If you’re an alto sax player looking to add some bluesy flavor to your playing, then you’ve come to the right place. Blues is a fundamental genre in American music, and scales are the foundation of any good improvisation. In this article, we’ll explore the world of alto sax blues scales and give you the tips and tricks you need to master them like a pro.
What are Blues Scales?
Blues scales are the backbone of blues music, and they’re a must-know for any saxophonist who wants to play the blues. A blues scale is a pentatonic scale with an added “blue” note, which is a flatted fifth or a raised fourth, depending on the scale. The blues scale is used extensively in blues, rock, and jazz music, and it’s a great tool for improvisation.
Alto Sax Blues Scales
On the alto sax, there are two common blues scales: the minor blues scale and the major blues scale. The minor blues scale is a pentatonic scale with an added flat fifth, while the major blues scale is a pentatonic scale with an added major third.
The Minor Blues Scale
The minor blues scale is a great starting point for any saxophonist who wants to add some blues flavor to their playing. To play the minor blues scale on the alto sax, start with the root note, then play the flattened third, fourth, flat fifth, fifth, and flattened seventh. The pattern for the minor blues scale is as follows:
Root – Flattened Third – Fourth – Flattened Fifth – Fifth – Flattened Seventh
For example, if you’re playing in the key of C minor, the minor blues scale would be:
C – E-flat – F – G-flat – G – B-flat
The Major Blues Scale
The major blues scale is a great tool for saxophonists who want to add a bit of a twist to their blues playing. To play the major blues scale on the alto sax, start with the root note, then play the major third, fourth, flattened fifth, fifth, and major seventh. The pattern for the major blues scale is as follows:
Root – Major Third – Fourth – Flattened Fifth – Fifth – Major Seventh
For example, if you’re playing in the key of C major, the major blues scale would be:
C – E – F – G-flat – G – B
Now that you know how to play the minor and major blues scales on the alto sax, it’s time to start practicing. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Practice the scales slowly and accurately
- Use a metronome to help you keep time
- Vary the rhythm and articulation of the scales
- Practice playing the scales in different keys
- Transcribe solos from your favorite blues and jazz saxophonists
Blues scales are an essential tool for any saxophonist who wants to add some blues flavor to their playing. By mastering the minor and major blues scales on the alto sax, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great blues and jazz player. Remember to practice regularly and use the tips and tricks outlined in this article to improve your playing. Good luck!