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The E Blues Scale in 7th Position
Let's get down to it.
Once again we're going to cover 2 octaves of the blues scale.
Here is the guitar tab for the E blues scale starting in 7th position moving up one Octave. 7th position means you position your index finger on the 7th fret. Unlike with the pattern we learnt in 12th position we are going need to shift our position to reach the E that is the second Octave.
Figure 1: E blues scale in 7th position going up the scale one octave and back down to the Root:
E blues scale in 7th position continuing up the scale another octave (from the octave played above) and moving back down to the Root:
When you are playing the above position, if you start it in 9th position (with your index finger on the 9th fret) then you won't need to shift position to play all of the notes above. However - this isn't a very practical position to play the E blues scale in as you would be using your middle, ring and little fingers on the 2nd (B) and 1st (high E) strings. With the exception of circus freaks, most people don't have as good a control with these three fingers as they do whey they are playing with their index, middle and ring fingers. Also - chances are, you are going to be moving up to this position from playing in 7th position (figure 1) anyway. And as we are going to be doing this ourselves we'll play the above position as if we would have come from the Figure 1 position.
That said, we are starting the Figure 2 position above in 7th position. This means that your index finger will be at the 7th fret so the first note you are playing, which is the Root note E at the 9th fret, you are playing with your ring finger. After playing the Root you immediately have to shift position from the 9th fret in order to be able to play the rest of the notes in the scale.
To do this shift up to 10th position: this means that you will play the 9th fret of the D (or 4th) string with your ring finger and then shift your hand playing the 12th fret of the D string, also with your ring finger.
Now that you have shifted to 10th position, you are in position to play the notes on the B (2nd) and high E (1st) strings with your index, middle and ring fingers. This will give you the maximum amount of strength and control for playing those notes.
When playing back down the scale again shift from 10th position back to 7th position when moving from the 12th fret of the G (or 3rd) string back down to the Root note at the 9th fret. This puts you in perfect position to play down the scale another octave.
Let's do this now.
To combine the two tab sections above and play the 2 full octaves cleanly, use the method described above to shift from 7th to 10th positions.
E blues scale starting in 7th position playing two octaves going up the scale and back down:
Just like we did in lesson 01, we are now going to start on the 5th note of the E blues scale (which is the B note on the low E string situated at the 7th fret). We are learning this as it will assist you in getting used to moving from another position and also cause it's good to vary things up a bit and sometimes start licks on notes other than the Root.
First you are playing the 5th, b7th (flat 7th) and Root note of the E blues scale. Note that to play these three notes you want to be in 5th position. You play the 5th note (B) on the 7th fret of the 6th (low E) string with your ring finger and then play the b7th (which is the note D in the E blues scale) located on the 5th fret of the 5th (A) string using your index finger. Then play the Root note (which is the start of our scale above) using your ring finger on the 7th fret of the A string. Note that above we played the Root note with our index finger. Here we play it with our ring finger cause when we move to the b3rd (flat 3rd), instead of playing it on the A string (at the 10th fret) we are going to play the b3rd on the D string (at the 5th fret).
So play the three notes in the tab below- then we'll play the full scale using the 5th and b7th that proceed the Root note E.
E blues scale starting on the 5th note in 5th position and playing 2 proceeding notes before the Root:
So now start on the 5th note of the E blues scale, starting in 5th position and play 2 full octaves of the E blues scale.
E blues scale starting on the 5th note in 5th position and playing 2 proceeding notes before the Root and then playing two full octaves and coming back down the scale to the 5th and then ending on the Root:
As we said above you are now playing the b3rd (which is the note G) of the E blues scale at the 5th fret of the 4th (D) string as opposed to playing the b3rd at the 10th fret of the A string that you played in Figure 1.
It's the exact same note just located in a different location (and string) on the neck.
One thing worth mentioning here is that although it's the same note - because it's on a different string, it will produce a different tone quality in the note. This may seem pedantic but it's a point worth thinking about. The best way to highlight this example is to get you to play the note A located on the 3rd (G) string at the 2nd fret. Play it. Now play the same note A located at the 7th fret on the 4th (D) string.
Notice the tone difference?
The reason I chose that note to play is that the 3rd string on your guitar is a steel string and the 4th string on your guitar is a wound string. The tone of the note on the 3rd string is nice and bright. The tone of the note on the 4th string is nice and fat.
They are the exact same notes, yet they produce a different sound.
It's understanding and playing around with things like this that will make your friends and family think that you need to be locked up! Hang on - edit that, it's understanding and playing around with things like this that will help you develop your own style, feel and sound. It's one of the great things about playing guitar - there is SO much you can get using SO many different approaches that you really do develop your own signature sound.
Obvious examples of aspects that will help develop your own sound are: the guitar you use, amplifier, effect pedals, string gauge, if you use a pick or your fingers, if your name is Eric Clapton and so on. Every one of those aspects adds to 'your' sound. Some things may seem trivial but they all add up to the big picture (or big wall of sound).
Back to playing the scale in 5th position. After playing the b3rd on the 5th fret you now want to shift up to 7th position to play the note A (which is the 4th note of the E blues scale) using your index finger. This puts you back in the position you learn in Figure 1. Then you can carry on up the scale, shifting to 10th position as above up to the 2nd octave.
When you come back down the scale shift at the same spots you did going up.
Lastly - we end the scale by playing right down to the 5th note (B) located on the 7th fret of the 6th (low E) string and then play back up to the Root note located on the 5th (A) string.
You can just end the scale on the B if you like but it's kind of nice to complete it ending on the Root note.
When you are making up your own licks, if you aren't sure where to end a lick, aim for the Root note when you are first starting out with guitar improvisation. Ending on the Root note will always sound nice and will give you nice phrasing. All a guitar solo really is is a series of little guitar licks or musical phrases. Much the same way that a conversation is made up of sentences. They make a bigger picture - paragraphs and the paragraphs become topics and the topics become the conversation.
It's a great way to thinking about music in terms of how you speak. Especially when playing with other musicians. Music is a conversation, it's dialogue between musicians. If you just talk non-stop without any breaks, sentences or expression then you'll sound like a robot. When you talk, you add expression to your voice which gives effect to what you are saying. Music is the same. This is why we are talking about theory and basic notes and scales in so much detail - the more you know about the language the better you'll speak it, the better you'll be able to get your point across and the more people will want to hear you.
Now, pick up your guitar and play.