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The Blues Scale Formula

Play the blues scale in any key with this formula

Jordan Leibel - Nov 2, 2018

The blues scale is so important for anyone who wants to play the blues. This sassy scale will enable you to riff, solo and improvise as you play your favorite rock or blues songs!


The blues scale is based on the pentatonic scale and follows a specific formula. Learn this formula and you will be able to play it in any key, giving you incredible versatility as a pianist.


Famous Blues player - Fats Domino


I am going to teach you exactly how to play this blues scale (in any key) by giving you the blues scale formula. To understand how the formula works, you will need to know what a minor third is built of. A minor third is made up of 3 half steps and be identified by its sad sound.


Let’s dive right in. The minor scale formula goes like this:


Minor 3rd (3 half steps) whole step, half step, half step, minor 3rd, whole step.


So how does this all come together? Let’s take a look at which notes would make up this blues scale if we were to begin on A.


Begin on A and move up a minor 3rd. This will take you to C. From there, play a whole step above C which brings you to D. Then, play a half step above D which is Eb, another half step which brings you to E, add in another minor 3rd (3 half steps) which takes you to G and then top it off with one final whole step - A.


So an A minor blues scale goes like this:




Now remember you aren’t limited to this key- use this formula and you can build your blues scale wherever you’d like.


For fun, try playing the notes of this scale, in any order over the 1-4-5- progression. For example, if you are playing the blues scale starting on A, you’d play A minor (1) D major (4) E major (5) in the left hand while you play the notes of the blues scale in your right hand. It will sound awesome!


Have fun with this scale and comment below to let me know what YOUR favorite scale is!

#Piano Lessons

#How To Play Piano

#Blues Piano

#Blues Scale

#Scale Formula

Hi, I'm Jordan Leibel

I've worked as a composer for film, commercial, and theatre projects as well as a session musician and producer for recording projects. And now, I'm super excited to teach you a thing or two through Pianote!