5 Great Jazz Licks You Need to Know With The Dominant 7thb5 arpeggio

The dom7th(b5) chord is a great sound to use in your solo. Since it isn’t really diatonic to any scale then we often forget to use it as a dominant arpeggio. In this video I am going to demonstrate 5 great ways to use this arpeggio on different chord types.

Here you will learn how it works for several chords and several sounds like the altered scale, the diminished scale and a few more melodic minor sounds!

Lydian Dominant

The Lydian dominant is a dominant with a #11. One way of playing that chord is to play it as a dom7th(b5).

In the first example I am using the arpeggio on a bVII dominant which is one of the very common Lydian dominants. The progression I am using is in the key of C major and it is a IV IVm I type progression.

On the bVII I am using Lydian dominant scale which is F minor melodic over a Bb7 in the key of C.

The scale is shown in example 1: 

The Bb7(b5) arpeggio in this position could be played like this:

The progression in C is Fmaj7, Bb7 to Cmaj7. The line on the Fmaj7 is first a chromatic run from E to G and then a line based on the arpeggio from the 3rd of Fmaj7: Am7. The line continues to the Bb7 where it ascends from Bb to Bb in the arpeggio and via the Ab and F resolves to the 5th(G) of Cmaj7.

Dominant from the diminished scale

The diminished scale also contains the arpeggio. In this example I am using a II V I in C and since the dominant is a G7 we have a G7(b5) available.

Notice that the G7(b5): G B Db F is the same as a Db7(b5): Db F G B

The Diminished scale that fits on the G7 is shown here below:

The G7(b5) (or Db7(b5) arpeggio in this position could be played as shown in example 5:

The line on the Dm7 is in this example starting with a trill on the 3rd and then continues up an Fmaj7 arpeggio. From the E it descends down to the b5 of G7 and continues up the arpeggio to B. From the B it continues with an Ab and an E to spell out a first inversion E major triad. The line then resolves to the 9th(D) of Cmajor.

The dominant sound of a G7 from the diminished scale could be written as a G7(13b9b5). The line spells out this sound with the G7(b5) combined with the E major triad. E major over a G yields E(13), G#(=Ab, b9) and B(3).

Altered Dominant

If we look at G altered. G Ab Bb B Db Eb F G, you can see that it is possible to construct a G7(b5): G B Db F. This means that the G altered dominant is also a great place to put this arpeggio to use.

The G altered (or Ab melodic minor scale) is shown in example 7:

The Arpeggio in this position could be the same as in the previous line, shown in example 5.

The II V I line with the altered dominant is making use of an Fmaj7 shell voicing followed by a chromatic pasing note and an chromatic enclosure resolving on the 3rd(B) of G7.

On the G7 the line is the ascending G7(b5) arpeggio from B to B. This is followed up by a 2nd inversion Eb major triad.The combination of the G7(b5) and the Eb major triad spells out a G7(b5b13#9) in total which is a great combo for an altered dominant. 

Tonic minor

From the previous example we know that the Melodic minor scale contains a dom7th(b5). One place where we can use this is on a tonic minor chord. In this example I am using an F7(b5) arpeggio (as shown in example 9) over a Cm6 chord.

The line starts with a small melody using an augmented triad followed up with a scale fragment. In the second bar the line is a F7(b5) (or B7(b5)) played in a sequence. It resolves to the Maj7(B) of C.

The Lydian Augmented or Lydian #5 sound

Another sound that we can apply the arpeggio to is the Lydian Augmented sound found in melodic minor. In this case I am using it on a Cmaj7(#5).

The scale that fits on this is A melodic minor:

The D7(b5)/G#7(b5) arpeggio that is found in this scale could be played like this:

The way I am using the Lydian Augmented chord in the progression is a as a suspension of the tonic. This means that the progression is a II V I, but the I is suspended by first a Imaj7(#5) and later resolved to Imaj7.

The Dm7 line consistst of an Am7 and an F major triad. On the G7 I am using a strict C major or G mixolydian sound. This yields a melody that spells out a fairly basic G7 sound. This is first resolved to a Cmaj7#5 where the line consists purely of a D7(b5) arpeggio that then resolves to the 5th(G) of Cmaj7. 

 Other places where you can experiment with the dom7th(b5)

The arpeggios that are found in scales but not build by stacking 3rds can be a very useful way to introduce specific sounds. The Dom7th(b5) sound is also great if you have a dominant for an extended period of time. This happens in the beginning of a Blues or the Bridge of a Rhythm Changes.
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5 Great Licks with dom7thb5 arpeggios

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