• “Minor and Blues Scales” Crash Course

    in Scales

    As we’ve learned in other posts…

    Scales are important!

    If you know your scales, playing chords will be very very easy to do!

    The Minor Scale

    If you remember, the major scale pattern is:


    Now, to add another “scale” to your musical toolbox, the minor scale pattern is simply:

    W – H – W – W – H – W – W

    The (C Minor Scale) is:

    C – D – E flat – F – G – A flat – B flat – and C

    Let’s explore this closer:

    From C to D is a whole step (w).

    From D to E flat is a half step (h).

    From E flat to F is a whole step (w).

    From F to G is a whole step (w).

    From G to A flat is a half step (h).

    From A flat to B flat is a whole step (w).

    From B flat to C is a whole step (w).

    Try playing all 12 minor scales with the pattern above (C min, D flat min, D min, E flat min, and so on…)

    Minor Scales In Gospel Music

    Gospel music is closely associated with the minor scale. Another scale that gospel music (and many other styles of music) utilizes is the:

    Blues Scale

    You’ve heard it in B.B. King’s music! You’ve heard it in gospel, jazz, and rock. Just about any type of music you can think of utilizes the Blues Scale.

    The Blues Scale is simply a minor scale without a few notes, and… with one “other” note added. An example is given below:

    Remember that the (C minor) scale is:

    C (1), D(2), E flat (3), F(4), G(5), A flat (6), B flat (7), and C (8)
    *numbers represent scale degree

    To create a blues scale, simply get rid of the (2) and (6) degree. In (C minor), that would be D and A flat. Then add the note in between the (4) and (5) degree.

    1: Omitting the (2) and (6) notes would create the following scale:

    C, E flat, F , G, B flat, C

    2. Adding the note in between the (4) – F & the (5) – G would mean adding an F# (or G flat) between F and G.

    3. The new scale is:

    C – E flat – F – G flat – G – B flat – C

    Try playing it!

    Note: A blues scale only has 6 unique tones.

    You’ll find blues scales all throughout blues, gospel, and other genres. Listen to some of your recordings and you’re guaranteed to hear them!

    Well… thank you for your time once again!

    Until next time —

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.


    { 33 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Lynn

    I am having problems understanding this major and minor is it on the right hand or the left? and they are the same keys as far as i understand, each major or minor is a key by it self right? I am still waiting for my cds to come in the mail may that will help me better. i know my keys but not my three or four finger chords.i understand every thing up until this part. I hope you can help me thank you for your time. Lynn


    2 patrick ashu

    i’m beginning to get these things more and more and i must confess, guys, u are doing a great job! teach me more.


    3 Daniel Abakah

    Good job JG, can’t be easier than this. God bless you


    4 Blair

    Just wondering if the minor scale fingerings are the same as the major? Can’t seem to find the lesson for this. Thanks!


    5 Victor Werekoh

    Alright, feeling so much secure with hearandplay workshop gives me the courage to introduce you and your inspiring lessons to all my friends as you have wished. Hope to play urban and contemporary gospel like never before. Just can’t stop practicing all the blue scales so far. Thanks Mr.Griggs for all your great lessons.


    6 tina

    i at this point in learning dont know enough to comment. i am excited and so thirsty to learn all i can


    7 max

    Hi this is a great site to learn scales but I’m abit confuse on the D flat minor scale, with the W H W W H W W minor scale, I’ve came to D flat, E flat, E, G flat, A flat, B flat, C, D flat. Am I doing something wrong there? cos the pattern doesn’t look right. I thought they should follow D E F G A B C D regardless of flats or sharp. Hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Thanks for the lessons, been a great help!


    8 hawkar

    thank you



    thanks for enormous generosity pls send your lecture notes on fingering lessons and jazz beginner lessons


    10 Jack

    How does one play a slow ballad without sounding draggy? Does Rubabo mean the same as slow but without a clear beat…?


    11 brianna

    this is so much better than my keyboarding class im taking in ninth grade highschool :) thank you bundles


    12 osas

    this lesson is Godsent. please i live in warri, deltastate nigeria. i really want to purchase various piano lessons dvds but i dont know how i can get it in this part of my country.


    13 Promise

    How can i understand progression very well?that is the challenge i’m facing for now,please help me out.


    14 James Omoigui

    I’m james from RiversState in Nigeria, JG keep it up,your light will never quench in Jesus name amen,please sir your minor chord you gave to me has really helped me,i’ll never stop praying for u



    Excellent lessons


    16 Limby

    Wonderful stuff continue the good work


    17 Richard Harmon

    Hey, thx for the jazz tip. If your able I would like to get the link this starts me from the starting lesions. I would like more thing on jazz. i also see you a Jazz CD learning set. I like what your sending so far. I’m sure i’ll get the Jazz CD set. but would like to see more.


    18 Mdu

    Hello mr, thank you very much for such knowledge you are sharing. Truly speaking I sometimes cannot acccess the videos that you are sendind, for me its costy to access the internet. I will try my best to be up to date and I’m also believing GOD for riches so I can follow your all your lessons regulary, they are amazing, I feel blessed may GOD richly bless you.


    19 philip wick

    I really liked the poem about whole and half steps. I am the piano instructor at Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, Il. I like to pick up things like you introduce that will help my students. Keep it up. I also liked the home hunteers show.


    20 josiah

    griggs u ar d bst teacher i hav eva seen on earth.keep it up


    21 click this

    Rattling wonderful info can be found on this blog.


    22 Work in Bradford

    I adored your helpful post. excellent work. I hope you release more. I will carry on reading


    23 Chinedu

    Fantastic. This is awesome. GOD bless you 4 your generosity. Thank YOU


    24 Tom

    Hi Jemaine!
    Thanks for all you do to help so many people to make more and better music.
    I have only one suggestion which, I hope, might help people to remember the structure of major and minor scales.
    To me, the easiest way is to remember that in every major scale there is a half step between 3 and 4 and 7 and 8.
    For minor scales (natural minor) there is a half step between 2 and 3 and 5 and 6. For the harmonic minor, one would, of course, raise the 7th tone a half step which gives it that wonderful “Oriental” sound. Try it on the A minor scale first because it’s the easiest to play.

    Thanks again, Tom


    25 Print NI

    Heya appreciate this work witness this


    26 Gozie

    thanks there. its been a pleasure been ur student. most gospel pianist from Nigeria wants this. thanks a lot.


    27 Moscales

    Sir, I am so so grateful for your lessons. I really think I’m already in a music school (with you). Each time I read your articles, I get so inspired and enlightened. I pray God will reward your generousity (not sure of the spelling). Thanks a million!


    28 david

    I’m. A young player of 18ys old, and I want to learn how to improvise and play gospel worship perfectly well, without ommiting space, I mean using passing chord


    29 Ephraim

    Please how do i download videos/audios in this site ?


    30 Victor ukpong

    Tanks JG have learn alot from u.


    31 Silvio

    Dear Jermaine Griggs, I am so grateful for your lessons. Each time I read your articles, I get so inspired and enlightened. I pray God will reward your generousity . May GOD bless you and your family.Thanks a million!


    32 johnson

    Thanks Jermaine


    33 Henry Gwami

    sir, i’m so grateful. u’ve contributed so much to my music carrier


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