Blues Scales for Piano

Adding a “blue note” to the regular Pentatonic Scale result in 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 will 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.

Cm Pentatonic Blues

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

C#m / Dbm Pentatonic Blues

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

Dm Pentatonic Blues

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

D#m / Ebm Pentatonic Blues

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

Em Pentatonic Blues

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

Fm Pentatonic Blues

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

F#m / Gbm Pentatonic Blues

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

Gm Pentatonic Blues

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

G#m / Abm Pentatonic Blues

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

Am Pentatonic Blues

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

A#m / Bbm Pentatonic Blues

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

Bm Pentatonic Blues

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

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

Intervals and steps
Intervals: 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. In the case of C Pentatonic, the three chords are 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 earn great tools for improvising in the musical style of blues (these scales can also be used in jazz improvisation). A tip is to use the left hand for a chord and play notes from the scale with the right. You can, for example, combine C Blues Scale with C7, F7 and G7 chords. Or, in the same way, the G Blues Scale with the chords G7, C7 and D7. See also jam tracks below


You can improvise blues in minor keys as well. A nice combination are the chords Am7, Dm7 and E7 together with the A pentatonic blues scale. Further reading: 12-bar blues.

Major Blues Scales

Here are pictures and notes of the Major Pentatonic Blues scales. See also Mixo-blues Scales.

C Pentatonic Blues

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

C# / Db Pentatonic Blues

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

D Pentatonic Blues

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

D# / Eb Pentatonic Blues

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

E Pentatonic Blues

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

F Pentatonic Blues

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

F# / Gb Pentatonic Blues

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

G Pentatonic Blues

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

G# / Ab Pentatonic Blues

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

A Pentatonic Blues

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

A# / Bb Pentatonic Blues

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

B Pentatonic Blues

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

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

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

Backing tracks

You can play piano to these tracks by using the scales presented here.

Blues Scales backing tracks album cover
Track list

C Bossa Blues

Show scale F# minor scale diagram

A Rhythm Blues

Show scale F# minor scale diagram

The full album is available in the member area.