Come and join us as we take a look into what makes up a blues scale, and as we examine in depth the benefits of using blues backing tracks to perfect and hone our knowledge and skill for playing the blues.
One of the most emotional forms of music that is played on the guitar is blues music. Blues guitarists seem to bleed out their emotions through their fingertips, and interweave a soul-bearing story using six strings. Many individuals who fall in love with playing the guitar soon fall in love with blues music, if they weren’t already infatuated with it before.
One of the key elements to learning how to play blues music is learning the scales and chords that make up the foundation of what blues music is. There are a lot of different kinds of blues music and different styles within that genre that you can learn, so it’s important to just start with the basic simple chords and scales and work your way up to the more complex ones.
The blues scale is a product of the meeting of African and Western musical cultures. It combines elements of the major scale with the blue notes of the music of the slaves and their descendents. A blues scale will have a blue third, a blue fifth, and a blue seventh, plus notes from the major scale. The basic blues scale is a pentatonic minor scale, but it has one additional note than the regular pentatonic minor scale. It’s this additional note that gives the needed amount of tension to create the signature blues sound. The scale consists of six different note names, but when you actually play the blues scale you will play all the places for those note names within that specific position.
Once you learn that particular scale, you are now ready to master the timing, structure, and improvisational aspects of blues music. This is best accomplished by playing along with blues backing tracks. Practicing along to blues backing tracks is like practicing along with an entire blues band accompanying you. There are a lot of benefits that can come from using blues backing tracks to improve your practice time.
One of the benefits to using blues backing tracks to perfect your skills is it helps you to understand structure and how the scale fits in with the rhythm section. By playing along with blues backing tracks, you’ll be able to combine the knowledge you have of the scale and apply what you’ve learned about music theory.
Another great benefit of blues backing tracks is the fact that it is a powerful weapon in mastering one of the trickiest parts of playing the blues, and that would be improvisation.
With these guitar backing tracks you have the freedom to improvise a hot lead solo based on your knowledge of the scale and your own creativity. Improvisation is an important technique, one that is crucial for the blues guitarist to flourish in, especially during a live performance, which these tracks are also good for as well.