Connecticut Shoreline Studio for Music Lessons
in Voice, Piano, Guitar & the Fundamentals of Music

All Skill Levels Welcome, Ages 4 -104

Connecticut Shoreline Studio for Music Lessons
in Voice, Piano, Guitar & the Fundamentals of Music

Clef Notes

Play Guitar Like a Horn Player

Learn a Harmonized Blues Scale – Easy and Fun!

My inspiration for this column is from Rich Severson, guitarist, and host of Rich is one of the smoothest jazz players I’ve seen on the internet – his left-hand chord playing is like butter! Check out his site for a vast number of materials for very reasonable prices.

I had never seen this simple – (I mean simple!) – “trick” to get some great sounds for playing on the blues. Technically, it is called a “harmonized blues scale.”

Here is a typical 12 bar blues in G.

G7     G7    G7    G7

C7    C7    G7    G7         

D7    C7     G7    G7

Look at the G minor pentatonic blues scale from the 3rd fret – sometimes called the “box 1” position.

G Minor Blues

Now you are going to make a D minor chord shape, with the top note placed on each pentatonic note of the high E string like this:

See Video 1 below for a demonstration.

Shape 3
Shape 10

You can play this shape up and down the neck over the progression and sound hip. Think like a horn player and make some “punches” with these chords. Try soloing a bit and adding the punches in between for variation – like a horn section would.

See Video 2 below for playing demonstration.

Try Some Variations

This great trick works for blues in any key by using the corresponding minor pentatonic scale.  

Ex: Bb blues progression? – no problem, use the above chord shapes based on Bb minor blues scale.   

Your goal is get loose moving the shapes up and down the neck over a G blues track.  Play what sounds good to you.

A quick fun way to add more variety to your playing!

I hope you enjoyed this and let me know what you think in the comments.  Theory questions welcome!

A little extra: You can also transpose that D minor chord shape to the next string set (3-4-5 / D-G-B) to extend the lower range. (See my column on chord transposition). Let me know if you give that a try. 

Video 1: G Blues Scale Example

Video 2: G Chord Example

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