When playing Pentatonic scales, there are many different techniques that you can apply to the scale. One of the most essential techniques that make a blues scale sound like a blues scale is using the “blue” note. This one note will make all the difference!
Let’s take a look at where the “blue” note is placed in a minor Pentatonic scale:
A C D E G
6 1 2 3 5
The “blue” note is a chromatic note placed in between the 2nd and 3rd degrees. So, in the key of C Major using an A minor Pentatonic scale we will be adding an Eb note in between D and E.
A C D Eb E G
The “blue” note is a very fun technique to play on the guitar. We will discuss some of the techniques that you can use for this note:
- Bending the “blue” note a full step(D to E)
- Sliding past the “blue” note.
- Bending the “blue” note a half step( Dto Eb)
- Playing the Chromatic note in between D and E
Bending The “Blue” Note A Full Step
This techniques is very bluesy. Use your 3rd finger to bend this note 1 full step. You can also play this note with some vibrato. In the key of C major you will bend from a D note to an E note.
Sliding Past the “Blue” Note
A good exercise while playing Pentatonic scales is to play your scales and slide every time you hit the 2nd degree note(key of C the note is D). You can do this across the entire fretboard and it sounds pretty cool.
Bending The “Blue” Note A Half Step
This is similar to the first technique. You do not have to bend this one with as much force. All you are doing is bending to the chromatic “blue” note. So, if you are playing in the key of C major, you would bend from a D note to an Eb note.
Playing On The Chromatic Note
This will allow your Pentatonic scale to sound like a Jazz lick. Instead of bending or sliding past the “blue” note you can actually play the note while soloing. You can actually create some nice jazz-blues licks with this technique. Playing on the chromatic note is very fun and creative,so experiment with this technique!
All of these techniques will help you get a blues or jazz-blues sound. Practice and apply these methods and you will be well on your way to sound like a blues guitarist.