The Craziest Arpeggios & How You Make Beautiful Jazz Guitar Sounds With Them

In this lesson I am going to talk about some of the Craziest Arpeggios I know. If you are familiar with my lessons you probably know that I like to use jazz chords like, drop2, shell or quartal voicings as arpeggios. The arpeggios I am going to discuss in this lesson are extended range arpeggios that are constructed by stacking different types of structures on top of each other.

Extended range arpeggios

These extended arpeggios have an Allan Holdsworth or Mark Turner like sound to me.

Since the arpeggios are made by combining different types of structures I think the easiest way to demonstrate them is to go over some examples and talk about how they are constructed.  

A modal example

In example 1, here below I am using an extended range Am7 arpeggio in bar 2. As you can see the arpeggio is constructed of two parts, a lower and a higher part. The lower part is closely related to the chord, it’s an Am triad in open voicing, and the higher is adding the extensions and colors since it is a D quartal arpeggio that adds the b7, 11 and repeats the 3rd.

Extended range Altered Dominant!

This line is on a II V I in G major. The Am7 is fairly standard. I am using an extended range arpeggio for the altered dominant. In this example the lower part is a drop2 D7(b5) arpeggio and the higher part is an upper-structure triad: Fm. The Fm triad yields a b5, b7 and #9 over the D7 so that fits extremely well with the D7alt sound.  

Using the arpeggio on an IIm7 chord.

In the 3rd example the line on the II chord in the II V I is an extended range arpeggio. The arpeggio is here constructed of a lower Am7 drop2 voicing and then a Bsus4 triad, which gives us a total of an Am7(9,13) voicing. The Valt line is vaguely coming from an Ab and Bb major triad pair.

I chose to use a 12/8 feel to vary the examples a little.

Extended range arpeggios in Chord Melody arrangements

Another way of using the arpeggios is to spell out chord sounds in a chord melody arrangement. On guitar it can often be difficult to play chords with a lot of notes in them because we only have six strings (let’s face it… it is true)

Using the arpeggios to spell out the sound can be very effective as shown in the example below which is the first 4 bars of Stella by Starlight.

The first arpeggio is an Em7b5(11) voicing that consists of an Edim triad (with the Bb in the bass) and a Dsus4 triad voicing. On the Cm7 I am first playing an Cm11 chord and then using an arpeggiated version of what is sometimes referred to as the Herbie Hancock m11 voicing. It is in fact a Cm7(11) voicing with a Bb major triad upper-structure  

Poly Tonal arpeggio sound

A final example is using the arpeggios for more exotic sounds. The 5th example is on using an augmented scale over a Gmaj7#5 chord.

The G augmented scale consists of the notes of the G, B and Eb major triads. In the line I am using an arpeggio that is the combination of a lower Gmaj7 drop2 voicing and over that an EbmMaj7 arpeggio. Two structures that are not that closely related away from the augmented scale or Messiaen modes.

The inspiration

The Idea for these arpeggios came from checking out a Jacob Collier interview where he is singing some piano voicings and then I started messing around with piano voicings and making my own constructions. I hope my examples somewhat illustrated this.


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The Craziest Arpeggio I know

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