When learning how to play jazz guitar, many of us realize the importance of using arpeggios to outline chords and common chord progressions in our solos. While scales may be great for developing long, fluid lines over changes, the easiest way to dig directly into the chords themselves is to work with their underlying arpeggios in your solos.
Though learning arpeggios is important, if we only use the basic arpeggios, 1-3-5-7, to build our lines, it can become stagnant in a hurry. So, we need to explore various ways of spicing up our arpeggios lines, while not getting too far away from the original sound that we lose the changes along the way.
In today’s lesson, we’ll be looking at an arpeggio concept that injects one chromatic note below the root of each arpeggios, allowing you to keep the underlying form intact, while bringing in a bit of Bebop flavor to your chord-tone soloing ideas at the same time.
#71357 Arpeggio Concept
To begin, let’s take a look at a common fingering for each of the arpeggios in a ii V I VI chord progression in the key of C major.
Once you have learned these fingerings, or reviewed them if they are familiar to you, let’s add in one extra note to each arpeggio shape.
That note will be a 1/2 step below the root of each arpeggio, C# for Dm7, F# for G7, B for Cmaj7 and G# for A7.
Here is how that would look on the guitar for you to check out and begin to get under your fingers.
As you can see, the Dm7, G7 and A7 chromatic notes are all outside of the key area, they are non-diatonic, and therefore they create tension over that chord that is then resolved when you land on the root note on the next beat.
For the Cmaj7 chord, the 1/2 step below the root is the major 7th, a diatonic note, which doesn’t create any tension. Even so, it is worth checking out as it will get you away from starting all of your arpeggio lines from the root note, which is a trap that many of us fall into when learning how to play jazz guitar arpeggios.
#71357 Arpeggio Lick
To get you started, here is a sample line that uses the #71357 arpeggio concept over each chord in the progression.
Start by learning the lick in the given key at a variety of tempos, and then move it around the neck into the other 11 keys.
From there, practice soloing over your favorite tunes and inserting the lick into your phrases in order to allow it to come out in your lines in an organic and flowing fashion.
Arpeggio Practice Guide
After you have checked out the above examples, you’ll be ready to take this concept further in the practice room in order to fully solidify it in your ears, hands and soloing ideas.
Here are some of my favorite ways to practice these, or any, jazz guitar arpeggio concept in the woodshed.
- Sing the root of any chord while playing the #71357 arpeggio on the guitar.
- Play a chord on the guitar, or chord progression, and sing the related #71357 arpeggio over top of that chord(s).
- Solo over a ii V I chord progression using only the #71357 arpeggio as the basis for your lines.
- Solo over your favorite jazz guitar standard and use the #71357 arpeggio concept as the basis for your lines over this tune.
- Write out 3-5 licks over common chord progressions using the #71357 arpeggio as the basis for your lines.
- Repeat the above exercises at a variety of tempos and in all 12 keys.
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