"Blues Box Shape" Checklist (Solo in Seconds - NO Mistakes)

The Blues Box Shape is one of the simplest scale patterns for soloing that is also one of the most often under-performed. All too often players only learn the basic "BB Box" but never touch on the "Albert King: box. 

In this lesson, I’m going to show you how to completely understand EVERYTHING about the Blues Box and make sure you get it right every solo by using a simple 3 step checklist.

The 3-step checklist covers the "Albert King," Blues Box, the "BB King" framework pattern and the color tone layout for the "BB Box."

You’ll learn how and where to place your notes, and how to control the sound in relation to the harmony, as well as how to solo the damn thing right off the charts with the coolest note choices you can handle.


We’re talking the Blues Box Shape today and this study is some of the best Blues Shape studying that you can do if you do it right, so we’re breaking out the check list so we can break this down step-by-step so we can make sure that you learn it all quickly and easily.

Okay, any good Blues shape studying starts with how you prepare the understanding for the shapes application on the neck. The shapes for Blues Boxes may indeed have their foundation within the Major and the Minor Pentatonic. But, two of the world’s greatest Blues Players have lead the way with their own approach which has essentially become the gold standard of Blues Boxes.

Those players are Albert King along with BB King. The first shape on our check list will be the Albert King shape so let’s work this one out so we can check it off and move through two other shapes as well.

Our first box shape on the check-list is the Albert King shape. This shape is a simple modification to the Minor Pentatonic scale that adds a Major 3rd color tone.

It includes the scale degrees of: 1, ♭3, ♮3, 4, 5, ♭7
In the key of "G" this produces, (G, B♭, B♮, C, D, F)

Keep in mind that this pattern is nothing more than a simple modification of adding a Major 3rd note into the layout of a standard Minor Pentatonic. Don’t let the fact that this shape is simple fool you in any way. This shape can offer up some really cool ideas.

Let's analyze how it sits on the fingerboard. After you learn it, be sure to have some fun with its sound over a vamp performed using a static “G Dominant 7” chord.

Now that you’ve learned how the Albert King box shape is used in Blues, let’s next jump over to checking out a slightly more complex approach that was used by legendary Blues guitarist BB King.

This next Blues Box starts out based on the neck as a rather ambiguous group of tones that are neither Major nor Minor as a shape.

Where the magic happens lies in what we do with the shape. We’ll have a couple of options with this one, so we’ll need to break it into two separate ideas.

Here’s the first one BB King used this box-shape as his foundation.

The BB Box Framework:

On our check-list - we’ll call it shape "Number 1 BB Box" The number one box acts as BB’s framework. And, it only applies the scale degrees of; 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6.

This layout acts as a framework so that he can apply more color tones around it to be able to highlight chords and melodic ideas in whatever way he saw fit to do.

Memorize the shapes layout on the fingerboard.

Keep in mind that this shape is neither Major nor Minor and it will get its musical direction from however BB would want to highlight the sound.

Alright, now that you have an understanding for what BB’s foundation was for his Blues Box on the neck, the next idea we’re going to cover will get a little more involved.

This next level idea includes making modifications to the framework by using additional degrees of: ♭3, ♮3, ♭5

Use the chart below to distinguish the options for applied use on our diagram.


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One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

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As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

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The second BB King shape, (we’ll call it shape number 2 on our check-list), has several different note options.

Here’s what happens when this is apply all of these options on the neck.

The second BB Box Shape is actually just a modified version of our first shape. But, in order to keep track of what’s happening, I’ve highlighted the other color tone selections in; Red, Green and Blue.

You’ll see a reference chart on the video to help you better identify each tone. Memorize how the shape sits on the fingerboard.

Spend time on jamming out with this shape and have some fun with its sound over a vamp performed using a static “G Dominant 7” chord.

Once you learn how the Blues Box Shapes work and how easy they can be applied over any Blues, R and B, Funk or Motown riffs, you’ll find yourself adding these sounds into your music more and more as you get better (and, more familiar with them).

The Blues Box ideas offer a wide selection of sound between the Albert King layout, combined with those two directions we covered from the BB King shapes.

Be sure to memorize these patterns that I've shown here in the lesson and develop new patterns as you take these shapes along the neck while you’re enjoying them during your at home studies.

There’s no doubt that these shapes are really cool and they offer guitarists a wide option of sound over any type of Blues-based idea.



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