This chapter may seem pretty technical to you, but bear with me on it.
You can always come back to it after you’ve played some of the examples. Even if you don’t see the big picture in one glance: there is logic to it.

Now, let’s bring in the brain.

Our goal is to expand your options for soloing and accompanying in blues.
Instead of racing up and down the blues scale we want to add other notes that sound good, too.
Instead of chopping bar chords, we’d like to be more subtle.
This chapter contains the theory to learn how to do this.

Let’s limit our scope to the things you probably already know.
A 12-bar progression blues, with three chords and a minor pentatonic scale.


1st Blues Position, Key of G.


Chances are that on any given night, this blues is being played in a few thousand clubs all over the globe.
A lot of players stick to this framework and will probably do this for the rest of their natural lives.
And be very happy. But what if you want more?

Roughly said: if you play a melody, sing a song or whip out a solo, you’re using a bunch of different notes.
If you line these notes up in pitch order (low to high) you’ve got a scale.
Sometimes melodies use more than one scale, but let’s stick to simple melodies.

Each of these scales has a different feel to it.
Each scale has a TONIC, its centre point.
To find the tonic of a scale, try to ‘feel’ where your melody ends.
The tonic is often the last note of a song and more often the last bass note.

Every scale can start on a different pitch.
But the feel of the scale remains the same no matter what pitch you start on.
So the melodies stay the same but are relative to the tonic.
To keep things clear, we give each note a number, again relative to the tonic.
The tonic is number one.