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7th Arpeggios on Guitar

Just like 7th chords, 7th arpeggios contain four notes. All we're doing is adding an extra note to the major and minor triads (3 notes) we learned previously. This provides us with a fuller arpeggio sound that can be used to extend the basic major or minor sounds.

This lesson will add to what we learned in the guitar arpeggios series (so make sure you're confident with the lessons before this one).

As we're simply adding to the major and minor triad forms we learned in the other parts, we don't have to learn new arpeggio fingerings from scratch. We may just have to alter them slightly to accomodate this new 7th interval.

Before we take a look at some patterns, watch the video below for an introduction to the basic theory behind distinguishing the different types of 7th we can use in our major and minor solos...

So, there are different types of 7th chord and their arpeggio equivalents use exactly the same intervals/tones. Where there's a chord, there's an arpeggio.

Major 7th arpeggio patterns

Root (1) - major 3rd (3) - 5th (5) - major 7th (7)

The major 7th tone lies one semitone (one fret) down from the root. So, wherever our root note is, we know the major 7th will sit just below it!

Major 7th arpeggios can be played over major 7th chords or regular major triad chords. For now, just play the arpeggios and get to know the sound they create.

E/D string root patterns

E string major 7th arpeggio pattern

wide E string maj7 arpeggio

A string root patterns

A string root major 7th arpeggio

maj7 arpeggio on A string

major 7 arpeggio pattern with root on A string

Note: if you want a more interactive (and entertaining!) way to learn arpeggios across the fretboard, I highly recommend Guitar Notes Master.

Dominant 7th arpeggio patterns

Root (1) - major 3rd (3) - 5th (5) - flat 7th (b7)

When you've learned the major 7th patterns, for dominant 7th all you need to do is move the 7th down one semitone/fret. As a result, this is known as a flat 7th or minor 7th (b7).

Dominant seventh arpeggios can be played over... yes you guessed it - dominant 7th chords or regular major triad chords (chords without any 7th).

Remember, you don't have to start these patterns on the lowest root string. You can use any part of the pattern to create, for example, smaller 2 and 3 string patterns.

E/D string root patterns

dominant 7th arpeggio pattern on E string

7th arpeggio on E string

A string root patterns

A string root dominant 7th arpeggio

A string dominat 7 arpeggio pattern

dominant 7th arpeggio on A string

Minor 7th arpeggio patterns

Root (1) - minor 3rd (b3) - 5th (5) - flat 7th (b7)

Similar concept to above, but this time the flat 7th is built on the minor triad patterns we learned previously.

Minor 7th arpeggios can therefore be played over minor 7th chords or used to extend regular minor triad chords (which don't use the 7th).

E/D string root patterns

E string root minor 7th arpeggio

minor 7th arpeggio pattern

A string root patterns

A string root minor 7 arpeggio

minor 7th arpeggio rooted on A string

D string root patterns

D string minor 7th arpeggio

Now you know the main arpeggio patterns, try applying them over the different 7th chords you come across. Use them as lead-ins to larger scale phrases. Arpeggios are great for "connecting" lead phrases and because they only include the main chord intervals, they can help put any larger phrases and passing tones into context.

Remember, you don't have to use the 5 and 6 string arp patterns. even just repeating 2 or 3 string arps can give your solos enough flavour. We'll look at inventive ways to apply arpeggios in your solos in another part. For now, just work on getting physically comfortable with playing these patterns in part and full.

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