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

 

Minor Seventh Arpeggio - Guitar Neck Diagrams

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.

 

Minor 7 one octave arpeggio shapes

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.

Minor 7 arpeggio two octave shapes

Minor 7 Arpeggios - CAGED Method

Another more complex way of learning minor seventh arpeggios on guitar is to use what we call the CAGED system. It is to visualize arpeggios on the basis of very popular open chords that are C, A, G, E and D. This method is used to have a comprehensive view of the whole guitar neck.

The first shape (the bigest) show how looks a Gm7 arpeggio all over the neck, from the third fret to the fifteenth fret. The five other diagrams contain a Gmin7 arpeggio position based on one of the five basic CAGED shapes.

  • The Brown dots in the first chart represent an Gmin chord (based on the E shape of the CAGED system). You can see how the Gm7 arpeggio tones are organized around it.
  • The purple dots are related to the D shape. In the exampel it's a Gmin chord.
  • The blues dots represent the C shape (Gm7 in reality).
  • The red dots are the A shape. (Gm7).
  • The green dots are the G (minor) form.

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

Related Minor 7 Chord Shapes

How to Connect 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

How to Apply min7 Arpeggios?

Basic Application of m7 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
 
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Last edited: 11/07/2019