C Blues Piano Scale

Here’s a quick lesson on playing the C blues scale on the piano. It’s a simple little scale and, combined with the nifty chords I teach you in this quick lesson, you’ll be making some pretty cool, bluesy sounds on the piano in no time!

It helps me to think of the C blues piano scale in two groups of notes:

Group 1 is C-Eb-F-Gb

Group 2 is G-Bb (and C, if you’re going to be descending after playing the top C note).

This helps me not only remember the scale, but helps with my fingering also. I play Group 1 with fingers 1-2-3-4 and Group 2 with fingers 1-2. I can then cross my thumb under my 2nd finger to start all over again, or simply play the top C with my middle (3rd) finger if I’ll be descending.

Here’s a color-coded image of the grouping – I like to think of this as the “shape” of the scale:

C Piano Blues Scale

Now, just spend a few minutes each day playing around with the C blues scale and you’ll have it in your brain and fingers before you know it!

There are SO many scales you could possibly learn, but it only takes a few of them to really make a difference in your playing. I think of them as the “glue” that holds melody, harmony, improvisation, and all your piano playing together.

That’s why I created a whole course to really help you get the important scales into your fingers. It’s called Piano Scales… FAST! and you can check it out here.

  • Gerard Morris says:

    Love it: the colour coding, the shapes (the mountain and the V), the ‘voicings’ in the left hand. Mind you I haven’t tried it yet and I doubt I can move my right hand fingers as fast as you or stay as co-ordinated, but it looks as if I might be able to improvise safely following those instructions. By “safely”, I mean, “without playing anything discordant”.
    I have learned to improvise in D major, playing single notes of the pentatonic scale, 1,2,3 5,6 i.e. D, E, F#, A, B in the right hand and pairing those notes with chords that I see in Buskers’ books for songs written in D major, i.e. D, Em, F#m, Bm, pivoting on A7 before resolving on D. It is also “safe” to use a G chord (in the left), even sometimes an E, E7 or B7. When I do this improvising, someone listening might say,”That sounds nice” (because the tune is “safe” and always resolves) or “take your foot off the loud pedal!” which I often forget to do.
    Most of my chordings in the left are three note (except where I add the seventh, e.g. Em7 or Dm7) and in first position. I must learn more about “voicings” and inverting chords.
    I have great difficulty remembering how to play even simple three or four chord tunes: why is that? I have your piano by ear CDs but haven’t unwrapped them yet.
    Please keep the colour coding.

    • Bill says:

      Glad you like it, Gerard! Yeah, I find that looking at the keys, scales, chords in different ways in my mind really helps me play and remember them.

  • Johnny says:

    I am really enjoying the lessons you are sending. I had a liver transplant and am own disability, so I have a lot of time to practice. I hope to purchase your course soon. Thank you so much for sending the news letters and lessons.

  • joshua says:

    thanks a lot for the lessons it has given me some improvements.

  • Lee Clarke says:

    Thanks for this on c blues and also the Christmas Carol Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas lesson with the stride. Still would like We Wish You A Merry Christmas in Gb on the blog. Also Oh Christmas Tree ala Vince Guaraldi in F. Thanks for all your efforts.

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