Blues Scales: The Ultimate Solo Scale | Riff Ninja Guitar

Blues Scales: The Ultimate Solo Scale

In this lesson we'll learn the ultimate guitar solo scale! It is the pentatonic minor scale, covering three positions and three octaves, which gives you a great amount of reach all in one nice fluid pattern!

Below you'll find the tab for this scale.

Leave a Reply 176 comments

Hollis Carroll Reply

very nice scale and changes

Luke Boswell Reply

Cool video Colin, love the sound of joining positions like that

hannah joachim Reply

Great Lesson

    pj Reply

    Maximus delectus.. Awesome on any planet..

    Grady Dyer Reply

    Great lesson. The ease of moving through the notes is great.

John Conti Reply

Good one, Colin. Knowing all 5 shapes for pentatonic/minor blues scales and playing them all the way up and down the fretboard and diagonally is fun, creative, and good practice. Thrill Is Gone (b) Keys To the Highway (a) Death Don't Have No Mercy (e) are my faces to practice, improvise, and jam on.

Geoffrey Thomas Reply

Great scale, with smooth tonal changes.

KenfromGa Reply

Great lesson. Most folks don’t realize that just by using your little finger you can increase your speed by 25%.

    Tammy Reply

    You can do a lot more than that with your little finger.

Vinnie Reply

Thank You Colin, It works well with most any and all Blues Chord progressions by altering it slightly to suit the song, chi Reply

the pinky is a very good finger to use.It truly does help to know the fingering order on the fret board,like everything does take practice. Reply

Great lesson and easy to follow. I am 87 years old with most of old age pains and 26 years of military aches and pains. Playing my guitars is the only time I get relief from these pains. Thanks to guys like you who provide free music lessons. Charlie

Scott Reid Reply

Another well explained lesson. Thanks Colin.

wayne eklund Reply

great lesson Colin. I understand the using the pinky but have never seen Clapton use the pinky.

Kevin Butler Reply

What a great, smooth transitioning scale! Love it!

Bill Lingelbaugh Reply

After my first 4 years of classical guitar training I took a master class. The instructor asked me to play a pentatonic scale. I said 'Huh'. I never worked on scales for the sake of scales. Only did them in the context of the music. He sent me a lot of scales and exercises with comments and told me just do them. Scales are boring, but very necessary and having a fun way to work on them is a good thing. Colin, this is fun and a good way. I've applied your idea to other scales and I really enjoy it. It's fun to find little melodies while doing this exercise. Thanks for keeping it interesting.

Marlene Duke Reply

Great sounding scale, I am just learning the blues and will use this one

Avatar photo
Rosalyn Reply

Hey Colin. I’ve been practicing with the pinky and second finger. It’s getting stronger. Thanks

Avatar photo
Ike Ruckman Reply

Following knee surgery, I’m going to be off work for 3 months starting in August, and I’m looking forward to spending time with my tele and your new course!! What a way to invest the time that I’m not doing therapy!!

Clovis Nelson Reply

Thanks it's a great help.

Bob Mansfield Reply

Colin, being a relative beginner this was a scale, not beyond my reach, and easy to follow and understand.Thanks for this I am sure I will be able to advance with my attempts at soloing much easier and better.

David Crane Reply

Thanks again colin!

Jack Mason Reply

As always an excellent video. Colin you make it look so easy.

Danny Carman Reply

Colin, you were right. This lesson was not what I expected. I WAS expecting the pentatonic minor scale BUT nothing like this. I was in awe. Fantastic, cool lesson. I have not seen anyone else address this approach before. Kudos.

Avatar photo
Franklin Reply

I’ve gone through all of the Academy courses and the Ultimate Blues Stage I. Excited to get my mits on Stage II. Even on some seemingly entry-intermediate level type lessons, Colin always has some pearls of wisdom or trick up the sleeve to add that I find myself working in.

Larry Hoskins Reply

Great Lesson!!! Good use of the minor Pentatonic Scale.

David Drew Reply

On a (scale) of 1 to 10 I give it a 10.
Very # not d at All.
Cheers Colin.

