How to Play the Major Blues Scale on Guitar

You are a guitarist – the blues comes naturally to you. I can bet all of your favorite guitarists are masters of the blues, in their own unique way. Now it is your turn.

Use this free tutorial to:

  • Learn basic theory.
  • Tune your ears to this scale’s unique sound.
  • Know how to improvise with it musically.
  • Have fun while you learn!

The Major Blues Scale is a kind of robot hybrid between the mixolydian mode and the normal blues scale. Think of the Major Blues Scale as the happy and more sophisticated version of the normal blues scale.

Major Blues Scale Example

major blues scale
As you can see, it is a blues scale with an added major 2nd, 3rd and 6th?

Here is how to play the major blues scale in two positions on the guitar. Numbers indicate fingers. The white circle is the root note of the scale.
major blues scale major blues scale

When to Use the Major Blues Scale

  • dom7, dom9, dom13 chords (usually functioning as tonic or home chords)
  • Tonic maj7 chords (for a ‘cutting’, bluesy sound)

How To Use The Major Blues Scale

Here are 3 cool things to try with this scale:

  • Tease your listener with both the minor and major 3rd. Slide and bend between them. Landing on the minor third creates tension that is resolved with hitting the major third.
  • Explore how the 9th and 13th sound. Bend or slide up to the b7 from the 13. Bend or slide up to the b3 from the 2nd.
  • BB King is the king of the major blues scale, check him out on youtube.

Major Blues Scale Summary

ScaleMajor Blue Scale
ChordDom7, Dom9, Dom13
NotesR, 2, b3, 3, 4, #4, 5, 6, b7
C ExampleC, D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, A , Bb
Chord/ Guide Tonesb3rd and b7th
Color Tones9th, 11th, 13th, b3, #4
Avoid Notesnone
Sam's TipThink of this scale as a full buffet of notes with which you can pick and choose from.

That is all for my Major Blues Scale lesson. I recommend you check out my normal Blues Scale lesson and Mixolydian Mode if you haven’t already to keep learning about jazz blues guitar. Also, learn some cool dom7, dome and dom13 chord voicings here to play under this scale.

Thanks for checking out this lesson, please feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions.

~ Sam Blakelock | pickupjazz.com

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