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Jazz Sax Lessons: Play Your Scales with Me in All Keys: Blues

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Okay, it's time now for
the blues scales.
Blues scales are the scales
that are going to be
with you from the first
time you play a blues or
some sort of modal, minor tune.
I use blues scales a lot.
Same thing with minor pentatonics, too.
Both blues scales and pentatonic
scales tend to be scales that we
are in danger of overusing
because they work so well.
You can If you're playing the tune
Impressions, for instance, or
some modal tune where you're playing
over one long minor tonality,
or a blues for that matter, you can
certainly get by and a lot of people.
A whole lot of people get by with
playing pretty much nothing but
minor pentatonic scales and blues
scales as their basis for their solos.
So hey man, that's totally up to you,
that's great, that's a viable thing,
and that's why I'm here to teach you
these scales, so you have these options.
Be aware that if,
like anything else, you know,
music is about, it's art,
art is subjective, and it's your call.
But it's always nice to have
variation in your playing.
That's why, when you are studying
the minor scales, and
we have all four minor
scales to draw from.
Know that when you see, even when you see
a minor seven chord, and then you think,
well, can I use a melodic minor
scale as my basis for my solo,
even thought there's a natural
seven in that scale.
Or a harmonic minor scale where
there's a major seven there as well.
The answer is yes it works well because
from a theory standpoint you can call
that major seven a passing tone.
Very often you use that.
On your way back up to the tonic.
It's a chromatic approach tone,
or whatever.
You know, artistically,
it just sounds good.
[LAUGH] If you like
anchovies on your ice cream.
And then if you like it, you like it.
I don't, but hopefully,
you know, to each his own.
So just be aware of the potential,
you know, pitfall,
or danger of overusing
any particular scale.
So the blue scale is exactly the same
as your minor pentatonic scale
with the addition of one note,
one note only, that tritone.
So it's that half-step between the fourth
and fifth degrees in the scale.
So if I'm playing,
which I will be playing, in my A minor.
So we have
a minor pentatonic.
The A blues scale.
I'd play
nothing but
notes from
the A blues
And it works.
So I want to make sure you
guys all know the scale, and
have an exercise that you can use to
learn that and get it under your fingers.
So low and behold, ta da.
Attached to this lesson is the PDF for
the blues scales.
And I wrote one sheet as I
did with all these scales.
Whether you are playing the E flat alto or
baritone or B flat tenor and soprano.
So if you're gonna play along with me,
I'm gonna start at the beginning
on my C blues scale.
And if you're playing a B flat instrument,
tenor or
soprano start on the F, the next key.
And that way, since you B flat people
are a fourth above us E flat people.
I shouldn't say that.
I play tenor and
soprano too, but you know?
For right, for this lesson,
I happen to have my alto in my hand.
You're gonna play one key above,
because you're playing an instrument
a fourth above the E flat instruments.
And so when I get down to the bottom,
when I get to my last key,
you will have already gotten there.
You will have beaten by one key, so
you'll circle back and
play that last key, which is C, on top.
But again, like I said, for
all of these scales,
you're gonna be practicing these
scales on your own obviously.
Just play them straight from the very top,
no matter what instrument you're playing.
Okay, so
I'm gonna fire up my metronome and
we're gonna play each one twice
as indicated by the repeats.
And we'll end on the whole
note at the end.
And then we'll give it four beats
before we go into the next key,
to take a breath, okay?
All right, here we go, our blues scales.
My metronome is set at 150.
[SOUND] One, two, one, two.
One two
two, go.
two, go.
All right,
very good.
Okay, so did that feel good?
Remember, like any exercise,
any of these scales or whatever.
If the tempo that I'm playing
these at is a bit quick for
you, absolutely have your
metronome on your end.
And, play it at whatever
tempo you need to.
Slow is good, control is the goal.
Hey, that rhymes.
Control is the goal.
That's my new catch phrase.
I just made it up right here first.
[LAUGH] Cool.
Control is the goal.
Make sure you're playing in control,
nice and slow, so
you can hear all the cleanliness
when you're playing, and
if you don't hear that, then work on
making sure you get to that point.
Another thing about the metronome too,
I'm playing mine,
I haven't got earphones in or
anything, I'm hearing it live.
I really encourage you to make sure
that whatever metronome you're using,
you can hear it.
It sounds silly right?
But so often a lot of metronomes
that are out there now.
Are like the little
credit card sized things.
Or even bigger but
just don't have the volume.
We're playing a fairly loud
instrument in the saxophone.
You wanna make sure you can hear it.
It's not even good enough.
I've got my iPhone here
with my metronome app.
Called tempo.
I forget if I paid for it or
not, if I did it was nominal.
But, I'm pretty sure it
was just about free.
But make sure that when you're,
yeah I can hear this very well because
I can turn up the volume plenty so
make sure that your metronome is
something that you can really hear.
I was gonna say that,
If you're just looking at it and
you say while I can't really hear it,
but I can see it.
It's not gonna be the same,
it might appear that way,
it might be super close, but
you want everything's gotta be oral.
You wanna be able to Here the click,
and here your sound, and
make sure that they are matching together.
Reason being that not only is that
a better way to play in time.
But when you're playing in bands,
you're not.
It's not like you're
looking at the drummer and
looking at his stick on the cymbal or
cross stick on the snare drum or
whatever and you're matching the visual
on that with the aural of your playing.
You know you want to be able to make
sure that you're justifying you know,
all audio.
You're really, you know,
you're training yourself to listen to
an external audio source basically.
Ok, so there's your blues scales.
You're ready to rock, you're ready to go
to a jam session once you get these down.
So go forward and
we're off to the next scale.