Jerry Carpenter Reply

Been Life Long Ninja, learning something new everyday Keep Posting Em Thanks.

Otto Mileti Reply

Thanks. I can use all the help I can get. Boy are my fingers sore.

Sylvia J. Darrow Reply

Are you taking guitar lessons? That would be great!

Al Musitano Reply

This is a scale I use often. The advantage of using the 2nd and 4th fingers near the end is that it lends itself into the Cmaj scale (which is the same but with more notes) on the 8th fret. On the other hand, I sometimes slide my 2nd finger to that 9th fret/3rd string position to allow me to play easier triplets (9t fret/3rd string, 8th and 10th frets/2nd string), etc.
This is a great video to get the beginners to break out of set patterns that will tie their hands and keep them from really setting the fretboard on fire.

Michael Metzo Reply

Good scale to use. I like the ascending leading with the ring finger and the descending with the first finger. Keeps the hand in the right position. Magic!!!

netman411 Reply

Cool sounding scale, I can see the soloing possibilities. Thanks!

Tom Ewing Reply

This is a great scale and can be applied to other keys. Is there a similar run which can be used for major pentatonic scales? Can you start on the 6th note of the minor scale?

Scott Cain Reply

Would love to check out full lesson on DVD.

Paul Tolman Reply

I saw this somewhere before but lost track of where it was. Probably a Riff Ninja video, somewhere. Thanks for showing it again! I was working on Pentatonic scales from several sources and got a bit confused as different teachers approach them a little differently. Good thing I had Jonathon's I-IV-V course. I am starting to see what everyone is doing. Some are mixing minor and major because it all crosses over.

Martin Rochford Reply

Hi everybody, from Manchester, England, great lesson Colin and I like the reference made about not having to start a solo from the tonic, something I will be using a lot more of in the future, I’ve also tried using this run on my acoustic and it works fine.

Bill Dochnahl Reply

Yes, it is so much easier and fluent to use the proper fingers for each note position. Moving up and down the fret board now opens up a whole new world of solo possibilities, versus being trapped (and bored)
in one box position. Good lesson. Thanks.

Wil Maes Reply

Hallo Doug
What i will learning is a trick how to bend strings easily or tapping. Nobody gives this a real explaniation. Yes i know it looks easy, but it is'nt. Though not for me.

Mark Miller Reply

Great video! Especially liked the part about the importance of positioning your fingers for economy of motion. At first it may seem irrelevant, but absolutely necessary if you want to attain speed in playing.

Bob Schutz Reply

Thanks. I think i saw this somewhere called the extension of the pentatonic.

Paul Brown Reply

excellent guys, so informative as usual. cheers.

Jack Mundell Reply

Thanks, this helps a lot.

Willie Pipkin Reply

very good,sounds great.!!

Guy Dent Reply

I love the way you break the lesson down. Your tips have helped my playing immensely! Thanx!!

Brad Squire Wagner Reply

Great way to look @ the scale.The learning never stops. That is what makes the guitar the greatest

John King Reply

I'm glad I learnt this scale a long time ago but I still didn't sound as good as you. It is great to see it and hear how it can sound in a video in the right hands. Its inspired me to practice even more. Cheers from Australia.

Antonio Alberto Chiari Reply

It s the best an easey scale ever know

Daniel Chatelain Reply

Great sounding riff, and easy to play and remember!

Mike Taylor Reply

LOVE THAT SHIRT! great lesson. i will learn this & do the back & forth playing u do as u go up & down the scale to add a little more dexterity to my fingers. thanx!

ozzymnb Reply

I really believe this course could help me a lot. You guys work really well together and one day bacause of you I’m gonna be playing right beside ya. Thanks for the chance guys and God bless.

David Bacon Reply

Hey Colin thanks for the cool scale. I’ve been workin on this area of the fretboard for a while now. Thanks to you I’m starting to see new patterns emerging daily. Yup my fingures are sore, but that’s pain for gain in my book. Keep shootin the videos. I may actually make enought money playin on the corner this year to afford one or two of your courses. Wouldn’t that be a great testimony for your courses… Thanks again David (Elvid Le)…

Anonymous Reply

I saw a similar scale pattern on the internet a while back. I liked it then and I like it now. There are a few differences between this one and the first one I saw, but the result is the same, you go from A to A (or whatever key you choose). It's a great pattern because it helps a person visualize the different pentatonic shapes as you go up and down the fretboard, plus it sounds sweet! Thanks for this and all of the freebie videos you put out!

