The Blues Scale For Piano: A Simple Guide

blues scale pianoIf you want to learn how to play the the blues scale on piano you’ve come to the right place!

This scale can add a lot of soulfulness and richness to your piano playing.

You can hear the blues scale used everywhere and it’s very simple and easy to learn!

Even though it’s called the blues scale it’s not just used in blues music. It can be used in jazz, country, pop, latin, funk, reggae, R&B, and many other great styles of music!

In fact, the best blues musicians know how to soulfully mix jazz and blues together in their playing.

New to The Blues Scale?

Why not take three minutes and watch this blues piano tutorial video on the blues scale for piano. It’ll quickly cover the basics:

Now lets take a look at some additional tips.

Notation For The G Blues Scale Piano

Here’s the notation for the scale that’s used in the video above. Make sure you scroll down for many more tips on how to build the scale.

g blues scale piano

Music Theory For The Blues Scale Piano

The blues scale is actually a 6 note scale. The scale is built will scale degrees 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7, and 1 again.

You can easily play this scale in any key by using the major scale as your starting point.

Here’s how to get started easily:

First, play your major scale in whatever key you’re in. From there you can find the blues scale in whatever key you’re in by just following  these easy steps:

  • Move your 3rd note in the major scale down a half step to find the b3.
  • Move your 5th note in the major scale down a half step to find the b5
  • Move your 7th note in the major scale down a half step to find the b7.
  • The rest of the notes (1,4, and 5) are the same pitches you would find in the major scale.

(If you’re new to the major scale I highly recommend you also check out these lessons on major jazz scales and the major bebop scale.)

Once you learn the piano blues scale practice playing it across your whole instrument. You’ll want to get comfortable with the fingering as well as the sound. This is especially true in regards to blues piano for beginners.

Another simple way to think about this scale is to take the minor pentatonic scale and just add a b5 interval in there. That’s 6 notes in total!

Where Can I Use The Piano Blues Scale?

Of course the simplest place to start using the blues scale is over the basic 12 bar blues. This is a first step.

If you’re new to the 12 bar blues piano chord progression then check out this video

What About More Advanced Blues Piano?

Of course, just playing over the 3 basic blues chords is just scratching the surface.

The real magic happens when you can use blues scale over more chord progressions.

Yes, you’ll hear a lot of blues musicians just playing the basic 3 chords but if you really want to learn how to play blues piano I suggest you go much further.

blues scale pianoY hear great players like B.B. King, Ray Charles, & Dr. John using blues chord progressions in their music that are actually very jazz influenced.

The Best Blues Piano Players Can Mix Jazz & Blues

A lot of people think it takes a long time to learn how to use jazz to take their blues to the next level. That’s not true in the least.

If you have the right tools you can make significant progress in a very short period of time.

Fortunately, there is a unique system that shows you how.  

More Blues Piano Lessons

how to play blues pianoIf you want to learn about how to play blues piano like the Chicago Blues masters you can check out my whole instructional DVD on how to play Chicago style blues piano.

We also have a unique program that shows you how you can use blues to easily improvise over the best jazz songs in the world.

How To Play Blues Piano Scales In All 12 Keys

Ok, let me help you get started playing this scale in all 12 keys. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for you.

Please keep this in mind when learning these scales:

  • Some of these scales will technically have a double flat. For ease of use and quick playing I’ll just call them by their simpler enharmonic names. 🙂
  • For example, in Db the b5 is Abb. I’ll just call it G!
  • I’ll also call all Fb’s ‘E’ and all Cb’s ‘B’.

Update: I’ve had a lot of people email and leave comments in the last couple days asking for some fingerings suggestions.

I included the right hand fingering for all the scales. Please keep 3 things in mind when referring to them.

1. These are merely suggestions. Everybody’s hands are shaped differently so use these as a starting point and adjust accordingly.

2. In some of the black keys the blues scale is not the most pianistic scale. In other words it doesn’t fit super easily under the hands.

Don’t let this stop you though! If you practice and repeat enough you can make it feel natural!

3. These are the fingerings if you were going to be playing multiple octave scales.

The Blues Scale Piano Fingering Suggestions

Key of C blues scale: C, Eb, F, Gb, G, Bb, C

Fingering:  1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 1

Key of Db blues scale: Db, E, Gb, G, Ab, B, Db

Fingering:  2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1

Key of D blues scale: D, F, G, Ab, A, C, D

Fingering:  3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Key of Eb blues scale: Eb, Gb, Ab, A, Bb, Db, Eb

Fingering: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1

Key of E blues scale: E, G, A, Bb, B, D, E

Fingering:  3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Key of F blues scale: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F

Fingering: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1

Key of Gb blues scale: Gb, A, B, C, Db, E, Gb

Fingering: 2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2

Key of G blues scale: G, Bb, C, Db, D, F, G

Fingering:  1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 1

Key of Ab blues scale: Ab, B, Db, D, Eb, Gb, Ab

Fingering: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1

Key of A blues scale: A, C, D, Eb, E, G, A

Fingering:  3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3

Key of Bb blues scale: Bb, Db, Eb, E, F, Ab, Bb

Fingering:  1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1

Key of B blues scale: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

Fingering:  2, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2

Have fun practicing and remember to check back for the next lesson in the series!!


Did you enjoy this piano blues scale lesson or have a question? Do you want to learn more about how to play blues piano? Please feel free to leave a comment below!

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Steve Nixon