Skip to content →

How to Dorian-Up a Blues

Last updated on June 11, 2020

The Dorian scale makes for an interesting twist you can use in a 12-bar blues. Yes, that’s right, you can use the Dorian scale over the I and IV chords of your average 12-bar blues and it’ll sound pretty cool.

Let’s take a look at how this works over a blues in E.

In the diagrams below, I’ve superimposed the E Dorian scale over the I and IV chords, which are E9 (E13) and A13, though they could just as easily be E7 and A7. What I want you to notice here is how the Dorian scale brings out extensions such as the 9, 11, and 13 (2, 4, and 6 respectively in the diagram), which will give your lines a more sophisticated jazzy flavor with the added bonus that you don’t have to change scales until you get to the V chord!

Let’s break this down a little more.

Over the E9
So, over the E9 the Dorian scale gives us 1, 2 (9), b3, 4 (11), 5, 6 (13), and b7. You might be thinking that the b3 in the Dorian scale will clash with the 3 in the chord, but if you’ve ever played a minor pentatonic scale over a blues, you know this will work if you bring out those bluesy bends on that b3, just as you would with the minor pentatonic scale. The 9, 11, and 13 allow you to imply their respective chords (E9, E11, and E13).

dorian scale blues

Over the A13
When the progression goes to the IV chord, we stick with the E Dorian scale only now it allows us to bring out a different set of intervals relative to A.

dorian scale blues

We have all the chord tones in there from A7, A11, and A13, which means you can really milk the Dorian scale over all these chords in a blues, or imply them if you’re playing an A7. We can now play the 3 because it’s in the chord, which will contrast nicely with the bluesy b3 bends you were doing over the I chord.

READ NEXT  A Different Take on the Dorian Mode

I’ll leave it up to you as to what you do over the V chord (B7) and if you want to see just how versatile the Dorian scale can be, we’ve created an entire improvisation system around it, which you can check out here.

dorian blues

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Xrp
  • Bitcoin cash
  • Litecoin
  • Monero
Scan to Donate Bitcoin to 3QMnkUCnDpurBQhgawmnnJWXhmjBrRdWCH

Support us by donating some Bitcoin to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin

Scan to Donate Ethereum to 0xce9ddc43f3fd81074652991d161be37cc641da66

Support us by donating some Ethereum to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Ethereum

Scan to Donate Xrp to rLSn6Z3T8uCxbcd1oxwfGQN1Fdn5CyGujK

Support us by donating some Xrp to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Xrp

Tag/Note:- 72456821
Scan to Donate Bitcoin cash to 35DvF8RMKbKnufPd4yKdAAKNt3quCvn4GK

Support us by donating some Bitcoin cash to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Bitcoin cash

Scan to Donate Litecoin to MMxEJDz5MWiw2WGftJLPApTSjSoXnJtXtM

Support us by donating some Litecoin to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Litecoin

Scan to Donate Monero to 86PdJ1NeZGs5qqswEdv8soNWTBFyoK3oY7y4dW9QTqGRcHLg5JvtZTmKLj3RVi3gqscMosHqbUxtzYbntZB33kxwB3zkYo7

Support us by donating some Monero to this site

Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Monero

Published in Blues Blues Soloing Dorian Mode Jazz Blues Modes

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *