Using The Blues Hybrid Scale

Difficulty: Blue
Views: 66,748

I'm going to show you a great little trick now that will really help expand your blues playing, which in effect will help you with many different styles. On my journey through blues I discovered there were loads of notes being used that were not part of the scales I knew, so let me share them with you!

The classic "Blues Scale"

We should start here by looking at the classic Blues Scale - it's worth learning to use this one in it's pure form (you'll see I muddle it up in the next scale I show you!).

You remember all about root notes right? So you know to place the root here at the 5th fret to be playing the A Blues Scale. I didn't need to tell you that at all ;)

Make sure you identify which note is the "Blue Note" the flat 5 - the cool one, the note with the big personality!

It's a spicy one, don't leave it on your tongue too long or it won't be nice.

Learn to pass through it, don't try and add it in all the time, it'll get boring...

But most of all USE IT :) Now. Start mixing it in to your improvisations and see what it's all about.

The Hybrid Blues Scale

This is not a proper scale. I discovered this pattern when I was just a teenager, and many of the old blues masters that I was transcribing seem to be using the same notes. I put those notes together and came up with this scale. I might even get people poo pooing it because it's not a traditionally taught thing, but it works. It's really a mixture of the Blues Scale and The Dorian Mode, but you could argue it as a cross between the Major and Minor Pentatonics. I don't really think it matters. It's just a cool collection of notes that you find many of the important blues players using!

So have some fun with it and USE YOUR EARS - they are much more useful than your brain when you are making music :)

Blues Hybrid Scale

You can see here that I have added in a couple of notes on the 1st and 2nd strings, but not the others. You can also play the added notes other places (maybe you might like to find them?) but it's specifically in the places shown in this "Box 1" minor pentatonic that these extra notes are added in.

I guess because many of the old skool blues players were just fooling around and found cool notes to use, not worrying about theory stuff... and maybe that's a good lesson... fool around and listen. Use what sounds good!

Technically we're adding the 6th and the 9th - can think like it's almost a Dorian Mode... but not properly. ;)


By far the best (only?) way to practice this stuff is to use them! Either with a jam buddy, recording yourself and playing over it or a Backing Track (Free One Below from Really Useful Play Along Tracks!) or I suppose the best would be jamming with a full band if you have the luxury!

Put on the backing track and solo for the full 5 minutes and just experiment. Really explore the use of the Flat 5 in the blues scale. What do those other "hybrid" notes sound like? How do they effect things? Do they sound better over some chords more than others? Question them. Question yourself. Then you will learn the most!

A 12 Bar Blues Backing Track ( by justinguitar

The next lesson is about string bending which you can use with these new scales. It's very cool fun :)

Intermediate Foundation 4



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