Half diminished arpeggios - m7b5 | Free guitar lesson | Patterns, diagrams & fingerings
What's 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 very used in jazz and western music. It helps you to create fluid and clear lines over specific chords. The main arpeggios used in jazz music are minor seventh arpeggios, major seventh, dominant 7th, diminished and augmented.
Half-diminished seventh arpeggios :
Also called m7b5 arpeggio the half diminished arpeggio contains four notes :
- Root (1)
- Minor third (b3)
- Diminished fifth (b5)
- Minor seventh (b7)
Let's take a look at the example below about the Bm7b5 chord (B minor 7 flat 5).
Related scales and modes
Half diminished arpeggios are related to half diminished scales as the locrian mode, which is the seventh mode of the major scale, the locrian 13 or (locrian 6) the second mode of the harmonic minor scale and the locrian #2 mode which is the sixth mode of the melodic minor scale.
|B locrian mode||B||C||D||E||F||G||A|
|B locrian 13 mode||B||C||D||E||F||G#||A|
|B locrian #2 mode||B||C#||D||E||F||G||A|
|B half diminished arpeggio||B||X||D||X||F||X||A|
Half diminished arpeggio | Pattern 1 and fingerings
Here is a half diminished guitar arpeggio with fretboard diagrams and fingerings.
To play a Bm7b5 arpeggio starting on the lowest root "R" you must put your first finger on the sixth string at the seventh fret.
There are three roots, two minor thirds, two diminished fifths and two minor sevenths in this first pattern.
The second diagram shows you how to place your fingers.
Playing the corresponding chord after or before these arpeggios is a nice 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.
Remember that the root is the most important note, it gives its name to the scale.
Pattern 1 w/ intervals. Roots on the sixth, fourth and first string.
Pattern 1 w/ fingerings
Half diminished arpeggio | Pattern 2 and fingerings
Here are 2 other half diminished arpeggios guitar diagrams.
To play a Bm7b5 arpeggio starting on the lower root "R" you have to place your first finger on the fifth string at the second fret.
This one is made up of two roots (R), two minor thirds (b3), three diminished fifth (b5) and three minor seventh (b7).
Pattern 2 w/ intervals. Roots on the fifth and third string.
Pattern 2 w/ fingerings
Half diminished arpeggio | Pattern 3 and fingerings | Diagonal playing
Here is another half diminished arpeggio pattern to practice diagonal playing.
To play a Bm7b5 arpeggio starting with the lowest root (R) you have to put your first finger on the sixth string at the seventh fret.
Unlike the previous "position patterns" you will have to slide with your first finger from the b7 to the root and slide once again with your first finger from the b7 to the root again.
It's very important to play these patterns ascending and descending in different keys.
Pattern 3 w/ intervals. Diagonal playing. Roots on the sixth, fourth and second string.
Pattern 3 w/ fingerings
Half diminished arpeggio | Pattern 4 and fingerings | Diagonal playing
And the last one using the diagonal playing technique.
To play a Bm7b5 arpeggio starting with the lowest root (R) you have to put your first finger on the fifth string at the second fret.
You will need to slide with your first finger from the b7 to the root.
All these patterns and fingerings are suggested, don't hesitate to experiment your own.
Pattern 4 w/ intervals. Diagonal playing. Roots on the fifth, third and first string.
Pattern 4 w/ fingerings
m7b5 arpeggio | Major II-V-I sequence - Lick # 1
The basic application and most obvious is to play theses arpeggios over a m7b5 chord, it's so obvious that we're not going to linger on. The m7b5 gets interesting when it is played over a minor seventh chord starting on the sixth , for example :
The Dm7 chord is made up of four notes :
- Root (D)
- Minor third (F)
- Fifth (A)
- Minor seventh (C)
The Bm7b5 arpeggio is made up of four notes too :
- Root (B)
- Minor third (D)
- Diminished fifth (F)
- Minor seventh (A)
By playing a Bm7b5 arpeggio over a Dm7 chord we get this :
- The root of Bm7b5 (B) is the thirteenth of Dm7.
- The b3 of Bm7b5 (D) is the root of Dm7.
- The b5 of Bm7b5 (F) is the b3 of Dm7.
- The b7 Bm7b5 (A) is the fifth of Dm7.
Example # 1 over a II-V-I sequence:
Measure 1 : We can see a Bm7b5 arpeggio over the Dm7 chord.
Measure 2 : b7 and root of G7.
Measure 3 : C ionian mode.
Major II-V-I sequence - Lick # 2
The second way is to play a m7b5 arpeggio over dominant 7th chords starting on the major third, example over a G7 chord :
The G7 chord is made up of four notes :
- Root (G)
- Major third (B)
- Fifth (D)
- Minor seventh (F)
Bm7b5 arpeggio :
- Root (B)
- Minor third (D)
- Diminished fifth (F)
- Minor seventh (A)
By playing a Bm7b5 arpeggio over a G7 chord we obtain this following :
- The root of Bm7b5 (B) is the third of G7.
- The b3 of Bm7b5 (D) is the fifth of G7.
- The b5 of Bm7b5 (F) is the b7 of G7.
- The b7 Bm7b5 (A) is the ninth of G7.
That brings an interesting ninth over G7.
Example #2 over a II-V-I sequence :
Measure 1 : D minor seventh arpeggio, ascending and descending.
Measure 2 : Bm7b5 arpeggio over the G7 chord.
Measure 3 : Ionian mode.
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Last edited: 19/11/2017