Applied Guitar Theory logo

Major Blues Scale

While the minor blues scale may be synonymous with the blues scale, the major blues scale has its place in the genre as well. In this lesson we take a look at what makes up the major blues scale and map it to the guitar fretboard.

Creating the Major Blues Scale from the Pentatonic Scale

Similar to the minor blues scale, the major blues scale is derived from the pentatonic scale. It’s simply the major pentatonic scale with an added ♭3 note.

Major blues scale intervals

In the major blues scale, it is the flat 3rd that contributes to the classic blues sound. Let’s take a listen to a couple of examples as we did above.

Major Pentatonic Tab & Audio

Major pentatonic scale tab
Major Pentatonic Scale

Major Blues Tab & Audio

Major blues scale tab
Major Blues Scale

As you can hear, the flat 3rd creates a dissonant, unresolved sound.

Positions of the Major Blues Scale on the Guitar

Let’s now take a look at how this scale is applied to the guitar fretboard. If you’re already familiar with the pentatonic scale patterns, learning the blues patterns will be a breeze.

Similar to the major pentatonic scale, there are five positions of the major blues scale. Each diagram contains the scale shape, intervals, and recommended fingerings for playing the scale. Included below each diagram is the tab for that position.

The major blues scale diagrams below are in the key of A major.

Position 1

A major blues scale position 1 diagram
A major blues scale position 1 guitar tab

Position 2

A major blues scale position 2 diagram
A major blues scale position 2 guitar tab

Position 3

A major blues scale position 3 diagram
A major blues scale position 3 guitar tab

Position 4

A major blues scale position 4 diagram
A major blues scale position 4 guitar tab

Position 5

A major blues scale position 5 diagram
A major blues scale position 5 guitar tab

G Major Blues Scale

The major blues scale shapes are exactly the same regardless of what major key it is. Again, the difference is the root note form which the patterns is built.

The diagrams below show the five positions of the G major blues scale.

Major blues scale patterns

Wrap Up

In this lesson we learned about the major blues scale. The scale is derived from the major pentatonic scale with an added “blue” note, the ♭3. While not quite as versatile as the minor blues scale, it’s still a popular scale used across many genres of music.

AGT book of scales cover

Get notified of new lessons!

Get The Book of Scales when you sign up for lesson updates.