Minor Seventh Arpeggios (min7) | Guitar Lesson with Licks and Charts

How Are Built Minor Seventh Arpeggios?

Minor 7 arpeggios aka min7 or m7 are built with four notes : Root (1), minor  third (b3), Fifth (5) and minor seventh (b7). Arpeggios are chords whose notes are played one by one. 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
Formula 1 b3 5 b7

 

How To Play Minor 7 Arpeggios on Guitar?

The basic way of learning min7 arpeggios is to visualize them in one octave. The four guitar charts show how they look.

The first chart has roots on the sixth and fourth string. The second diagram has root notes on the fifth and third string, etc.

Since the root (the orange note) gives its name to the arpeggio, to play a Gm7 arpeggio using the first diagram (the one with the lowest root on the sixth string) you will need to place your index finger at the third string.

You have to play them in all twelve keys.

Min7 guitar arpeggios one octave

Minor 7 Arpeggio - Two Octave Shapes

The two following diagrams show how to play minor 7 arpeggios within the space of two octaves in order to cover the sixth strings on the guitar without shifting.

Once again it is very important to play these arpeggio shapes in twelve keys all over the guitar neck. It is also recommended to experiment you own fingerings.

Min7 guitar arpeggios two octave shapes

How to Extend min7 Arpeggios?

It's possible to add extensions as 9th, 11th and 13th to your minor 7 diatonic 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 your minor 7 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 can apply this technique to any minor seventh arpeggio.

The guitar tab below show the upper-structure of a Dmin7 arpeggio. You can also notice that is made of four superimposed arppegios that are:

  • Dmin7 - D, F, A, C  (1, b3, 5, b7).
  • Fmaj7 - F, A, C, E (1, 3, 5, 7).
  • Amin7 - A, C, E, G (1, b3, 5, b7).
  • CMaj7 - C, E, G, B (1, 3, 5, 7).

40 Minor (Dorian) Jazz Guitar Licks - PDF Method Trailer - Tab & Audio Files

How to Connect Minor 7 Arpeggios and Chords?

One of the most important trick to master in jazz is to associate arpeggios and chords. For this you will find three basic minor 7 chord shapes (Drop 2 voicings) and four exercises. The idea is to play the arpeggio and its chord and vice versa.

Minor 7 guitar chords
Minor 7 arpeggio and chord 6
Minor 7 arpeggio and chord 5
Minor 7 arpeggio and chord 7
Minor 7 arpeggio and chord 1

Related Scales

As shown in the following guitar charts, min7 arpeggios are present in six modes taken from four families of musical scales :

  • Diatonic scale
    • Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian modes
  • Harmonic minor
    • Dorian #4
  • Melodic minor
    • Dorian b9
  • Harmonic major
    • Phrygian b4
Minor7 arpeggio guitar scales 2

Basic Application of min7 Arpeggios.

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 D minor 7th arpeggio over the Dm7 chord, G dominant 7th arpeggio over G7 and a C major seventh arpeggio over the CM7. As you will have understood, the basic application of a m7 arpeggios is to play them over minor 7 chords.

Minor 7 Arpeggio in a II V Progression

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.

 

Minor 7th arpeggio guitar lick

Backing Tracks

Here are two jazz backing tracks for practicing minor 7 arpeggios on guitar.

Bb minor Jazz Backing Track - Swinging Bebop Trio - 25 Minutes Long - 190 BPM

Dorian Jazz Swing Backing Track - D minor seventh - 120 Bpm

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Last edited: 2021-06-18

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