essential single octave arpeggios - terence wright guitar

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Essential Single Octave Arpeggios In order to get the most out of single octave arpeggios on the guitar, it is important to understand why they are played the way they are. In a seventh chord, there are four unique notes: Root third fifth seventh Depending on the type of seventh chord, the third, fifth and seventh may be altered. Keeping in mind that there are four notes in a given seventh chord and arpeggio, we can then take a look at the possible ways they can be played. This lesson will cover some of the more practical ways of performing seventh chord arpeggios. Due to playability and sound, seventh chord arpeggios played over three strings are far more widely used than others. This lesson will go into detail about the three ways to perform single octave arpeggios over three strings. If you are curious about lesser known seventh chord arpeggio approaches, such as arpeggios played over 1, 2 or 4 strings, check out the Approaches to Arpeggios page in the Jazz Guitar Resource Library. First lets take a look at the different options for playing arpeggios over three strings: 2-1-1 Arpeggio – The 2-1-1 stands for the distribution of notes across the guitar. The 2 means that you will be playing 2 notes on the string that the given arpeggio begins on, followed by 1 note on the next highest string, and 1 note on the next highest string after that.

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Essential Single Octave ArpeggiosEssential Single Octave Arpeggios
In order to get the most out of single octave arpeggios on the guitar, it is important to understand why they are played the way they are. In a seventh chord, there are four unique notes:
Root – third – fifth – seventh
Depending on the type of seventh chord, the third, fifth and seventh may be altered.
Keeping in mind that there are four notes in a given seventh chord and arpeggio, we can then take a look at the possible ways they can be played. This lesson will cover some of the more practical ways of performing seventh chord arpeggios.
Due to playability and sound, seventh chord arpeggios played over three strings are far more widely used than others. This lesson will go into detail about the three ways to perform single octave arpeggios over three strings. If you are curious about lesser known seventh chord arpeggio approaches, such as arpeggios played over 1, 2 or 4 strings, check out the Approaches to Arpeggios page in the Jazz Guitar Resource Library.
First lets take a look at the different options for playing arpeggios over three strings:
2-1-1 Arpeggio – The 2-1-1 stands for the distribution of notes across the guitar. The 2 means that you will be playing 2 notes on the string that the given arpeggio begins on, followed by 1 note on the next highest string, and 1 note on the next highest string after that.
1-2-1 Arpeggio – The numbers here represent the same idea as the previous arpeggio, but the distribution is slightly different. 1 note is played on the string where the arpeggio begins, followed by 2 notes on the next highest string and 1 note on the next highest string after that.
1-1-2 Arpeggio – This arpeggio begins with 1 note on the string where the arpeggio begins, followed by 1 note on the next highest string, and 2 notes on the next highest string after that.
The grids below present a visual example of the different types of single octave arpeggios. The examples use a major 7th arpeggio shape with the root on the E-string.
2 – Root and third on first string
1 – fifth on second string
2 – third and fifth on second string
1 – seventh on third string
2 – fifth and seventh on third string
The above options are all the different possibilities for playing the four notes of a single octave seventh chord arpeggio over three strings (assuming there are no doubled notes).
Using a C as a root for our arpeggios, lets take a look at how each of these arpeggio approaches work with the 5 essential jazz guitar arpeggios
Major 7 Dominant 7 Minor 7 Minor 7b5 Diminished 7
C Major 7th Single Octave Arpeggio
The C major 7th arpeggio contains unaltered chord tones:
1 – 3 – 5 – 7
C – E – G – B
The major 7th is a very important arpeggio for soloing in a jazz context. The major 7th chord is often used throughout jazz standards as the I or IV chord. It can also be used as a substitution for many different chord qualities. Check out the major 7th chord page for more information on the major 7th harmony.
2-1-1 Major 7 Arpeggio
The C dominant 7th arpeggio contains chord tones:
1 – 3 – 5 – b7
C – E – G – Bb
The dominant 7th chord and arpeggio are a very important part of jazz and music in general. Both straight ahead blues, and jazz blues tunes feature the dominant 7th chord heavily. Knowing this arpeggio is a must for getting through the blues and almost every jazz chord progression. For more info on the dominant 7 harmony, you can check out the dominant 7th chord page here.
2-1-1 Dominant 7th Arpeggio
The C minor 7th arpeggio contains chord tones:
1 – b3 – 5 – b7
C – Eb – G – Bb
ii – V – I
iii – vi – ii – V – I
The minor seventh chord is also commonly used as the I in minor II-V-I chord progressions. Know these arpeggios well, they will come up again and again in your jazz guitar journey! Visit the minor 7 chord page to learn more about the minor 7th harmony.
2-1-1 Minor 7th Arpeggio
The C minor 7b5 arpeggio contains chord tones:
1 – b3 – b5 – b7
C – Eb – Gb – Bb
2-1-1 Minor 7b5 Arpeggio
The C diminished 7 arpeggio contains chord tones:
1 – b3 – b5 – bb7
C – Eb – Gb – Bbb
The diminished 7th chord is another chord that is featured heavily in jazz guitar. It is commonly used as a chord substitution, particularly for dominant 7 chords. This arpeggio is great for adding tension to your solos, and creating outside sounding licks. For more information on diminished 7 chords, check out the diminished 7 chord page here.
2-1-1 Diminished 7 Arpeggio
1-1-2 Diminished 7 Arpeggio
Hungry for more arpeggios? Check out the Arpeggio page in the Jazz Guitar Resource
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