In this lesson, we are going to expand on my previous lesson—"How to Seamlessly Play Arpeggios Over Three Octaves"—and add the chord’s 7th degree to the arpeggios. Not only will this lesson help expand your musical vocabulary, but it may also change how you visualize and navigate the fretboard.
The six strings of the guitar can be looked at as three pairs of strings. The first pair being the low E and A strings. The second pair being the “middle” D and G strings, and the third pair being the B and high E strings.
Whatever pattern of notes you play on the first pair of strings, you can repeat an octave higher by simply performing the same thing on the next pair of strings, however two frets higher. You can do it again, another octave higher by performing the same thing on the next pair of strings, albeit three frets higher up the neck than before.
In this lesson, we will do this with the 7th chord arpeggios: Major 7th, minor 7th, Dominant 7th, and half-diminished 7th chord (also known as a minor 7th/flat 5).
The G Major 7th arpeggio looks like:
The G minor 7th arpeggio looks like:
The G Dominant 7th arpeggio looks like:
and the G half-diminished arpeggio looks like:
Once your get these shapes under your fingers, it is a great idea to practice them in a musical context. We will be in the key of G Major, yielding these chords to arpeggiate:
G Major 7th
A minor 7th
B minor 7th
C Major 7th
D Dominant 7th
E minor 7th
Make sure to practice these slowly, with alternate picking, transitioning from octave to octave by simply moving your whole hand up the neck, keeping the ‘shape’ of the arpeggio in your fingers.
Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a solo artist, session musician, composer and educator. He's the author of Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. Adrian uses SIT Strings, Seymour Duncan pickups and effects, Brian Moore guitars, Voodoo Labs, D'Angelico guitars and Morley pedals. For more information, visit AdrianGalysh.com.