Blues Scales for Piano

Adding a ”blue note” to the regular Pentatonic scale gives the Pentatonic Blues Scale. These scales are for obvious reasons perfect when playing blues on the piano. The "Major Blues Scale" is some less common than the "Minor Blues Scale" and, therefore, we start with minor and you find the major by scrolling down.

The blues originate from a mix of different sources in music, so there is no satisfying explanation in theoretical terms about this scale. But the most important thing is of course how it sounds when you are using it. Try these scales below and you will hear the blues!

Minor Blues Scales

Here are pictures and notes of the minor pentatonic blues scales. See also Major Blues Scales.

C Pentatonic Blues

C Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C

D Pentatonic Blues

D Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D

E Pentatonic Blues

E Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E

F Pentatonic Blues

F Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F

G Pentatonic Blues

G Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F, G

A Pentatonic Blues

A Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A

B Pentatonic Blues

B Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

Pentatonic Blues Scales overview
C: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
D: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D
E: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E
F: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F
G: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F#, G
A: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A
B: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

Intervals and steps
Interval: 1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7
Semi-notes: 3 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2
Formula: Whole and a half, Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole

Theory and tips for improvisation

The pentatonic blues scale is built upon three dominant chords. For example in the case of C pentatonic the three chords is C7 – F7 – G7. We can see the relationship when comparing the notes in the scale:

with the notes in the three chords:

There is a close correlation as you can see.

So how can you improvise on the piano with blues scales? By learning these scales you will get great tools for improvising in the musical style of blues (these scales are also used in jazz improvisation). A tip is to use the left hand for a chord and play the notes of the scale with the right. You can then combine a C blues scale with C7, F7 and G7 chords. In the same way you can combine a G blues scale with the chords G7, C7 and D7 and so on in different keys.


You can also improvise blues in minor. A nice combination is the chords Am7, Dm7 and E7 together with the A pentatonic blues scale.

Major Blues Scales

Here are pictures and notes of the major pentatonic blues scales.

C Pentatonic Major Blues

C Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C

D Pentatonic Major Blues

D Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D

E Pentatonic Major Blues

E Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E

F Pentatonic Major Blues

F Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F

G Pentatonic Major Blues

G Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G

A Pentatonic Major Blues

A Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A

B Pentatonic Major Blues

B Pentatonic Blues diagram
Notes: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B

Pentatonic Major Blues Scales overview
C: C, D, Eb, E, G, A, C
D: D, E, F, F#, A, B, D
E: E, F#, G, G#, B, C#, E
F: F, G, Ab, A, C, D, F
G: G, A, Bb, B, D, E, G
A: A, B, C, C#, E, F#, A
B: B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#, B

Intervals and steps
Interval: 1, 2, b3, 3, 5, 6
Semi-notes: 2 - 1 - 1 - 3 - 2 - 2
Formula: Whole, Half, Half, Whole and a half, Whole, Whole and a half