Meat and Potatoes Scales and Arpeggios

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Zack Uidl

Zack Uidl

Zack Uidl is a professional guitarist, instructor and composer.

Conklin 8-string

A minor blues scale box shapes for 8 string guitar

The manufacturers recommended tuning for an eight string guitar is F# B E A D G B E - which is designed to allow power chords (F#5, G5, A5 etc.) to be played on the 8th and 7th string pair. As the F# on the eighth string is the same pitch as the note on E string of a 4-string bass at fret 2 the results can be pretty dire and you will definitely be stepping on the bass players toes. So why not tune up a further semi-tone (half-step) to G?

Tuning to G has the advantage that strings 8, 7 and 6 (G, B, E) will now all be exactly two octaves lower than strings 3, 2 and 1 (G, B, E) - plus all the scales, arpeggios and chords located on strings 1, 2 and 3 will now be directly transferrable onto strings 6, 7 and 8 respectively.

The other alternative tuning for an 8-string B E A D G B E A - where you have a 6-string guitar with an extra treble string tuned to A and an extra bass string tuned to B - has the disadvantage that the 8 string cannot be played as a standard guitar for chords using only strings 1 to 6. The reason being is that the high A string throws a spanner in the works. Hence the CAGED octaves recommended tuning for an 8-string guitar is as follows:-

String No.


















The disguised CAGED octaves method for the A minor blues scale on 8-string guitar now follows:-

ZZZZZ octaves logo

The 8-string guitar CAGED octaves sequence is shown for A natural in the diagram that follows:-

ZZZZZ octaves A natural

GuitarPro6 A natural octaves

The diagram that follows shows all of the A minor blues scale notes plotted over the 8-string guitar's fretboard in the CAGED octaves style:-

ZZZZZ octaves A minor blues scale notes

GuitarPro6 A minor blues scale

NOTE:- The GuitarPro6 fingerboard shows E's enharmonic equivalent spelling D# (the augmented fourth interval name rather than the diminished fifth used elsewhere on this page).

As always a more long term solution to fretboard navigation is to see scales/arpeggios as INTERVAL shapes rather than note names - as these are universal to all scales, arpeggios and chords rather than specific to one particular root note - with this in mind the intervals for the A minor blues scale are detailed below for the
8-string guitar in the CAGED octaves manner:-

ZZZZZ octaves a minor blues scale notes

The table and tabbed panel below details all five box shapes for the A minor blues scale for the
8-string guitar in the CAGED octaves style.

8-string guitar A minor blues scale box shapes

YouTube icon

Flash iconGuitar Pro 6 icon

8Zm5Zm3 pdf
8Zm6Zm3Zm1 pdf
6Zm4Zm1 pdf
7Zm4Zm2 pdf
7Zm5Zm2 pdf
8Zm5Zm3 at 12 pdf

  • 8Zm5Zm3
  • 8Zm6Zm3Zm1
  • 6Zm4Zm1
  • 7Zm4Zm2
  • 7Zm5Zm2
  • 8Zm5Zm3 at 12

GuitarPro6 8Zm5Zm3

GuitarPro6 8Zm6Zm3Zm1

GuitarPro6 6Zm4Zm1

GuitarPro6 7Zm4Zm2

GuitarPro6 7Zm5Zm2

GuitarPro6 8Zm5Zm3 at 12

  • 8Zm5Zm3
  • 8Zm6Zm3Zm1
  • 6Zm4Zm1
  • 7Zm4Zm2
  • 7Zm5Zm2
  • 8Zm5Zm3 at 12

8Zm5Zm3 box

8Zm6Zm3Zm1 box

6Zm4Zm1 box

7Zm4Zm2 box

7Zm5Zm2 box

8Zm5Zm3 box at 12

Once the individual box shapes have been assimilated all five shapes should be linked together and played in one continuous exercise (with the first shape - 8Zm5Zm3 - being repeated at the 12th fret).

The video shown to the right demonstrates the CAGED octaves chain-linked sequence for the A minor blues scale box shapes.

The complete TAB for the previous exercise follows:-

A minor blues scale TAB

The box shapes for the previous exercise follow:-

A minor blues scale box shapes

Flash iconGuitar Pro 6 icon

A minor blues scale box shapes pdf

A minor blues scale TABA minor blues scale TAB

Zack Uidl

Disillusion Theory ..............Zon Brookes


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