George Kreiner Reply

great lesson as usual Colin… love the 3 views in your videos

Bill Reese Reply


Mark L Rushlow Reply

nice and easy, just lots of practice to poroduce the speed. Thanks Colin

james Mcdonald Reply

I think it is a great video on the scale part but also a great exercise for the fingers ,I play on an acoustic guitar and to start moving up an down the neck is also GREAT

Richard King Reply

Great scale, starting to get there!

Neville Kroeger Reply

Funny that the blues can make you feel so good ๐Ÿ™‚

Captn Kirk Reply

great lesson

A2ndpower Reply

Nice shirt, Colin! I love the pentatonic minor scale and the way you teach it. Keep the videos coming!

r mark chizek Reply

Just awesome stuff !! All of these pieces have made me so much better, even as an “old guy” at 54 !!!!

Anonymous Reply

love the guitar instruction site.i finally got the workout i needed.great blues scales.i am a blues guy so this is my thing.

Glynis Seiderer Reply

Ta muchly! I will add this to my practice routine. Very useful–I like the way you explained how to open the fretboard to three octaves.

Tina Triggiani Reply

Thanks. Really helpful.

Jay Huminsky Reply

Thanks CD! Getting better all the time with your help!

John Mollitor Reply

I like the fingering!

Anonymous Reply

I love that scale pattern. I have your Ultimate Blues-Chords course and I have learned so much in just a short time. I am looking forward to the Ultimate Blues-Scales course. Thanks for helping to better understand my guitar. Bill Tucker

Steven Stabile Reply

Contest entry

Rick Parker Reply

Pretty useful information here, even if you’ve been playing awhile!

Richard Prochowski Reply

I dig Colin's approach to teaching guitar…

james casteel Reply

great scale to add to my bag of tricks

Kevin Butler Reply

Great information! The minor pentatonic is a great "go to" in most situations. This pattern flows great!

Raymond Moreno Reply

Great idea of using what finger to use when playing scales runs. It helps instead of just learning the blues scales by themselves.

David DePoe Reply

This is a really useful lesson!

Charles Denny Reply

Usefull info. Thanks for all the help!

Blackbird Reply

Hey man I love what you are doing.
I’m don’t know the fretboard so well yet,
but your lessons help me a lot. thanks!

randy breen Reply

in the blues scale don’t you add the flatted 5th to pentatonic minor scale and/or natural 7

Elizabeth Mackie Reply

Pentatonic scales are very useful. I use a variety of positions. Im sure you cover relative minors to major keys in your course.

Chuck Buckley Reply

Great stuff. Thanks! Nice way to tie together the position moves.

Mark Baranowski Reply

I have been watching some of your videos and from what i see ,That you are very straight forward on your instruction. Very helpful great job {please keep up the good work.I can't wait to save up the money to get your beginners course. I need to be put on the rite track.

Derek Orr Reply

I liked the repetition in explaining concepts, although you can go rather quickly at times, in the Ultimate Blues Chords Course. Repetition in use of this scale should be great..

David Faust Reply

Good Video, liked it.

James Marley Reply

Thanks you for generously sharing this information. This is so helpful to a newbie blues player.

Manuel Culwell Reply

Great teaching! Props to the Riff Ninja AKA :Colin

Matthias Delay Reply

A very useful lesson. I wish I had it some decades ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰

eric Reply

thanks, never would have thunk about using that fingering.

Rob Lindsay Reply

Great instructional ideas regarding finger placement for scales. Great videos. Keep up the great work!

Gerald Douglas Tharp Reply

Thanks really great scale was using some of it in my playing last night very cool.

Joe Cunningham Reply

I need all the help i can get. Can't wait to win!

Geoff Arnold Reply

Anything that gets a body moving forward and learning more is good!

