Tip #48 – Using the Mock Blues Scale

Incorporating this mock blues scale, while interesting, is like being sold by a gimmicky infomercial. However, it is worth talking about.

Basically it would be something like this:

HEY THERE!! ARE YOU A COMPOSER THAT USES THE MAJOR SCALE A LOT? DON’T YOU WANT SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING OUT OF LIFE? CAN’T HELP YOU THERE TO CURE THE BLUES, BUT BOY CAN I SHOW YOU HOW TO CHANGE YOUR OLD MAJOR SCALE INTO SOMETHING NEW! SOMETHING TRUE! SOMETHING BLUE!! WITH THESE THREE EASY PAYMENTS OF LOWERED SCALE DEGREES, YOU TOO CAN HAVE THIS BLUES SOUND!

(end scene)

So, what I’m getting at is that to build a mock blues scale, take a major scale and lower the same degrees found in the blue scales. That would give you the scale degrees of:

| 1 – 2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – 6 – b7 – 1 |

With it, the original melody would transform as such:

Which can either work really well… or poorly. Either way, it is still an option for interest with any composer.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #47 – Working the Major Blues Scale and Replacements

In a previous post, I talked about the idea of using the minor blues scale over a harmonic progression. Now, what if I told you that there was a major blues scale version? What kind of melodic treatment would be used over the harmonic progression f you decided to take that route with a major blues scale?

A major blues scale is like the minor blues, but starts on the flattened-3rd scale degree of the minor blues. So, the new scale degrees become:

| 1 – 2 – b3 – 3 – 5 – 6 – 1 |

And they work great of major triadic or dominant chords!

However, it should be noted that unlike the minor blues scale, the root is based of the chord, NOT the key. So, using a blues chord progression in A Major, the root of the scale would change with each sounding chord.

By now you must be thinking: “But wait! If the major blues scale is determined by the chord and not the key… and the major blues scale is a ‘mode’ – essentially, of the minor blues that is determined by the key, can’t different versions of the minor blues scale work? As so, being dependent on the chord?”

While it is not in common practice, it sure works! To use these replacement blues scales, take the original major blues scale and start on the 6th scale degree to get the minor blues version:

As mentioned above, this is not typical practice of the blues, but it does offer interesting variety for sure! Experiment around with it!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Tip #46 – Adding the Minor Blues Scale

Say you have a cool harmonic progression and what a “bluesy-sounding” melody. Where do you start? Do you go right to bending certain pitches to create “blue notes;” do you use stock licks from your favorite artists that emulated a blues style; do you throw in flattened scale degrees…?

Today we are going to talk about achieving the “blues” sound over a harmonic progression by using the minor blues scale in the melody.

First of all, the minor blues scale is made up of the following scale degrees:

| 1 – b3 – 4 – #4 – 5 – b7 – 1 |

Next, the root is based on the key of the chord progression, NOT the chord itself. In the example below, while the key signature is not defined, one can assume that based on the harmonic progression that the composition is in the key of A Major. Knowing that, a person should use the A minor blues scale over each of the chords.

This may look weird on paper, having a flatted-3rd over a major/dominant chord figure – but take a listen to it! With the lowered scale degree, it certainly sounds out of place, but in fact bluesy! Of course, these are still tension tones (including the #4 scale degree) and should be treated with good resolution… or not, you are the composer!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.