Dominant 7th Arpeggios | Guitar Lesson with Patterns and Shapes

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 is a nice device 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). 

G7 chord G B D F
G7 arpeggio G B D F
Formula 1 3 5 b7

 

The basic use of an arpeggio is to play it over its corresponding chord, let's take an example with a C major II-V-I sequence :

The chord progression will be Dm7 | G7 | CM7 | % |. That means that we will be playing 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. 

Related scale - Secondary arpeggios - Extensions

You can add extensions as 9th, 11th and 13th to any dominant 7th arpeggios. Dominant 7th arpeggios are related to the dominant seventh scale also called Mixolydian mode. It is built with :  root (1), second (2), minor third (b3), perfect fourth (4), perfect fifth (5), sixth (6) and minor seventh (b7). The Mixolydian mode is one of the most obvious choice to use when improvising over 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. 

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 should be able to build dominant seventh arpeggios in any key. You could even try to extend these 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 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).

Related dominant scales

You can build arpeggios from many other modes :

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
Intervals W W W H W H W

 

The Mixolydian b13 scale is the fifth mode of the melodic minor scale.

G mixolydian b13 G A B C D Eb F
Formula 1 2 3 4 5 b6 7
Intervals W W H W H W W

 

The dominant bebop scale is an eight notes scale.

G Dominant bebop scale G A B C D E F F#
Formula 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 7
Intervals W W H W W H H H

 

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 are three root notes, 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.

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 1

Pattern 1 w/ fingerings

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 1 fingering

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.

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 2

Pattern 2 w/ fingerings

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 2 fingering

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.

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 3

Pattern 3 w/ fingerings

Dominant 7th guitar arpeggio pattern 3 fingering

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.

Dominant 7th arpeggio jazz guitar lick with tab

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Last edited: 26/05/2018