Minor Seventh Arpeggios | Guitar Lesson with Patterns and Shapes
What is an arpeggio ?
This is a chord whose notes are played one by one, it is a chord played like a scale. Playing arpeggios is an easy technique to create nice and fluid jazz melody lines. There are many different kinds of arpeggios ; minor seventh, major seventh, dominant seventh, half diminished, diminished, augmented that can be varied by adding extensions.
Minor seventh arpeggios are made of :
- Root (1)
- Minor third (b3)
- Fifth (5)
- Minor seventh (b7)
As you can see in the example below the D minor seventh arpeggio has the same notes as the D minor seventh chord. It is built with a root (1), a minor third (b3), a perfect fifth (5) and a minor seventh (b7).
|D minor 7th arpeggio||D||F||A||C|
|D minor 7th chord||D||F||A||C|
It's possible to add extensions like 9th, 11th and 13th to your arpeggios. First, you have to keep in mind that the second (2) is the ninth (9), the fourth (4) is the eleventh (11) and the sixth (6) is the thirteenth (13). Let's take an example referring to the D Dorian scale (D-E-F-G-A-B-C). To add the ninth to you basic arpeggio you have to play E, to add the eleventh just add G and to add the thirteenth you must play B, it is simple. You have to apply this technique to any minor seventh arpeggio.
However you need to master the "four note arpeggios" before. The basic application of an arpeggio is to target the chord tones by playing the corresponding arpeggio. For example, in a C major II-V-I sequence ( Dm7 | G7 | CM7 ) you can 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.
Related minor scales
Minor seventh arpeggios are built with notes from minor scales. Here are the main minor scales related to minor seventh arpeggios. These are modes of the major scale named Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian. As shown in the chart below, we get the same minor seventh arpeggio in three different minor modes. Any jazz guitar student must be able to play any minor seventh arpeggio from any minor scale at any location on the guitar fretboard.
|D minor seventh arpeggio||D||X||F||X||A||Bb||C|
Minor pentatonic scales and minor seventh arpeggios have much in commons. In comparison, the minor pentatonic scale has an additional note, the fourth, which is G in the example below so be careful not to get them confused.
|D minor pentatonic scale||D||F||G||A||C|
|D minor seventh arpeggio||D||F||X||D||C|
You will also find minor 7th arpeggios in the following scales below. Remember that it's very important to make relation between scales, modes and arpeggios.
The harmonic minor scale contains the same as the minor natural scale (Aeolian mode) except the seventh degree that is raised by a semitone.
|C Harmonic minor scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||B|
The melodic minor scale (also called "minor jazz") is made up of the same notes as the Dorian mode except the seventh that is major instead of minor.
|C melodic minor scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||A||B|
Minor seventh arpeggio | Pattern 1 and fingerings
Here is the easiest minor seventh arpeggio pattern with intervals and fingerings (suggested).
To play a D minor seventh arpeggio using this first pattern you must put your first finger on the sixth string at the tenth fret.
Playing the corresponding chord after or before an arpeggio is a nice way to bring them together.
What is the root note ? It is an important note that gives the scale its name. Each scale or mode has a root, any jazz student must be able to locate it whatever the scale.
If it's the first time that you play this arpeggio, it is recommended to play it starting with the root "R". This way you will hear it correctly.
Pattern 1 w/ intervals. Roots on the sixth, fourth and first string.
Pattern 1 w/ fingerings
Minor seventh arpeggio | Pattern 2 and fingerings
This second minor seventh arpeggio pattern has its roots on the fifth and the third string.
For example, to play a D minor seventh arpeggio using this pattern starting on the lowest root (R) you have to put your first finger on the fifth string at the fifth fret.
It is recommended to play this pattern starting with the root "R" to hear it correctly.
Pattern 2 w/ intervals. Roots on the fourth and second string.
Pattern 2 w/ fingerings
Minor seventh arpeggio | Diagonal pattern 3 and fingerings
Here is another minor seventh arpeggio guitar pattern to practice diagonal playing.
To play the A minor seventh arpeggio using this pattern starting on the lowest root (R), you have to put your first finger on the sixth string at the fifth fret.
You should slide with your first finger (fourth string, fifth fret) to get the next root (same string, seventh fret) and slide again with your first finger from the eighth to the tenth fret (second string).
Pattern 3 w/ intervals. Diagonal playing. Roots on the sixth, fourth and second string.
Pattern 3 w/ fingerings
Minor seventh arpeggio | Diagonal pattern 4 and fingerings
Diagonal playing again with this fourth pattern.
To play a D minor seventh arpeggio by a diagonal movement using this diagram, just put your first finger on the lowest root (R) ( fifth string, fifth fret). You will have to slide with your first finger (third string, fifth fret to seventh fret).
Pattern 4 w/ intervals. Diagonal playing. Roots on the fifth, third and first string.
Pattern 4 w/ fingerings
Related minor seventh guitar chords
These three minor seventh guitar chords have their roots (R) on the bass. There are many other positions.
Jazz guitar lick | D minor seventh arpeggio | II - V sequence
Here is an easy jazz guitar line using a descending D minor seventh arpeggio. Chord progression is : Dm7 | G7, it's a II | V progression used in many jazz standards. This lick starts on the fifth of Dm7 (A) with a chromaticism (C, B,Bb ,F). The minor seventh arpeggio begins on the second note of the triplet (A) and goes on over the G dominant 7th chord.
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Last edited: 18/10/2018