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!

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