The Composite Blues Scale - Killer Sound from WRONG Notes!

Ever wonder how certain guitar players seem to so easily take liberties with notes, playing notes that don't even belong in the key... How can guitar players do that? How come some players end up using notes that don’t belong? And, how can playing those  “wrong-notes” work to create more unique riffs and melodic lines? 

Find out in this episode of, "The Guitar Blog Insider."

Wrong notes can be found in; Jazz, in Country and in Blues, they're used a lot. The problem is - the first times that we ever try to use these wrong notes, they sound really off kilter.

When playing and practicing the use of wrong notes, we need to not only train ourselves for which notes are the unique “wrong” ones, but we also need to learn how to get used to hearing the application of them.

Once we can properly manipulate wrong intervals and get them into the kinds of music that we want to use them in, we'll achieve better control over these tones. 

This control is the secret that all of the guitarists who use this approach have developed when it comes to playing wrong notes.


I’m sure that you’ve quite likely heard of scales such as the Mixolydian and the Blues Scale, or even the Arabian or the Egyptian scale.

Perhaps you’ve heard of other specialty or exotic scales as well. The names won’t really mean that much (until you begin an in-depth study), but there is one thing that all of these scales do have in common.

A scale that you do not comprehend needs to be well developed 'before' you can use the scale effectively. 

This means that you’ll need to get used to the new tones, (including how they sit on the guitar fingerboard, and what each scale tone sounds like when it gets applied across a musical phrase).

In order to help you begin experimenting with this concept of wrong notes, I have a great way to help get you started. 

We'll roll this out by performing some phrases that use a popular 'blended note' layout of the Major and Minor, Pentatonic Scales, called the Composite Blues Scale…

The "Composite Blues" is a scale that you could say is pretty much FULL of wrong notes. It doesn’t fit in very well against straight Major Keys or straight Minor keys. 

However, this scale does offer some fairly unique options and a number of, “off-the-cuff,” note opportunities.

The way this scale is structured allows us to add a number of interesting scale tones around our licks and riffs.

First, let’s learn what the notes are that are specific to the set-up of this scale...

Now, lets have a look at how one possible pattern for this scale can sit upon the guitar neck from the root of "C."

The “Composite Blues” scale overlays a blend of both major and minor intervals that include the major and minor 3rd, the (aug. 4th) or diminished 5th and a Minor 7th.

This scales collection of tones creates a unique sound which can be great for playing over; rock, blues, country music, soul, /R-B and jazz (it’s quite versatile).

The “Composite Blues” scale includes nine separate notes (with the 10th being the octave). It blends major and minor intervals together to form a highly unique soundscape.

The scale itself offers us a fingerboard pattern with a wide range of different sounds for guitar players who wish to inject more “off the wall” tonal effects into their music.

Learn the 3 musical examples that I've created below. They will help you to begin understanding how to add the series of 'wrong notes' found in the Composite Blues Scale…

Example #1). Blues Lick

Example #2). Country Riff

Example #3). Prog. Rock Groove

In wrapping up, the main thing I would like to stress - as you go forward with this idea - is that this type of sound (this effect of using wrong notes), is really unique and it has a ton of musical possibilities within many different kinds of music.

So, practice the ways that the outside scale tones, (like the Major and Minor 3rds and the Minor 7th and that diminished interval), might be able to be applied and also be sure to test out all kinds of styles and sounds using this approach.

Over time, you’ll start inventing a bunch of different ways to get going on using this sound, and you’ll start to realize that even, “Wrong Notes,” really can sound Great!

As always, thanks for joining me, if you liked this lesson, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube and subscribe for more, (remember to hit that bell when you subscribe so that you’ll never miss any of my uploads to YouTube)…

I wanted to let you know about the guitar courses over on my website at

I’ve got step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar course available.

The courses work to help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at

Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next video. Bye for now!



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