Sounding Unique in the Blues Part 2

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Continuing on with how to add new life to your blues solos, here’s another approach that’s sure to turn heads. And all it takes is one new note.

In Part 1, I introduced the Mixolydian scale as the first step in moving away from using the typical blues scale over a blues in E. But as I noted, you will still sound safely in key, and this just creates a happier mood to contrast with the blues scale. However, by simply raising the 4th in the Mixolydian scale, you get the Lydian Dominant scale (1 2 3 #4 5 6 b7) as depicted in Measure 1, which will give your solos a more modern jazz spin.

Notice that there is only a one note difference compared to the Mixolydian scale, yet your solos now take on a completely different character far removed from the happy Mixolydian sound. Experiment using this scale over the rest of the chord progression by playing A Lydian Dominant over A7, and B Lydian Dominant over B7 as I’ve done in measures 2 to 4. Targeting the #4 frequently in your licks will emphasize the "angular" sound of the scale, but you can also use it subtly as a passing tone between the 3rd and 5th of each scale. If you work on seamlessly switching between the blues, Mixolydian, and Lydian Dominant scales during your solos, you'll find new ideas that prevent your playing from sounding too predictable. Tune in for part 3 in a future blog where I present another approach that will take your solos down a darker part of the woods. Do you want a song or solo transcribed / tabbed out for you? Contact me at for info - rates are competitive and delivery is quick!