Category Archives: The Most Useful Scales

Here you will encounter what I believe to be the most useful Scales starting with the Blues Scale. There are many Scales and some might argue that they all have a part to play however in my experience there are some that you turn to again and again,

The Mixolydian Mode and why it needs a bit of help

Anyone who is into Blues music or Rock will most likely be very familiar with the sound of the Mixolydian Scale/Mode. However on it’s own the scale may need some help and encouragement  to really develop to it’s  full potential.

Much Blues Piano work which pioneered the Blues used the Mixolydian Scale. However in Blues piano it was important to follow the chord changes (particularly those of the IV chord and V chord) with changes to the Mixolydian appropriate to those chord changes. For example it was rare for a piece played in say the Key of A to stay solely on the A Mixolydian Scale throughout the entire piece over the most likely chord changes of IV ( D Maj) and V (E Maj).  So in Key of A more normally you will encounter that the A Mixolydian changes to D Mixolydian over the IV chord and again may change to E Mixolydian over the V Chord. There is good reason for this as we can see if we examine the scale to find out it’s inherent weaknesses.

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The Blues Scale

In this Post we will be looking at the Blues Scale. To me this is one of the top most useful Scales. Most reference sources will show you the Blues Scale in its Minor Form with a Flattened 3 rd degree (bIII) and a flattened fifth degree( bV). This is okay but it is really half of the story and half of the usefulness of this particular Scale. This is because if you make the Blues Scale into a Major Scale Pattern then the Flattened fifth note (bV) actually now becomes the flattened 3rd (bIII). The Flattened 3rd when played against a Major Chord or Dominant 7th chord is a true Blues Note found in many examples of Blues Styles. So by changing the Blues Scale to a Major pattern you have got instant access to the Blues. I will show you how to do this but most of you will already have covered all this if you have already been studying my approach to the CAGED System (C-A-G-E-D). If not go and have a look at this as it shows you how to use the 5 patterns to find both major and minor scales from pentatonic scale shapes.

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