Half-Diminished Arpeggios - m7b5 | Guitar Lesson with Shapes, Patterns and Fingerings

What's the Half-Diminished Arpeggio?

Also called minor seventh flat five arpeggio (m7b5), the half-diminished arpeggio contains four notes : Root (1), minor third (b3), diminished fifth (b5) and minor seventh (b7). It is seen as a diminished triad with a b7. 

Bm7b5 arpeggio B D F A
Formula 1 b3 b5 b7


How to Use The Half-diminished Arpeggio?

Half-diminished arpeggios are usually employed over the iim7b5 chord of a minor II V I progression. It is also possible to play it over a dominant chord, starting on the third. This way you will highlight the ninth (9). Another interesting trick (as shown in the lick at the end of the lesson) is to play a m7b5 starting on the sixth (6) of a minor chord in order to highlight the thirteenth (13).

Half-Diminished Arpeggio Shapes

How to Play Half-diminished Arpeggios on Guitar?

Here are four m7b5 guitar arpeggio patterns. The notes of each shape are included within the space of one octave.

Remember that the root is the most important note, it gives its name to the arpeggio. 

Playing the corresponding chord is a nice way to bring them together. 


Minor Seventh Flat Nine Arpeggios - Two Octave Shapes

The two diagrams show how to play mtb5 arpeggios within two octaves in order to cover the six strings.

The first shape has roots on the sixth, fourth and first string. The second pattern has roots on the fifth, second string and first string.

Half-diminished Arpeggios - CAGED System

The six following diagrams show how to play m7b5 arpeggios on the entire guitar neck using the caged method.

Related Scales

Half-diminished arpeggios are related to modes from various scale families as :

  • The Locrian mode, which is the seventh mode of the major scale.
  • The Locrian 13 or (aka locrian 6) the second mode of the harmonic minor scale.
  • The Locrian #2 mode, which is the sixth mode of the melodic minor scale.
  • The superlocrian mode, seventh mode of the melodic minor scale.
  • The Dorian b5 mode, second mode of the harmonic major scale.

How to Use Half-Diminished Arpeggios?

 m7b5 Arpeggio | Major II-V-I Sequence - Lick 1

The basic and most obvious way is to play these 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)

When 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.

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: 02/25/2020