Drop2 Voicings as Arpeggios

Drop2 voicings can be a great way to add some melodic structures that already by themselves have a huge range and since they are basically an arpeggio, they are also easy to insert in to melodies. In this lesson I’ll try to given some tips on how to practice and use drop2 voicings like this and also some examples of how I use them in my own playing.

Using chord voicings as arpeggios

If you follow my lessons through the last year or so you have probably noticed that I like to take my chord voicings and turn them into arpeggios whenever possible. So you are probably not surprised that after lessons on Quartal harmony, shell voicings and open voiced triads I also had to make a lesson on how to use drop2 voicings in solos.

I am assuming that you are already familiar with drop2 voicings. Otherwise you can check out the lessons I’ve made on them here:

In this lesson I am keeping the amount of voicings down a bit by not spending too much time on the inversions, we will take the diatonic chords of a major scale on each of the 3 string sets, and go through them and I will use those in the example lines at the end of the lesson.

For the lowest string set here’s the diatonic chords of a G major scale.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 1

And on the middle string set we get this set of C major arpeggios

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 2

And finally on the top set you get F major in diatonic chords:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 3

The way I play this is strictly alternate picking which (to me) has a Steve Morse idea to it since it is alternate picking with one note per string. It is for this alone a very good technical exercise  to go through the 3 previous examples. And if you need some other exercise to get better at playing them then go check out some of Steve Morse etudes and examples, they are also anyway worthwhile.

Since I use one arpeggio in inversion in the examples I’ll just show how you can take a voicing and play through the inversions. The voicing I use in the examples is a D7alt voicing. As you can read about in this lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 3 We can use a Cm7b5 to make a D7(b9,b13) voicing and from that we can make a D7(#9,b13) voicing which has the inversions that are shown here below:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 4

It may be useful to realize that sometimes a voicing may be really difficult to play as a chord, but quite trivial as an arpeggio (and the other way around can be the case too of course).

Lines using Drop2 voicings

As I mention in the video, the fact that you play the notes one by one makes it possible to use lower versions that I normally would when playing chords. The first example is demonstrating that quite well, starting with an Am7 Drop2 voicing as arpeggio from the 6th string. After that the line continues down the scale and on the D7 up an Ab7 Drop2 voicing from which it descends and resolves to the 5th(D) of G maj7

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 5

In the second example I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, so I start off with a Cmaj7 voicing from the 6th string. This is something I’ve noticed I do alot when listening to recordings of myself. From there the line continues up via an Am pentatonic run and from there it makes a sort of pivot arpeggiation of a D7 alt voicing, which is the one I talked about in example 4 above. The line continues with an Fm pentatonic fragment and resolves to the 7th(F#) of Gmaj7.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 6

The final example is not using a drop2 voicing on the Am7 chord, but a more standard Cmaj7 arpeggio followed by a pentatonic scale fragment. On the D7alt I am using an EbmMaj7 voicing and from the top note of that the line descends down the scale to the 4rd(B) of Gmaj7. The EbmMaj7 voicing could be interpreted as one of the approaches from this lesson:  The Altered Scale: Three Approaches.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 7

I hope you can use the exercises and examples I went over here to make your own lines with drop2 voicings. As I mention in the video it is a device that I use a lot when I want to make lines with a big range, which the lend themselves very well too since they have a 10th range.

Since I didn’t make any examples with inversions I could do that in a later lesson? Let me know if you are interested in that.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here you can do so here:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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