Greg Perakes Reply

As Always, the Riff Ninja exceeds expectations!
I've earned SO much through all of Jonathon and Colins lessons from Guitar Scale Patterns & I IV V. ๐Ÿ™‚

Absolutely love Colin's straightforward techniques and language…: "if you don't want to use your pinky finger, then… limit yourself". Love this! Keep up the excellent work guys!
Looking forward to your next series & lessons! ๐Ÿ™‚
You've helped prove that an old lolly dog CAN learn new Tricks! Cheers!

    Terry Hill Reply

    At my Age i ithought that it was over for me to learn new tricks but I can see
    That is not true you can teach an old dog new tricks. Keep up the good work it sure helps me
    Terry Allan age in his 60s

Raymond Allen Reply

Awesome video as always. Every time I watch one of your vids I pick up something. Thanks for all you do for the ones that haven't mastered the guitar yet'

Rebeka Karrant Reply

Thank you, Colin for another great video. Youโ€™re such a great teacher, one of the best out there in my opinion. I am really loving your Ultimate Blues Course Stage I. I liked the way you said the chords are families of harmonies! I love thinking of it that way. The open chords, bar chords, power chords, 12 bar blues, rhythm, and the perfect amount of theory from Stage I has me ready and chomping at the bit for Ultimate Blues Course Stage II. Iโ€™ll practice the pentatonic minor scale from this video to get myself ready for the rest of the course. Covering three octaves with this scale looks like a lot of fun. I canโ€™t wait to get started and I canโ€™t wait to get my hands on Stage II! I guess Iโ€™ll then be thinking of notes that are families of harmonies!

Henrik Reply


I just realized that I need lessons to develope my guitar playing teqnique. Pinky finger… Thanks, that was a really good advice.

Tony Iorio Reply

I love the Riff Ninja! Can you get any more down to earth then this guy? I started learning how to play at age 62. I just turned 69, and it’s been a great challange right from the start. This expanded scale is also very challanging to me. I’m hoping to master it so I can expand my ability to solo better. God Bless you Colin. you really inspire me!

William Ford Reply

Enjoyed the video. It gives me something new to practice with.Thanks for the help !

Winkie Mintz Reply

Thanks Colin. Very good lesson. I use this a lot when playing. It helps to always go back over the whys and hows of a scale.

Charles Mclaughlin Reply

That was very informative. Sliding to a different position is helpful, in both directions. Nice sound. Good to know-thanks.


Eric Dreczko Reply

I enjoy your short instructional videos! Easy to follow along with.

George Thompson Reply

Always fun to see a new way to tie the pieces of the puzzle together!

Frank Williams Reply

Simple, but powerful, lesson

Bob Scheetz Reply

My pinky truly is a problem I need to build more strength into using it, My pinky has a mind of it’s own. also curling of my fingers is a forgetful problem I have therefore some dead string sounds occasionally. Great info will practice harder on my strange little problems before they get to be bad habits.

Tom Dowin Reply

Many instructors out there but Colin explains it best and shows you with quality videos.

Marian Nyitrai Reply

I sure what to know my scales better!!!! Reply

Great lesson, Colin. I am still enjoying playing with the info from the Chords part of the Ultimate Blues course, and am looking forward to parts 2 & 3.

Robert Hamilton Jr. Reply

Thanks for the lesson well explained.

Pete Schofield Reply

I was trapped in a box one position once – couldn’t uncross my legs for a week!!!
Nice vids Colin very clearly explained- thanks!

Denis Deschenes Reply

Thanks Colin. Great stuff.

Denis Deschenes Reply

Colin Daniel (Riff Ninja) and Jonathan Boettcher (Play guitar) are great teachers. I am sure you would like them.

Mike Jms Reply

Great instructions I need all the help I can get

Tony Reply

Simply Incredible.

Steve Still Reply

great course, thanks

Brad Davidson Reply

Nicely done Colin, this lesson will surely help many new players get some good riffs going !

Jim Newland Reply

how awesome is that. I am already ripping threw that scales. thanks alot riff ninja

Joe Grimshaw Reply

Useful as the building block of all other scales, great stuff.

Bill Reply

I have been using this one forever it is a good one but I would like to see what you have for more advanced players.

