The Leads Are Weak

THE LEADS ARE WEAK: BLUE BOX MAC AND CHEESE

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The Leads Are Weak - Tony Sannicandro of Job For A Cowboy

I’ve got the blue box blues. I just ate a box of mac and cheese, the kind that comes in that familiar blue box with the little baggie of cheese dust that magically becomes the nectar of the pot gods when introduced to the very sexy milk and her fatter friend butter. I love macaroni and cheese. If you don’t like it, we aren’t friends. Anyway, on to another kind of “blue box blues,” the very familiar and versatile scale that all guitarists know but don’t use frequently enough.

The blues scale is one of the first scales all players in rock learn shortly after abusing the fuck out of the familiar and similar minor pentatonic box pattern. The one extra note in the blues scale adds a greasy texture that’s basically the equivalent of adding hamburger meat to your mac and cheese, giving it that extra substance that makes it that much tastier. I got into this scale as a metal player from listening to Dimebag use it a ton and really making it work effectively against metal.

In addition to the Dime and Lynch and Gilbert licks that I like to mess around with, I love using the blues scale to get around the fretboard and connect different scales and patterns together in a cool musical way that’s a little meaner than just using chromatic passing tones. I like to use chunks of this scale to float between minor and diminished scales, as the blues note (the b5 or #4) makes it easy to accomplish. (I can talk about that more in a future issue.)

It’s also really easy to cover a lot of ground on the fretboard and move laterally with ease using this scale, and its flavor is cool to weave around. Below are three patterns in A: the first is the usual fifth position, the second is moving towards the nut, and the third is a three-note-per-string stretch lick ala Dime that tasks you up into the abyss. Fuck around with this scale and use it in the context of other scales to imply some attitude. Use it to get around the way our shredder forefathers did, before we were tapping on 8-strings tuned to H.

(click to enlarge)

I’m hungry.

– Tony Sannicandro / Job For A Cowboy

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