This is a public version of the members-only Jazz Sax with Eric Marienthal, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Jazz Sax with Eric Marienthal.
Join Now

Basic Saxophone
Intermediate Saxophone
Advanced Saxophone
Exercise of the Week Archive
Lick of the Week Archive
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Jazz Sax Lessons: Improvisation: Basic Blues (Tenor Saxophone)

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Basic Saxophone

+Intermediate Saxophone

+Advanced Saxophone

+Exercise of the Week Archive

+Lick of the Week Archive

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Jazz Sax

This video lesson is available only to members of
Jazz Sax with Eric Marienthal.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Jazz Sax with Eric Marienthal. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Jazz Sax Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
Okay, so now, we're gonna
work on improvising over a blues.
That's our first real chance to improvise.
You've got a track right there,
I did this on the alto,
on the alto version, so I want to
you know, make sure I always give
the due to the people who are playing
tenor or soprano, so B flat.
So what we're doing is playing
over a concert B flat blues.
So, for us tenor players or soprano
players, we're playing in the key of C.
So, in later in the curriculum,
we're going to be talking a lot about
how to play over certain chords and
all the components of the chords,
minor chords, major chords,
dominant chords, diminished chords,
augmented chords, whatever the chords you
can possibly think of, we covered here.
But, for the purposes of us right now, I
want to introduce you to the blues scale.
This is kind of the go-to,
cover all scale.
That you can play that when you're
playing over a progression like this,
not exclusively blues by the way,
but including the blues,
I hate to say this,
this is vinegar in my mouth, but
you can kind of forego a lot
of the detail of the harmony
of the chords you're playing over and
just play this one blues scale.
Okay so, you know I want to warn you right
from the very basic beginning right here,
this is kind of a, it's a bit of a rabbit
hole that you can fall into, and you say,
wow, that scale really sounds good,
and you know what?
It sounds good over a lot of things.
I'm gonna, I don't have to worry
about all that other stuff.
I can just play the blues scale and,
you know, I'll get my gigs and
my record deal and I'm off to the races.
You know I've been lied, you know I'd
be lying if I didn't say that a lot of
you know, a lot of players rely on,
you know, blues scale quite a lot.
But, you know, anyway,
getting far afield, but
I want to make sure you know that
we're going to get into a lot
more detail throughout this school and
we're growing by the way.
So, but, for the purposes of this lesson I
want you to be aware of your blue scale.
So you can download your PDF right
there along with the MP3, so
you can play along with the blues that
I'm about to play over so you can see.
The blues goes four choruses or
four times through the form of the song.
Most blues, progressions are 12 bars long,
some longer, some even shorter.
But 12 bars is the standard.
And if you're playing tenor or soprano,
you're gonna be playing the C blues scale.
You've got it written down
right there on your PDF.
Let me play it for you, okay.
I've got my mouthpiece cap on.
Take note, I'm doing this on purpose.
When you're not playing,
make sure you've always got your
mouthpiece cap on to protect your reed and
protect your mouthpiece, and make sure
that your reed stays nice and wet.
So the blue scale, you can follow along
with me or just look at it as I play it.
But the C blue scale sounds like this.
So, magically all those notes work really
well over this entire progression.
So, have at it.
This is you're chance to play the blues.
Ready, here we go.
Here's our basic blues.