Blues lead guitar - lesson 1

Blues in the key of A - backing track lesson 1.
This is the first lesson in the Blues soloing series. The diagram below shows the "first position" version of the scale. There are five different main shapes for a certain scale.

Blues in A jam track (using a single scale)

"Shuffle Blues"

A blues scale diagram

Instructions: The A Blues scale can be used over the whole track, which only include one chord (A7). Dividing scales into shapes is a standard method for approaching them and helps the process of establishing a visual acquaintance. The shape presented above is called the first position of the Blues scale and is recommended to start with. It has easy fingerings (it is the only shape for this scale that includes four and not five frets), and is included in many common blues licks.
One thing to take notice of is the notes on the 5th string, 6th fret and 3rd string, 7th fret. This are so-called blue notes, which mostly is using as a passing note, meaning a note that you don't stay on for a longer time.
Notice also that you can move the whole shape on octave up the fretboard. From the 5th position to the 17th position, that is. This will expand your sound color palette.

Jam track info

Instruments: Bass, drums and rhythm guitar
Chords: A7
Tempo: 110 BPM


Chord and scale - This particular blues jam track is based upon only one chord, the dominant A seventh. The dominant seventh is the most common chord type in blues. The Blues scale (a.k.a. the Pentatonic Blues scale) is as its name imply a perfect choice to use for blues lead guitar.

A7 chord chord intervals and notes.

1 3 5 b7
A C# E G

A Blues scale degrees and notes.

1 b3 4 b5 5 b7
A C D Eb E G

There is not a perfect match between a A7 chord and the A Blues scale, but it will still sound great to use the scale over the chord.

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