Out In The Blues

Hello there! This time I will give you tips to add extra "color" and personalize one of our passions: the blues.

Let`s say we have a 12 bar blues progression like this:

|  Bb7  |  Eb7  |  Bb7  |  Bb7  |  Eb7  |  Eb7 |
|  Bb7  |  Bb7  |   F7  |  Eb7  |  Bb7  |  F7  | 

Where Bb7 - I7; Eb7 - IV7; F7 - V7

Now we will take a look at some great options to help you out.

For the I7 (Bb7) you can use:

  1. Bb minor blues / Bb major blues scales
  2. Bb Mixolydian
  3. Bb7 Lydian or F melodic minor (F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, E)
  4. Bb diminished (Bb, B, Db, D, E, F, G, Ab)

For the IV7 (Eb7) use:

  1. Eb7 Mixolydian or Bbm7 (Dorian)
  2. This is always a good tip: Dominant 7 Chord can be V (fifth degree) of the harmonic minor scale or IV7 and V7 of the melodic minor scale. So in this case use: Ab harmonic/melodic minor and/or Bb melodic minor scales.
  3. Another useful tip - you can substitute a Dominant 7 chord for the 3 (major third), 5 (perfect fifth), 7 (minor seventh) and b9 (flat ninth) diminished chords; in this case use: G dim / Bb dim / Db dim / E dim.

Finally, for the V7 (F7) use:

  1. F Mixolydian
  2. F minor blues / F major blues scales
  3. F# melodic minor (F altered)
  4. F diminished
  5. Bb melodic minor / harmonic minor scales
  6. C melodic minor / C Dorian / Cm6 pentatonic

As you can see, there are a lot of great options, but do not try to study or apply all of them at the same time. Be judicious. Get a nice blues backing track or just record yourself playing the chords and listen carefully at how different each scale sounds over the chord changes.

I would like to remind you that these are options, and surely you will not like the sound of all of them, so give each scale a try and stick with the ones you like.

These concepts were used on the concept, harmonization, melodic construction and Improvisation of my new CD release "Coastline". That`s all for now, and do not forget to visit my web page at www.miguelmega.com.br.

Miguel Mega is an Brazilian guitarist who was profiled on the February, 2001 Undiscovered Artists page on the Guitar Nine site.

His new instrumental CD is entitled "Coastline".

Miguel Mega