If you have taken the initiative to learn all five positions of the the pentatonic scale, then you probably want to know how to play a blues riff on the guitar. In addition to the scale variations, there are just a few more things you will need to learn. As soon as you master those new skills, you will know how to play a blues riff on the guitar like you have been doing it all your life.
- Learn blue notes. When playing the pentatonic scales, a blue note is the flattened third note or seventh note that falls in between the notes you normally play on each string. In the first pentatonic position, for example, the notes played on the A and D strings are spaced two frets apart. In order to play the blue note, simply add the note in between these two notes to the scale itself. This is the blue note, and you will need to use it if you want to know how to play a blues riff on the guitar. Be careful not to play the note a whole step up from the blue note, or you will just sound sharp.
- Practice using blue notes. When you have located the blue notes in your scale, practice your pentatonic scales as you would normally, adding in blue notes to give the scale more of a blues flavor. This will help you develop the ability to play a blues riff. Be sure to practice with blue notes often so that it becomes second nature to include them in your guitar scales.
- Improvise with blue notes. Now that you have some practice playing blue notes, use them while improvising over a simple three-chord or four-chord progression. That first new riff you create while improvising will be a blues riff because it included the blue notes you have been practicing. Now you know how to play a blues riff on the guitar, and you can create as many new ones as you like.