The blues scale is a favorite tool for single note improv soloing. When it’s harmonized, it takes on a horn section type sound that adds a new dimension to your playing. These ideas work best over stock blues progressions. I like to use it on an up tempo jump blues feel. Bouncing from single note blues riffs to harmonized riffs can add a fresh approach, or bridge between soloing ideas.

Here’s the concept; When adding a minor 3rd below each note of the blues scale and then a perfect 4th below that note, we get a movable shape. Lucky for us, 3 of the 4 shapes are very familiar chord shapes, Emin, Amin & Dmin in open position. We then target the top note of each chord shape with one of the notes of the blues scale. We use the blues scale built from the root of the key of the blues progression. If we are playing blues in the key of “A” we would use an “A” blues scale throughout the 12 bars, even when the progression moves to the D7 & E7 chords.

The four string groupings each consist of three adjacent strings.
String group #1 encompasses strings 1, 2 & 3.
String group #2 uses strings 2, 3 & 4.
Group #3 strings 3, 4 & 5
Group #4 strings 4, 5 & 6


Ex.1. Shows the notes of the “A” blues scale, their scale degree, and then how each note is played across the fretboard. Then each note is harmonized using one of the string groupings.

Here is a blues solo using this Harmonized Blues Scale idea. You can find a demo of me demonstrating the harmonized blues scale concept, plus a detailed video of this solo at
Hope you enjoy this idea and plug it into your playing.

Till next time,

KEEP PICKIN’–Rich Severson


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