Using Extra Notes In Your Blues Guitar Solo

Author: Tommaso Zillio

You know your guitar scales but you find that many of your guitar heroes are “stepping outside” the scale, and you have no idea how to do it?

In styles like Jazz and Blues guitar players (and not only) use a lot of “outside” notes: notes that are not really in the scale that is being used at the moment in the piece. In some cases, some of these outside notes become so common that they were eventually incorporated in the scale: think of the “Blues scale”, that is simply a pentatonic scale plus the b5 “blue” note, that is clearly an outside note. Another examples are the numerous “Bebop scales”

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There is no advantage to restrict yourself to the scale when playing (in fact, it can make your solo sound too “stiff”), on the other hand if you don’t know how to use the outside notes, they will invariably sound “bad” when you play them. What can you do?

The wrong solution is to learn from articles or columns titled “24 ways to use outside notes” or similar. I have seen time and again with my students that in this case less is more: you need ONE good trick, and then you need to master it. If you know 24 tricks, you will not focus in mastering any of them, and so you will not solve your problem.

In the video below I explain one of the simplest and yet most effective way to use outside notes in a Blues or Jazz solo. Sure, it is not the ONLY possible trick (the video would be hours long…), but it’s a great first trick to master and you will get a surprising mileage out of it. Watch the video now.

The only thing you need to do now is to try this trick on your guitar and experiment to find what kind of sounds you can make with it. It’s really easy and you will be able to apply it immediately to your guitar playing.

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar.

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