Pentatonic/Blues scales

In my last post I talked about the minor chord shapes I’d learnt.

It’s the 11th fret one that’s really interested me. I come from a 6 string guitar backround and have spent most of my playing days going up and down pentatonic/blues scales.

These scales dont present themselves to readily to a novice steel player like myself.

In the 11th fret with dropped Es, you get a minor chord on strings 6-5-4-3, being G, Bb, D, G. On the two top strings you get 1 – F, 2 – D. the b7 and 5th in the scales.

Altogether you get:


string:     6  5  4  3  2  1

scale note: 1 b3  5  1  5 b7

And the pentatonic/blues scale is 1 b3 4 b5 5 7, so that’s part of the way there with the bar in just one place.

Bring the pedals and levers into play (Es stay dropped):

  • A lever puts the b3 to a 4 on the 5th string. Bingo

  • B lever just puts the 1 to a b2. Not so useful

  • C lever is good! It lets you do a bend from the 5 to the b7 on the 4th string and the b3 to 4 on the 5th.

  • RKR lever, that drops the 2 string a semitone, drops the 5 to a b5.

Now we’re in business! without moving the bar we can go all the way up a pentatonic minor/blues scale and drop in a few bends, without moving the bar.

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