj6th
    * blue notes, minor 3rd, flat 5th and Maj 7th
    * the minor 6th, which sounds great as a passing tone in jazz blues

    So, that's everything except the flat 2nd (which you would probably find in a minor blues over the V chord anyway)

    Thing is, this is all subject to taste. I'd suggest you play along with a load of blues tunes and see how you can use these different notes in context. Try them out, see which work as target notes - i.e. notes you play on beat one, the most important notes.. and which work as passing, chromatic, auxilliary notes.. i.e. notes you use to reach to a target note.

    I really dont think learning the blues scale is actually that important as a 'frame of reference' since it is not the specific parent scale for any chord. In my experience it is often taught and used as a 'shape' for solo ideas, but in essence it is just collection of notes, so it doesn't matter if that collection of notes has a name or not. IMO, by playing, improvising, experimenting with ALL 12 notes over the blues, you will eventually build your own frame of reference, or 'collection of notes' to play the blues with.

    Learn the chord tones for the dominant 7 chord and use any other notes that sound good around that basic harmony.
    Memorising scales wont teach what you sounds good, only playing and using your ears will do that, so experiment :)
  18. FenderHotRod


    Sep 1, 2004
    I'm happy you said that. I was going to if nobody else did. :D