Skip to main content

Monster Licks Unleashed: Tapping Into the Blues Scale — Video

I'm using the pentatonic flat five scale (blues scale) in the key of B for this lick. The notes in this scale are B, D, E, F, F#, A, with the F being the flat five or added note.

Without a doubt, the blues scale is one of the most frequently used scales in rock soloing, and for good reason!

When played slow and clean, it sounds very dark, dirty and bluesy. When played more aggressively with legato and tapping, it sounds incredibly modern. It’s adaptable to so many different genres of music; this is why it's the scale of choice for so many guitarists.

My love of this scale really helped enhance my technique. It made me constantly push for new ideas and ways to play, rather than search for new tonalities. I focused on how to get more out of this one scale.

I could never really connect to the modal approach to guitar playing. For me it always sounded too jazzy. This is why I spent so much time developing my pentatonic playing.

The Lick:

I start this lick in the first position of the pentatonic scale. By adding the flat five, it gives me the three notes on the G string, which enables me to launch into the legato pattern to kick off the lick.

Once the legato is rolling, I take this idea through to the high E string. From there I start incorporating tapping into the lick. The tapping section begins with three consecutive tapped notes with my second and third fingers on my right hand (tapped notes are marked with a "T" on the transcript). The reason for tapping with these fingers is so I don't have to change my pick grip; this allows for me to swap in and out of these techniques with ease.

It's important to identify the transitions between legato and the tapping sections and to focus on these parts, as they are the key to pulling off the lick. You want the transitions to be seamless, as if you're not changing techniques at all. This is done by slowing down the lick and practicing hard. I suggest you work through the lick slowly and identify any parts that are problematic. From there, focus your practice time on those problematic parts. This is the best way to maximize your practice and get the best results.

As with all of these licks, the idea is for you to incorporate some of these techniques into your own playing. This lick is an example; you don't need to be able to play it exactly as I do. Just understand how I created it and play it. This is done by understanding where the tonality comes from and working hard on the technical aspects of the lick.

I hope you enjoy this Monster Lick Unleashed! Join me on YouTube right here! Contact me through or my Facebook page.

Australia's Glenn Proudfoot has played and toured with major signed bands and artists in Europe and Australia, including progressive rockers Prazsky Vyber. Glenn released his first instrumental solo album, Lick Em, in 2010. It's available on iTunes and at His brand-new instrumental album — Ineffable — is out now and is available through and iTunes (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49