It is surprisingly difficult to get arpeggios to sound good, and often solos become boring and predictable with uninspired melodies, that’s why it is very useful to work on becoming better at writing your own Jazz Licks
In this video, I took a really basic Cmaj7 arpeggio and then I wrote 25 short and easy Jazz Licks using that arpeggio, so if you are looking for inspiration or want to check out some new ideas then you can probably find something here.
Keep it simple – Just Like You Practiced It
Let’s start with the basic ascending arpeggio, then I will go over some other simple ways to make more lines and at the end discuss some that I don’t use but that you can certainly explore in your own solos and make many more licks.
As you can see the construction is fairly simple, mixing the arpeggio with scales and chromatic enclosures. But you can still do a lot and make some great sounding lines.
This video will also give you some really basic ways to make licks and help you come up with something new or internalize something you are practicing.
When you work on this then try to write melodies, don’t just go for what you can play, try to make music. Don’t just move your fingers
Now let’s try to play a descending arpeggio and use that.
But Turn It Around
The next 5 licks all use the basic descending Cmaj7 arpeggio.
With these examples I am also using a few more advanced chromatic ideas as you see in example 9, and using sus4 triads is also a great “other” type of sound to throw in there example 8
The Bebop Arpeggio
Playing arpeggios as a triplet is another great way to make some great lines, certainly works for Charlie Parker and Wes Montgomery!
I also talk about this way of playing diatonic arpeggios in the lesson on The most important scale exercise in Jazz
In example 14 I use one of the triads that is a great option with the Cmaj7, the one from the 5th: G major
Don’t Start With The Arpeggio
Of course, you can also make some licks where the first thing you play is not the arpeggio. Which gives us a lot more melodies.
As you can see, I rely a lot on adding chromaticism to the arpeggios to make the lines a little more interesting and adding more movement in and out of the key.
Notice how most of these examples would work really well on an Am7 or D7 chord where a Cmaj7 arpeggio is useful. Making connections like this can be very efficient.
Ascending Arpeggios With a Pickup
With these examples, I am still keeping it very simple, so if you are looking for other things to try then remember that you can also:
- Add notes between arpeggios notes
- Play Sequences
- Use Octave displacement and Inversions
- Maybe those are for another video?
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