Guitar Scales Tabs: The Ultimate Guide

The E Blues Scale

Here’s the guitar tab for the E blues scale:

guitar scales tabs You could use any of these scales over a:

  • A 12 bar blues in the key of E.
  • Anything in the key of E minor.

The E minor scale is the relative minor key of G major.

Therefore, you could use any of the E minor scales over:

  • Anything in the key of G major.

Now, let’s look at our minor scales in the key of C# Minor.

Here are the guitar scales tabs for the minor scale, minor pentatonic and blues scale in the key of C# minor.

The C# Minor Scale

guitar scales tabs

The C# Minor Pentatonic Scale

c-minor-pentatonic-scale

The C# Blues Scale

guitar scales tabs You could use any of these scales over a:

  • C# minor chord progression.
  • C# blues.

As C# minor is the relative minor key to E major. You could also use any of these scales over a chord progression in the key of E major.

Let’s take a look at our final minor key, the key of B minor.

Here are the guitar scales tabs for the minor scale, the minor pentatonic and the blues scale in the key of B minor.

The B Minor Scale

b-minor-scale

The B Minor Pentatonic Scale

guitar scales tabs

The B Blues Scale

b-blues-scale

You could use these scales over:

  • Anything in the key of B minor.
  • A B blues

As D major is the relative major of B minor. You could also use these scales over anything in the key of D major.

What’s a relative minor scale?

A relative minor scale is a scale which shares the same notes as a major scale from the same key.

Both scales use identical musical notes. However they both have different starting points.

Let’s take a look at an example to understand this further.

For this example, we’re going to use the key of C.

The C major scale consists of the following notes.

C D E F G A B

The relative minor of C major, is A minor.

The A minor scale is made up of these notes.

A B C D E F G

Can you see how both scales use the EXACT same notes. However, the C major scale starts on the note C.

The A minor starts on the note A.

  • Therefore, C major is the relative major key of A minor.
  • A minor is the relative minor key of C major.

How do I find relative minor and major keys on the guitar?

Luckily, for us guitarists, there’s a really simple way of finding the relative major and minor keys on your guitar.

This works for ANY key.

This is a really useful tip, so listen up.

  • For every major scale, you can find the relative minor scale, 3 frets down.
  • For every minor scale, you can find the relative major scale, 3 frets up.

Try this:

  • Play a C major scale which starts on the 8th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Move down 3 frets to the 5th fret of the low E string. (6th string.)
  • Play a minor scale starting on the 5th fret. (5th string.)
  • You should be playing the A minor scale!

As mentioned before, both of these scales are EXACTLY the same. They just have different starting points.

You can also do this from a minor perspective. Let’s use the key of B minor for this example.

Try this:

  • Play a B minor scale starting on the 7th fret of the low E string.
  • Move up 3 frets to the 10th fret of the low E string.
  • Now play a major scale shape, starting on the 10th fret.
  • You should be playing the D major scale!

That’s it, that’s how you find the relative major and minor scales on the guitar.

Why is this useful for guitarists?

This is SO useful to know, as you now have two options when improvising.

  • If something is in a major key. You can use the relative minor scale.
  • If a piece of music is an a minor key, you could use the relative major scale.

One the hardest things about improvising is creating interesting sounds with a new scale.

However, if you understand relative minor and major keys, you can use ANY type of scale over ANY chord progression.

This comes in handy when you’re faced with playing in a uncomfortable key.

For example, if you find major keys hard but know how to use minor scales. You can use the relative minor scale over a major key.

  • So, if you’re playing in the key of C major, you can use a A minor scale.

Or, if you find minor keys difficult, but find major scales easy. You can use the relative major scales over a minor key.

  • So, if you were playing in the key of D major, you could use a B minor scale.

Here’s a list of ALL of the relative major and minor keys.

scales-and-frets-in-all-keys

How do I play guitar scales in all keys?

To play guitar scales in all keys, you MUST change your starting note.

The great thing about guitar scales is that they are moveable patterns. Once you’ve learned one pattern, you’ve automatically learned 12 others too.

By changing your starting note, you’re changing what key the scale is in.

99% of all scales start on the low E string.

Here are ALL of the notes on the low E string:

e-root-notesBy starting a scale on a different fret, you are changing the key.

For example, if you wanted to play a scale in the key of C. You would start it on the 8th fret of the low E string.

So each of your scales would become:

  • The C Major Scale.
  • The C Minor Scale.
  • The C Minor Pentatonic.
  • The C Blues Scale.

Let’s say you wanted to play a scale in the key of F#/Gb. You would start your scales on the 2nd fret of the low E string.

So each of your scales would become:

  • The F# Major Scale.
  • The F# Minor Scale.
  • The F# Minor Pentatonic.
  • The F# Blues Scale.

Here’s a really fun challenge that will take your guitar playing to the next level:

  • Try playing the major scale in all 12 keys.
  • Try playing the minor scale in all 12 keys.
  • Try playing the minor pentatonic in all 12 keys.
  • Try playing the blues scale in all 12 keys.

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