Sophisticated Blues Solo

The most straightforward way to play with this backing track is by using the A Minor Pentatonic and Blues Scales over the whole progression, a sound with which I am sure we are already very familiar. This is a classic, great sounding approach but, from a jazz perspective, doesn’t really pin down the chord changes. One way to do this while still using the Pentatonic Scale is to try playing a different Pentatonic Scale for each chord; so on the A7 you would use A Minor Pentatonic, on the D7 you would use D Minor Pentatonic and on the E7 you would use E Minor Pentatonic. This idea is used by players like Robben Ford, Scott Henderson and Larry Carlton as it still keeps the bluesy Pentatonic sound, but follows the chords more closely and, as such, sounds a bit more interesting harmonically.

One thing to be careful of with this approach is the Minor 3rd in each Pentatonic scale. A Minor Pentatonic sounds acceptable over the A7 (despite the clash between the C in the scale and the C# in the chord) but it gets a bit much with all three chords. You will notice that we’ve got around this by bending the Minor 3rd in each scale up towards the Major 3rd, which, along with being a great blues sound, also pins down the chords more strongly.

If you are interested in exploring this approach further, try using Dominant 7th Arpeggios for each chord, or adapting the Pentatonic Scale so that it contains a Major 3rd rather than a Minor 3rd.

As always, below the YouTube video you’ll find the backing track to play along with, and below that, the tablature. Aren’t I nice?!

Feel free to ask questions or just share your thoughts in the comments!

Watch the video:

Play along with the backing track:

Read the tab:

Sophisticated Blues Solo

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