Mike Moxcey ©2005

Blues Scale

The blues scale uses the flatted third and the flatted (or dominant) seventh notes of the major scale. You can also use the Mode 2 scale (Dorian).
But the blues scale is even more abbreviated and only has 5 notes. Here it is in the 4 most common fretted instrument keys:

Frets:  -3--2- -2--3- -2-
Scales: C Eb  F G  Bb C 
D F  G A  C D 
G Bb  C D  F G 
A C  D E  G A 
Use the number of frets to measure the blues scale out in any key you’d like.

Pentatonic Scale

The pentatonic scale is a five note (penta-) version of the major scale. There are other 5-note scales (such as the blues). This is an excellent scale to use when beginning to improvise as it always sounds good no matter what note you use. Songs built on this scale include Shortnin Bread and the verses to Oh Susannah and Turkey in the Straw.

The pentatonic scale uses the 1,2,3,5 and 6 notes of the major scale.
Frets:  -2--2- -3--2- -3-
Scales: C D  E G  A C 
D E  F# A  B D 
E F#  G# B  C# E 
F G  A C  D F 
G A  B D  E G 
A B  C# E  F# A 
B C#  D# F#  G# B 
Bb C  D F  G Bb 
Db Eb  F Ab  Bb Db 
Eb F  G Bb  C Eb 
F# G#  A# C#  D# F# 
G# A#  C D#  F G# 

Diminished Scale

The diminished scale is an 8-note scale that you can play over a diminished chord. It is a “regular” scale in that it goes 1 step, then ½ step until you finish the octave.

Because of this regularity, there are only three different diminished scales.

Once you’ve gone three frets up (1 ½ steps), then you’re back on the same pattern. Thus the C diminished scale is the same as the Eb and the Gb and the A diminished scales. The roots (1 notes) are in bold.
Frets:  -2--1- -2--1- -2--1- -2--1-
Scales: C D  Eb F  Gb Ab  A B  C 
Db Eb  E Gb  G A  Bb C  Db 
D E  F G  Ab Bb  B Db  D 

Whole Tone

The whole tone scale is another “regular” scale. There is one step (2 frets) between every notes. This has one less note than the regular scale and there are only two different scales. If a note is on the scale, then it could be considered the “root,” “tonic,” or “key” of the scale. This scale is played over Augmented chords.
Frets: -2--2- -2--2- -2--2-
Scales:C  D E  Gb Ab  Bb C 
Db  Eb F  G A  B Db 
D  E Gb  Ab Bb  C D(same as the C whole tone scale)

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