E Walking Blues – Key of E. Chords are E5-A5-B5

This jam is in the key of E and it’s a I-IV-V 12-Bar blues progression. E is the I chord, A is the IV chord, and B is the V chord. The turnaround is on the V chord, B. This is a very standard blues progression that you probably have heard many times. Know the sounds of these rhythms, as when you hear them it will automatically trigger certain soloing avenues.

The first thing to note about this jam is that it is a major I-IV-V blues progression. Even though the chords used are 5th chords, which only have roots and fifths, they are still considered major in this progression. They are embellished with the 6th intervals. Soon you will get used to hearing these I-IV-V blues type progressions and will able to identify them immediately.

These very common blues progressions, shuffles, and swings will point you toward very definite lead guitar avenues. These are wide open for many different soloing options.

What Relates to all the chords:

There are many have avenues here so a lot will depend on your playing style and what type of mood or sound you want to create. Try some of these:

For that bluesy minor sound try E Minor Pentatonic & Blues over all the chords. Minor Pentatonic & Blues sounds great over major key blues progressions:

E Minor Pentatonic = E, G, A, B, D

For that sweet major sound try E Major Pentatonic over all the chords. Remember that for any major key jam you can use Major Pentatonic over all the chords This will give you that sweet major bluesy sound that is quite different than the above minor sound:

E Major Pentatonic = E, F#, G#, B, C#

E Major Pentatonic is the same as C# Minor Pentatonic. E Major and C# Minor are relative major and minor and contain the same notes:

E Major Pentatonic = E, F#, G#, B, C#

C# Minor Pentatonic = C#, E, F#, G#, B

(Same notes – just emphasize the root of the mode, E.)

If you think more in terms of Minor Pentatonic or just know those shapes then play all your C# Minor Pentatonic scales, but start on and emphasize the E notes and it will be E Major Pentatonic and have that real major happy sweet sound.

Try E Dorian over all the chords. Because we know that both Major Pentatonic & Minor Pentatonic will work, we then know that the Dorian mode will also work. Dorian is considered more of a minor mode, but works great over major key I-IV-V blues, swings, and shuffle progressions.

Dorian has the minor elements in it (b3, b7) but also has some major elements, (2nd, 6th). So in these blues progressions the Dorian mode will give you that hybrid kind of minor/major sounds as it combines the elements of both minor and major.

Dorian Mode = 1, 2, b3, 4, 5, 6, b7

Dorian is the 2nd mode in any major key. To determine E Dorian ask what major scales’ 2nd note is an E? The answer is D. So E Dorian is the same as D major:

E Dorian = E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

D major = D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#

(Same notes – just emphasize the root of the mode, E.)

To play in E Dorian just play all your D major scales but start on and emphasize the E notes. Try resolving your licks focusing on those D notes to bring out that minor Dorian tonality.

Try mixing E Minor Pentatonic & Blues, E Major Pentatonic , as well as E Dorian over all the chords for some killer sounds. Notice how going back and forth from the five note pentatonics to the seven note diatonic scales can be quite refreshing.

Treat each chord like a separate event:

In this jam the chords are moving pretty slow so you have a lot of time on each chord. This is perfect for treating each chord as a separate event. Remember to listen to the rhythm and time your changes so you change your scale or landing notes as the chords change.

Try moving Minor Pentatonic & Blues over each chord. Play E Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the E chord and then try A Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the A chord, and then B Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the B chord.

Try moving Major Pentatonic scales over each chord. Play E Major Pentatonic over the E chord, and then try A Major Pentatonic over the A chord and B Major Pentatonic over the B chord.

Try mixing up the above Minor Pentatonic and Major Pentatonic over each chord. This is a very cool technique that many blues players like BB King often utilize.

Play E Major Pentatonic over the E chord and then switch to E Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the A chord. Then try Major Pentatonic over the B chord. Listen to how well this technique outlines and implies the chord changes. Mix this up a bit, maybe the next time around the progression try Minor Pentatonic & Blues over the B chord. Try it out and get creative with it!

Try moving the Dorian mode over each chord. Because the rhythm of this jam is embellished with the 6th and b7th off the E and A chords, Dorian again is a perfect choice as those intervals are in the Dorian mode, (1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7).

Play E Dorian, (=D major), over the E chord, A Dorian, (=G major), over the A chord and B Dorian, (=A major), over the B chord. Get creative and get lost in the track!

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