John O'Connor Reply

I’ve recently been interested in learning more about scales, so found your lesson very inspiring. I’ve gone through your Stage 1 course a couple of times and, while I haven’t got it all mastered yet, I feel it has helped me immensely. I’m sure that the “scale” seeds have been planted by your great teaching technique and I’m looking forward to Stage 2. You video is a great intro and motivation for moving forward.
John O’Connor (Iowa)

RandyT Reply

Thanks for the lessons! I always pick up something new.

Avatar photo
Paul O'Blenes Reply

I’ve been going through your first Blues course on chords over and over again. Love it. Colin, I will be collecting all of your Blues DVDs courses. You are an amazing teacher and has huge patience. I also have Jonathan’s courses too. Between the two of you I need no other teachers. Thanks to both!!!! Paul

James Engstrand Reply

Never have been a blues person but this is for fun than I have had in a long time.

giles washbourn Reply

Simple , smooth and very powerful. Covers most tunes and is a great piece of work.

Marilyn Schmitt Reply

Marilyn Schmitt: Nicely done. Very clear directions and demonstration!

Ita Rabinowitz Reply

Thanks for making this available without Facebook!
This is what I have been working on lately – scales, scales, scales! With a very limited practice time, I decided to focus – and I have been through all the pentatonic, major and minor scales in the past couple months. Now I am starting to work on the “solo” pattern. (But also continuing to practice the others and apply them!)
Great timing!

Keith Gerber Reply

I need something to help me advance from where I have been terminally stuck. I have ordered many videos that promise learning but none if it seems to take root. I hope this will help.

Daniel Spencer Reply

Thanks for the lesson

Fran Gomes Reply

I learned quite a bit from the video. I only know the simple box diagram, but Colin’s teaching makes sense.

Pj Reply

Great lesson Colin! Three octaves are clearly better than one ๐Ÿ™‚ Good explanation of how to move to different positions on the fret board smoothly. Thanks!

Bill Brummett Reply

Can't wait to try this. Thanks for the great lesson.

Michael K Spencer Reply

Looks like a good series

Mar Thorsteinson Reply

Awesome! thanks so much for this

Dean Smith Reply

wow very cool . Like how you connected the pentatonic patterns

glo Reply

Thank you for all the are so basic aand explain everything do well
this is easy to grasp..appreciate very much.

Kathy Morris Reply

Dear "Riff Ninja" …. Thanks for all you give to the "guitar" community! I love your style. Keep it coming! Love ya!! You are classy!!!

Mike Bright Reply

You are so right Bill. Scales are predominantly for learning your way around the guitar and mastering technique. At some point, if you really want to move ahead, using the correct fingering becomes essential. There are a lot of really good teachers on You Tube and they all stress that the last thing you want is for your soloing to sound like you're playing scales. Scales are an exercise for the reasons you mentioned; they are not for soloing; rather, they are a means to having the fundamentals under your fingers (forgive the pun) so you will have the proper knowledge and technique when you're ready to start learning how to solo. Good luck to you and everyone else out there in the future. This is all so much fun.

Rick Martindale Reply

Great stuff. Keep it coming.

Cresswell Reply

Hi Colin this is really amazing scale you can play from the 3rd to 8th fret which almost covers all the sweet spots on the guitar while soloing. Mostly its like a moving pattern which would work out lovely solos when hammer on and pull off added to the scale. This is really a perfect lesson for anyone who wants to learn lead guitar I would really practise this scale in all keys to be better at soloing and its going to great!!.

Thank you so much Colin for the free lesson you just cleared allot confusion.

Karen Goransrud Reply

I would so very much love to win a copy of this course. I am a new player and would love to learn from the best! – Karen

Mark Smith Reply

Another useful lesson
These little bite size chunks of wisdom keep me interested with new things to practice while providing some sense of achievement

brendan kennedy Reply

I enjoy listening to you talk about the guitar. I have been working hard at seeing the guitar neck in its entirety. A good friend has been helping me to settle down and take the time to understand where I am on the neck. What is the tonal center? where am I going next as related to the chord I am resolving to. You filled in another piece on the upper extension I hadn’t seen before. thanx.

