Play Lead Guitar with A Major Blues Scale

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8-Bar Blues Chord progression

The instructions below tell what you are listening to one the backing track:-

  • The chord progression below gives you the order of chords and how long each chord lasts.
  • The numbers 1 – 8 are the bar numbers. Each bar lasts for 4 beats.
  • Where there is only a capitol letter, it represents one of the chords. You would play that chord 4 times in time with the music.
  • Where there is a capitol letter and then a / sign you would play once for the letter and once for each of the / signs.
  • For bar 7 you would play A twice and D twice.
  • For bar 8 you would play A twice and E twice.
  • All the beats are of the same length in time given the piece a constant feel to it.

1                                  2                                  3                                  4

| A                            | E                              | A                             | D                     |

 

5                                  6                                  7                                  8

| A                             | E                             | A    /     D     /        | A    /   E   /   |

 

The fingers used in these descriptions are as follows:-

  • Finger 1 is the finger next the thumb.
  • Finger 2 is two fingers away from the thumb.
  • Finger 3 is three fingers away from the thumb.
  • Finger 4 is four fingers away from the thumb, also the smallest finger.

The Chord and Scale shape diagrams are explained as follows:-

  • The vertical lines represent strings. The line on the left is the thickest string and the line on the right is the thinnest string.
  • The horizontal lines represent frets. The numbers tell you where you are on the fret-board. 0 is the open strings and the numbers follow from there.
  • An X sign means do not play this string.
  • A letter in line with the 0 sign means play those notes as open strings (no fingers down).
  • Follow the finger explanation at the side of each diagram to get the easiest way to play the information.

The A Blues Major Pentatonic Scale

This Scale is often used in Country and Country Blues music and has 5 notes.

The notes are as follows:-

 A, B, C#, E, F#, A

The following scale shapes will give the locations of the notes in manageable sizes. The explanations will give the easiest way to play them.

How to play lead guitar with the A Blues Major Scale:-

  • There are notes that sound good with every chord. These should always be the held notes in any lead guitar part. They are called Guide Tones. Even if you only played the Guide Tones for each chord the lead part would sound ok. The creativity comes in the notes you add to the Guide Notes.
  • The Guide notes for the A Major chord are a, c# and e.
  • The Guide notes for the D Major chord are a and c#.
  • The Guide notes for the E Major chord are e and b.
  • Below are the scale shapes that give you all the notes of the A Blues Major Scale over all of the guitar neck.
  • First of all find and play the Guide Tones for each chord and then start adding other notes of the scale around them.
  • Work on one scale shape at a time.
  • Afterwards try adding adjacent shapes (ones next to each other) until you can play all over the neck.
  • Listen to the rhythm and try to keep to it, then add some silence and also longer notes.
  • There will be another fact sheet about left hand techniques (slides, bending etc.)

 Scale Shape 1

image001

  • Start playing at the e note, with no fingers, on the top left corner (string 6, fret 0).
  • Play the f# note with finger 2.
  • Play the a note with no fingers.
  • Play the b note with finger 2.
  • Play the c# note with finger 4.
  • Play the e note with finger 2.
  • Play the f# note with finger 4.
  • Play the a note with finger 2.
  • Play the b note with no fingers.
  • Play the c# note with finger 2.
  • Play the e note with no fingers.
  • Play the f# note with finger 2, on the bottom right corner (string1, fret 2).

Once you have played the notes from the 6th string to the 1st go back and play the notes, in reverse, from the 1st string to the 6th string.

 

Scale Shape 2

image002

  • Start playing at the f# note, with finger 1, on the top left corner (string 6, fret 2).
  • Play the a note with finger 4.
  • Play the b note with finger 1.
  • Play the c# note with finger 3.
  • Play the e note with finger 1.
  • Play the f# note with finger 3.
  • Play the a note with finger 1.
  • Play the b note with finger 3.
  • Play the c# note with finger 1.
  • Play the e note with finger 4.
  • Play the f# note with finger 1.
  • Play the a note with finger 4, on the bottom right corner (string1, fret 5).

 

Once you have played the notes from the 6th string to the 1st go back and play the notes, in reverse, from the 1st string to the 6th string.

Scale Shape 3

image003

  • Start playing at the a note, with finger 2, on the top left corner (string 6, fret 5).
  • Play the b note with finger 4.
  • Play the c# note with finger 1.
  • Play the e note with finger 4.
  • Play the f# note with finger 1.
  • Play the a note with finger 4.
  • Play the b note with finger 1.
  • Play the c# note with finger 3.
  • Play the e note with finger 2.
  • Play the f# note with finger 4.
  • Play the a note with finger 2.
  • Play the b note with finger 4, on the bottom right corner (string1, fret 7).

Once you have played the notes from the 6th string to the 1st go back and play the notes, in reverse, from the 1st string to the 6th string.

 

Scale Shape 4

image004

  • Start playing at the b note, with finger 2, on the top left corner (string 6, fret 7).
  • Play the c# note with finger 4.
  • Play the e note with finger 2.
  • Play the f# note with finger 4.
  • Play the a note with finger 2.
  • Play the b note with finger 4.
  • Play the c# note with finger 1.
  • Play the e note with finger 4. Move the whole hand up the fret board (towards guitar body) by one fret.
  • Play the f# note with finger 1.
  • Play the a note with finger 4.
  • Play the b note with finger 1.
  • Play the c# note with finger 3, on the bottom right corner (string1, fret 9).

Once you have played the notes from the 6th string to the 1st go back and play the notes, in reverse, from the 1st string to the 6th string. Make sure you follow the fingering even when you move the whole hand.

Scale Shape 5

image005

  • Start playing at the c# note, with finger 1, on the top left corner (string 6, fret 9).
  • Play the e note with finger 4.
  • Play the f# note with finger 1.
  • Play the a note with finger 4.
  • Play the b note with finger 1.
  • Play the c# note with finger 3.
  • Play the e note with finger 1.
  • Play the f# note with finger 3.
  • Play the a note with finger 2.
  • Play the b note with finger 4.
  • Play the c# note with finger 1.
  • Play the e note with finger 4, on the bottom right corner (string1, fret 12).

Once you have played the notes from the 6th string to the 1st go back and play the notes, in reverse, from the 1st string to the 6th string.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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