Guitar arpeggios 1

Guitar Arpeggios - Quick Starter Guide With Diagrams

Arpeggios are the backbone of jazz improvisation, they are simple to learn, they allow to easily outline the harmony and create fluid lines. Arpeggios are very popular in all styles of music (rock, metal, blues, pop), that's why it is very important to learn them.

This guitar lesson provides the most important arpeggio shapes that any beginner jazz guitarist must know, classified this way :

major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, half-diminished, diminished 7, Major 7#5 and minMaj7.

You'll find in this tutorial three kinds of guitar diagrams for each arpeggio type :

one-octave shapes (notes within the space of one octave), two-octave shapes (notes within two octaves) and CAGED shapes.

What's A Guitar Arpeggio?

There are two definitions of an arpeggio in guitar. The first meaning (also called Broken chords) is the technique employed to play one by one the notes of an open chord as a fingerpicking player would do.

Broken chord guitar arpeggio

The second explanation is what interests jazz guitar players. It involves playing the notes of chord to create effective lines and nice improvised solos over a specific chord progression (II V I, turnarounds, backdoor, blues) or a jazz standard.

Major 7 guitar chord and arpeggio

What Are The Main Types Of Arpeggios?

There are different types of arpeggios, they can be minor, major, dominant, diminished, augmented. 

What Is The Difference Between A Scale And An Arpeggio?

An arpeggio is built from a scale, just as a chord an arpeggio is built by stacking thirds whereas a scale is built with a succession of whole and half-steps.

How Many Notes Are There in an Arpeggio?

An arpeggio can be made of three, four, five, six or seven notes. 

Why Learning Arpeggios Is Important?

Arpeggios are very important tools for improvising over jazz tunes and chord changes. They easily outline the harmony, they help to create more melodic guitar solos. They allow to go straight to the point.

CAGED System

The CAGED system is a learning technique that allows guitar players to understand and visualize chords, scales and arpeggios on the entire guitar neck.

The five letters of the word CAGED represent five important chord shapes (C major, A Major, G Major, E major, D major) that serve as a basis for a better knowledge of the guitar neck.

Guitarist Joe Pass used this technique to learn and teach jazz guitar. It is one of the reason why the CAGED method is employed by many guitar teachers and for the guitar charts of this lesson.

Caged system

Major 7 Arpeggios

Major 7 arpeggios are built with root/tonic (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and major seventh (7).

One-Octave Shapes

Major 7 guitar arpeggios one octave shapes

Two-Octave ShapesMajor 7 guitar arpeggios two octave

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With Gmaj7

Major 7 arpeggios entire neck caged shapes

Minor 7 Arpeggios

Min7 arpeggios are built with root/tonic (1), minor third (b3), perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7).

Min7 | One-Octave Shapes

Minor 7 guitar arpeggios one octave

Min7 | Two-Octave Shapes

Minor 7 guitar arpeggios two octave

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With Gmin7

Minor 7 arpeggios entire neck

Dominant 7 Arpeggios

Dominant 7 arpeggios are made of root/tonic (1), major third (3), perfect fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7).

Dominant 7 | One-octave Shapes

Dominant 7 guitar arpeggios one octave chart

Dominant 7 | Two-octave Shapes

Dominant 7 guitar arpeggios two octaves

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With G7

Dominant 7 arpeggios entire neck

Half-diminished Arpeggios

Half-diminished Arpeggios (m7b5) are built with root/tonic (1), minor third (b3), diminished fifth (b5) and minor seventh (b7).

Half-diminished | One-octave Shapes

Half diminished guitar arpeggios one octave shapes

Half-diminished | Two-octave Shapes

Half diminished guitar arpeggios two octave charts

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With Gm7b5

Half diminished guitar arpeggios entire neck

Diminished 7 Arpeggios

Diminished Arpeggios are made of root/tonic (1), minor third (b3), diminished fifth (b5) and diminished seventh (bb7).

Diminished 7 | One-octave Shapes

Diminished seventh guitar arpeggios one octave

Diminished 7 | Two-octave Shapes

Diminished guitar arpeggios two octave shapes

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With Gdim7

Diminished seventh guitar arpeggios entire neck

Major 7#5 Arpeggios (Gmaj7#5)

Major 7#5 Arpeggios are constructed with root/tonic (1), major third (3), augmented fifth (#5) and major seventh (7).

Major 7#5 | One-octave Shapes

Augmented major 7 guitar arpeggios one octave shapes

Major 7#5 | Two-octave Shapes

Augmented major 7 guitar arpeggios two octave diagrams

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With GMaj7#5

Augmented major 7 arpeggios entire neck

Minor Major 7 Arpeggios (GminMaj7)

Minor/Major 7 Arpeggios are built with root/tonic (1), minor third (b3),  fifth (5) and seventh (7).

Minor Major 7 | One-octave Shapes

Minor major 7 guitar arpeggios one octave

Minor Major 7 | Two-octave Shapes

Minor major 7 guitar arpeggios two octave 1

Entire Neck Shapes (CAGED)

Example With GminMaj7#5

Minor major 7 arpeggios entire neck

Arpeggios of The Major Scale

When stacking third on each note of the major scale we get seven arpeggios.

Example with G major (G-A-B-C-D-E-F#)

Arpeggios of the major scale

Arpeggios of The Melodic Minor Scale

When stacking third on each note of the melodic minor scale we get seven arpeggios.

Example with G melodic minor (G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F#)

Melodic minor guitar arpeggios

Arpeggios of The Harmonic Minor Scale

When stacking third on each note of the melodic minor scale we get seven arpeggios.

Example with G harmonic minor (G-A-Bb-C-D-Eb-F#)

Harmonic minor guitar apeggios
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