Dominant 7th arpeggios | Free guitar lesson w/ patterns and fingerings
What is an arpeggio ?
An arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played one by one, it is a chord played like a scale. This technique is easy to learn and widely used in jazz and western music it helps you to create fluid and clear lines over specific chords.
Dominant seventh arpeggios are built with :
- Root (1)
- Major third (3)
- Fifth (5)
- Minor seventh (b7)
You can see that the G7 chord has the same notes as the G7 arpeggio. It contains a root (1) (G), a major third (3) (B), a perfect fifth (D) (5) and a minor seventh (F) (b7). You can play that kind of arpeggio over any dominant 7th chord.
The basic use of arpeggios is to play each one over its corresponding chord, let's take an example over a C major II-V-I sequence :
The chord progression will be Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | % |. Which means that we will play a D minor 7th arpeggio over the Dm7 chord, a G dominant 7th arpeggio over the G7 chord and a C major seventh arpeggio over the CM7.
Why this progression ? because it's the most played chord progression in jazz music so a useful example.
Related scale - Secondary arpeggios - Extensions
You can also add extensions as 9th, 11th and 13th to the dominant 7th arpeggios. In case you haven't heard dominant 7th arpeggios are related to the dominant seventh scale in other words the mixolydian mode. This mode is built with : root (1), second (2), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7). This is the scale to apply to dominant 7th chords. As it is explained above, to get a dominant 7th arpeggio from this mode, you must play the root, the minor third, the fifth and the minor seventh. Here is an example with the G mixolydian mode.
|G mixolydian mode||G||A||B||C||D||E||F|
|Formula||1||2 (9)||3||4 (11)||5||6 (13)||b7|
|G dominant 7 th arpeggio||1||X||3||X||5||X||b7|
|G dominant 9 th arpeggio||1||2 (9)||3||X||5||X||b7|
|G dominant 11 th arpeggio||1||2 (9)||3||4 (11)||5||X||b7|
|G dominant13 th arpeggio||1||2 (9)||3||4 (11)||5||6 (13)||b7|
Now that you understand the principle, you are able to build dominant seventh arpeggios in any key. It's time to extand your arpeggios with the ninth (9), the eleventh (11) and the thirteenth (13), respectively the second, fourth and sixth of the dominant scale above. That means for example that the G dominant ninth arpeggio is made up of five notes which are G (1), B (3), D (5), F(b7) and A (9). Do not hesitate to develop this technique in twelve key and in any location on the guitar.
Other related dominant scales
The Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale. It contain a b2, a b6 and a b7.
|G Phrygian dominant scale||G||Ab||B||C||D||Eb||F|
|Formula||1||b2 (b9)||3||4||5||b6 (b13)||b7|
|Intervals||H||W + H||H||W||H||W||W|
The Lydian dominant scale is the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale.
|F lydian dominant scale||F||G||A||B||C||D||Eb|
|Formula||1||2 (9)||3||#4 (#11)||5||6 (13)||b7|
The mixolydian b13 scale is the fifth mode of the melodic minor scale.
|G mixolydian b13||G||A||B||C||D||Eb||F|
The dominant bebop scale is an eight notes scale.
|G Dominant bebop scale||G||A||B||C||D||E||F||F#|
Dominant seventh arpeggio | Pattern 1 and fingerings
Here is a basic dominant seventh arpeggio guitar pattern with fingerings.
For example, to play a G dominant 7th arpeggio starting on the lower root "R" with this suggested pattern, just put your second finger on the sixth string at the third fret.
Notice that there is three roots, two thirds, two fifths and two sevenths in the first diagram.
The second diagram shows you which finger to use.
Playing the corresponding chord after or before these arpeggios is a good way to bring them together.
If you play arpeggios for the first time it is recommended to play them by starting on the root "R". This way you will hear them correctly.
Pattern 1 w/ intervals. Roots on the sixth, fourth and first string.
Pattern 1 w/ fingerings
Dominant seventh arpeggio | Pattern 2 and fingerings
This second pattern has its roots on the fifth and the third string.
To play a G dominant 7th arpeggio you have to put your second finger on the fifth string at the tenth fret.
This pattern is made up of two roots (R), two major thirds (3), three perfect fifth (5) and three minor seventh (b7).
Pattern 2 w/ intervals. Roots on the fifth and third string.
Pattern 2 w/ fingerings
Dominant seventh arpeggio | Diagonal pattern 3 and fingerings
Here is another dominant 7th pattern to practice diagonal playing.
To play a G7 arpeggio starting on the lower root (R) just put your second finger on the sixth string at the third fret.
Unlike the previous "position patterns" you will have to slide with your second finger from the b7 to the root and slide once again with your third finger.
It's important to play these patterns ascending and descending.
Pattern 3 w/ intervals. Diagonal playing. Roots on the sixth, fourth and third string.
Pattern 3 w/ fingerings
II-V jazz guitar line | Dorian mode | Dominant 7th arpeggio
Here is a short II | V jazz guitar line using a G dominant 7th arpeggio.
- Measure 1 : D dorian mode starting on the root with a passing tone (A#) between the fifth of Dm7 (A) and the major third of G7 (B).
- Measure 2 : G dominant 7th arpeggio starting on the major third (B) with another passing tone (A#) to approach the major third.
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Last edited: 08/08/2017