Expand Your Melodic Colors with 9th Arpeggios

(Image credit: Cindy Moorhead)

When learning how to play jazz guitar, many of us know it is important to use arpeggios to outline chords in our licks, phrases, melody lines and solos. While we know learning arpeggios is important, we often can become bored with our playing if we stick to only using root-position, R-3-5-7 arpeggios to build our licks and melodies. 

A great way to keep that solid, chord outline in your lines that arpeggios provide, while adding a bit of harmonic color to your ideas, is to learn five-note, 9th Arpeggios. By adding the 9th to the 1-octave arpeggios you already know, you won’t have to start from scratch when learning these five-note shapes, and the 9th will bring a welcomed color tone to your arpeggio-based soloing ideas. In today’s lesson, we’ll be exploring two common fingerings for 9th Arpeggios applied to a ii v I chord progression, as well as explore a classic lick in this style and check out ways to practice these ideas further in the woodshed. 

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Matt Warnock is the owner of mattwarnockguitar.com, a free website that provides hundreds of lessons and resources designed to help guitarists of all experience levels meet their practice and performance goals. Matt lives in the UK, where he teaches Skype guitar students all over the world, and is an examiner for the London College of Music (Registry of Guitar Tutors).