Mark E Twang Reply


Zach Reply

I look forward to learning more from you from each email. I continue to re watch the I-IV-V and scale lessons I have purchased learning more each time. You teach incredible in video as if it were one on one. I thank you for helping me understand theory as it applies to my guitar. It has definitely given me music.

Alan Doeg Reply

Looks like a great lesson as do they all!

dave Reply

OK NOT too hard

Philip Brady Reply


Donald Richards Reply

Simple enough but opens the door for so much more

Earl Buice Reply

Great lesson Colin! thanks so much for all you do to help us!

John Fitch Sr Reply

still practicing it, great one to know

randy Reply

i like to add the blue note the flatted fifth and or the natural 7

Michael Edwards Reply

I need this!!!

George Bass Reply

Been playing for two years. Learned open chords, most barre chords. Working on scales. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Marnie D. Robbins Reply

Thanks for the excellent lesson!

Jay Dugan Reply

Great exercise, very versatile scale. Can also be played as a sliding scale. Thanks Colin

Gary Malinowski Reply

Great Run sounds good! Thanks a bunch.

Scott Reid Reply

Another awesome lesson Colin. I love the shifting trick up the neck. Before, I played everything in first position. Now, I’m moving up the neck to.

Avatar photo
Don Tittle Reply

Great lesson! I always learn great stuff from you Colin & you lay it out so well. As you say, practice, practice, practice, right.

Ellen Perry Reply

I love this scale. Thanks for showing it to all of us. It is done so clearly even a raw beginner like myself can learn it. I've only been learning for 6 months my problem is I want to learn everything fast. Always seem to be forcing myself to slow down. Scales seem to me to be the way to go. Thanks again.

George B Hughes Reply

Have several of Colin’s DVDs and books which I prefer over the download. The rewind is essential for the musically challenge such as myself. Clear explanations and clear demonstrations facilates the learning in a way unmatched by other teachers. Keep the lessons coming Colin. I do wish some songs were compleat rather than having to attempt to piece them together which I find difficult at my level. Next DVD maybe after the blues sequence?

Ted Cefalu Reply

Pretty cool. I've been fumbling around for years. Now It's time to get serious and learn these patterns.

Brock Young Reply

I would love to win a copy of Colin's ULTIMATE BLUES: SCALES. I have learned SOOO much from you and Jonathan, Colin, and a Scales Course would really help my guitar knowledge. Plus I know the content will be top notch.

Darrell Kotrbe Reply

is it movable like any diatonic scale??

Richard Ramirez Reply

Musicians hide behind their instrument in order to expose themselves.

Roger Poindexter Reply

love this scale , I know it forwards and backwards. still have trouble making it not sound like practicing a scale

Brock Young Reply

That is very well thought out and to the point. If you play a thimble, you are hurting. Great line!!

Gerard Mooney Reply

great stuff lads,top drawer,I find both Colin and Jonathan’s videos very helpful.

Joseph Parlatore Reply

Nice way to learn notes on fretboard and to make great solos using tonic and m7 scale

Mickey Sortino Reply

This is a nice little enhancement to the standard A-minor pentatonic, and I will spend some time practicing it. I will be ecstatic if I can make it sound even close to the video.

Ram Mohan Nair Reply

wow-really scalyand bluesy.great to work ha

Frederick Wayne Richard Reply

I am always amazed every time I watch one of your videos. At times I have to rewind to make sure I get it right. You have helped me an awful lot.

Robert Mansfield Reply

Colin, I find myself using your Ultimate Blues Scale all the time in accordance with whatever basic" not I am following. I find my self concocting solos quite easily but I do seem to be soloing all the time throughout a backing track. Any advice for me on reducing the soloing. I have only been playing blues for a month and the guitar for 4 months.I do seem to be running before I can walk and it is quite exhausting.

Anonymous Reply

WOW, I've been practicing & practicing trying to learn scales, you just opened my eyes on how easy they are, not complicated. Wish I weren't on a fixed income. THANKS Man

Ellen Perry Reply

very clear video thanks

Leave a Reply:

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.