Blues Lead Guitar

Blues Lead Guitar


The two most common shapes on guitar originate from shapes led with the “first” finger on either the 6th or 5th string.

Root 6Root 6 Pentatonic
Root 5Root 5 Pentatonic

Next Step is too add the “Blues” Note 1 fret above the 4th degree.




When two notes are played together within the scale we refer to it as “double stops”. These are effective in solos and can be used to create contrast between single lines.

Double Stops

The Mixolydian Scale

So why do you want to use the mixolydian scale for blues?

Well, not that there’s anything wrong with the pentatonic scale, on the contrary, the pentatonic / blues scale is the most essential scale for blues music.

But if you want to take it a little further and jazz it up with some nice fresh sounding notes to expand your improvisation possibilities then the mixolydian scale is a great addition. Try this easy 2 scale formula for improvising over a 12 bar blues in E.

Mixo-Blues Lesson



To understand the Mixolydian scale beyond a shape we need to look at how scales are constructed.

You may have not heard the term “tetrachord” before, but it’s worth your while for one basic reason:

It’s a useful melodic building block.

So how does it benefit you?

Knowing what a tetrachord is gives you structure for building lead patterns, solos, and other single-note sequences that sit over top of a bass line or underlying chord progression. If you know what it is, it can help you instantly become a better improviser and a more melodic lead player.
But what is it?
The Definition
The traditional definition of a tetrachord is a four-note sequence that spans the interval of a perfect fourth.
In modern music theory, it can refer to any four-note segment.
For our purposes, we’re sticking with the more formal definition; a segment of a major scale where that scale can be defined as two tetrachords separated by a whole step. Lets look at the Major and Minor tetrachords on the single high E string.

Tetrachords on E String