The Blues Scales Review

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The blues scales by Dan Greenblatt - book cover

Type: Book
Name: The Blues Scales - Essential Tools For Jazz Improvisation
Writter: Dan Greenblatt
Publisher: Chuck Sher
Edition: 1st Edition
Year: 2004
Available versions: Hardcopy + Kindle
Number of Pages: 84
Price: 22$ on Amazon
Book includes audio


“The Blues Scales” is aimed at beginner and intermediate players who want to use Blues scales in their Jazz improvisations (and other genres). It’s written in a simple and easy to follow manner (including written examples and music CD/files). Each chapter adds more notes to your arsenal so you gain more freedom in your improvisation.

Although the book says it’s aimed at advanced players too, I believe advanced players would appreciate more sophisticated tools and exercises. Advanced players can read it in conjunction with other jazz improvisation books in order to find their own intricate melodic mechanisms.

Overall Rating:


So what do I think of this book? It’s surprisingly good, and I say that for a couple of reasons:

  • Its explanations are short and to the point so you can focus on practicing instead of reading lengthy text blocks.
  • The chapters are arranged in an impactful manner so with each chapter you read you will feel that you acquire more tools and more freedom.
  • It includes examples to read, hear, and even backing tracks so you can practice on your own.
  • It includes practical insights and not only theory. If you practice using the tools given here, you will feel comfortable using the Blues scales in your improvisations.


I got the recommendation for this book on some music forums on the internet, I was a bit sceptic at first, the book is only 84 pages long, it’s pretty short compared to the books I usually read but I decided to give it a shot and I’m happy I did.

It touches very important topics of Blues improvisation tools, including:

  • Basic Blues theory
  • How to move between scales
  • Transposition
  • Adding notes to the Blues scale
  • Playing the wrong scale as a a creative device
  • Exercises to turn beginners gibberish into musical meaningful phrases
  • Playing chord tones
  • Blues scales in modal situations


The exercises in the book are good. They work! After I practiced them I felt better at using the blues scales in my improvisation.

I read this book a couple of times and I like the idea that it’s short but still impactful, I can always refer to it for opening my mind to more colors in my improvisations and beyond Jazz.

If you are an advanced player who wants to know how leaps affect the melodic line energy, how choosing specific non chord notes in specific rhythmic locations will create a certain atmosphere or feeling, how to use chromatic sequences in Blues or how to inject dissonance into your playing, this book is not for you as this book doesn’t delve into these topics.

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