Discover how to play blues scales on your bass guitar. Blues scale bass TAB, patterns and notation: play blues scales in every key.
Blues Scale Bass: Page Index
- Blues Scale For Bass TAB
- E Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- F Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- G Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- A Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- B flat Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- C Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- D Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
- Blues Scale Bass Patterns
- Blues Scale Pattern 1
- Blues Scale Pattern 2
- Blues Scale Pattern 3
- Blues Scale Pattern 4
- Blues Scale Pattern 5
More Bass Reference Pages on Guitar Command:
- Bass Scales: A Complete Reference With Notation & TAB
- Pentatonic Scale on Bass Guitar
- Major Scale For Bass Guitar
- Bass Chords
- Download our eBook: Bass Guitar Scales, Chords & Arpeggios
- Play along with our inspiring Bass Backing Tracks
About the Blues Scale
The blues scale is in fact no more than a slightly modified pentatonic minor scale. By comparing the two scales you’ll notice that the only difference between them is that the blues scale contains an additional note.
It’s this note, which goes by several names, including: flattened fifth, flat five, diminished fifth, or simply the ‘blues note’, that gives the blues scale its distinctive ‘bluesy’ sound.
Below is a comparison of an A pentatonic minor scale and an A blues scale on bass guitar. The additional ‘blue’ notes have been circled.
By comparing the two scales the distinctive blues sound of the blues scale should be instantly apparent.
The blues scale is widely-used in blues, rock, metal and jazz. You can use it to write basslines, licks and riffs, and also to improvise bass solos.
On this page you’ll find out how to play the blues scale on bass guitar. By the end of the page you’ll be able to play a blues scale with any tonic note* all over the fretboard.
* The tonic note of a scale is the note that the scale is named after, i.e. the ‘A’ notes in an A major scale, or the ‘C’ notes in a C major scale.
This page is divided into two main sections:
The first section of the page shows to how to play a blues scale with a number of commonly-used tonic notes in open position.
In the second part of the page you’ll find a number of movable bass scale patterns with which you’ll be able to play blues scales all over the bass guitar neck.
Blues Scale For Bass TAB
Below you will find TAB for playing Blues scales with various common tonic notes. The Blues scales shown below are in open position (i.e. played in the first 4 frets, often incorporating open (unfingered) strings).
E Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
The notes in an E blues scale are as follows: E, G, A, B flat, B, D
F Blues Scale Bass TAB
The notes in an F blues scale are as follows: F, A flat, B flat, C flat, C, E flat
The above TAB shows how Pattern 1 from the Blues Scales Bass Patterns section below can be used to play an F blues scale.
G Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
The notes in a G blues scale are as follows: G, B flat, C, D flat, D, F
A Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
The notes in an A blues scale are as follows: A, C, D, E flat, E, G
Note: this scale is the same pattern as that used in the E blues scale open position scale, but played on the adjacent strings.
B flat Blues Scale Bass TAB
The notes in a B flat blues scale are as follows: B flat, D flat, E flat, F flat, F, A flat
Note: this is an example of how Pattern 4 from the Blues Bass Scale Patterns section can be used to play a B flat blues scale.
C Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
The notes in a C blues scale are as follows: C, E flat, F, G flat, G, B flat
D Blues Scale Bass TAB – Open Position
The notes in a D blues scale are as follows: D, F, G, A flat, A, C
Blues Scale Bass Patterns
The following movable bass scale patterns can be used to play any blues scale on bass guitar. The green notes represent the tonic notes* of the scale.
* see page introduction
Position the green notes over the correct notes on the bass fretboard to play the scale with that tonic note.
Play each note from the first green note to the second for a one octave scale. Combine shapes by moving your hand up or down the fretboard to adjacent shapes in order to play multi-octave Blues scales.
You can also use these shapes while improvising or composing. This is why additional notes outside of the octaves are provided. Using them you can extend the single-octave scales so that your lines don’t have to end on a tonic note.
Note: not all of the patterns contain two tonic notes. Although you won’t be able to use these shapes on their own to play an entire scale, you’ll still be able to use them combined with the adjacent shapes to play full scales, multi-octave scales, or while improvising.
Blues Scale Pattern 1
In the TAB below you can see how this pattern can be used to play a G blues scale:
Blues Scale Pattern 2
Blues Scale Pattern 3
Blues Scale Pattern 4
In the TAB below you can see how this pattern can be used to play a C blues scale:
Blues Scale Pattern 5
In the TAB below you can see how this pattern can be used to play an A blues scale: