Tag Archives: arpeggio licks guitar

The Magic Arpeggio Solves A LOT Of Problems

Have you ever found yourself wondering what arpeggios to use when you improvise over a m7b5 or an altered chord? There are quite a few chords where we don’t have a lot of great options with the standard diatonic arpeggios, but the arpeggio that I am going to show you in this video is a great tool to cover a lot of those chords and it works great for a lot of other common chords as well.

This lesson is going to show you where you can use it and some of the things you can play with it, including a dominant sound that is really great and almost nobody uses.

The Arpeggio and The League of Internet Theory Trolls

The arpeggio I am talking about is a Maj7(b5) arpeggio, which is hard to give a correct name, and when I call it a maj7(b5) arpeggio I can already feel the rumble of the internet theory trolls. That is because that description doesn’t really fit with the context it is used in, but the problem is that any other description also doesn’t really fit unless you want to describe it as a Maj7(#11, omit5 omit 9) and my life is too short for that, so let’s call it the magic arpeggio.

If you are in C major then the magic arpeggio would be built on the 4th degree of the scale: F

So it would be F A B E (which if you play it sounds like a maj7 chord with a b5:

A practical and compact way of playing the arpeggio could be something like this:

I am going to show you more ways along the way but this version is one I use a lot.

Side note: The most important skill for super-imposing things in Jazz

What this lesson also will help learn is how to relate a set of notes to a root, something that is very useful if you want to find more melodies by super-imposing triads, and pentatonic scales.

Getting used to relating a set of notes to a root to have an idea about what those notes help you hear what they sound like and if they will work for the chord.

Magic Altered Arpeggio

As you can see I am moving the keys around a little in this lesson so you get used to thinking a little in different keys because that is very useful for getting used to working with stuff like this.

Here I am using the Bmaj7(b5) arpeggio over G7 alt

B Eb F Bb – 3 b13 b7 #9  – Great altered sound

And of course, you also have this note set in the altered scale where G altered is the same set of notes as Ab melodic minor:
Ab Bb B Db Eb F G Ab Bb (highlight the Bmaj7(b5)

The lick is really just playing the arpeggio pattern and then I am changing the order of two notes, this arpeggio already sounds different from a normal scale or arpeggio melody so it is easy to get it to sound good. You can see how is it really just this pattern:

Augmenting Your Half-diminished Vocabulary with Magic

m7b5 or half-diminished chords are often tricky to improvise over and it is one of the few chords where the arpeggio from the 3rd is difficult to use because of the b9. But the magic arpeggio works really well in a minor II V l like this

Here I am using the magic arpeggio from the b5 of the chord, so Bbmaj7(b5) on Em7b5. This gives us
Bb D E A which is b5 b7 1 11

The line is coming out of this basic arpeggio pattern

EX 6

Tonic Minor – Symmetrical Solution

In the altered example, you saw that we have a magic arpeggio in the melodic minor scale on the 3rd note of the scale.

If you look at A melodic minor that is: A B C D E F# G# A

and the magic arpeggio would be C E F# B

related to Am that is b3 5 6 9  so it is a great Am6/9 sound

that could sound like this:

EX 7

This line is using a symmetrical fingering that you can move up in sets of two strings. This is easy for playing the arpeggio but is limited when it comes to playing more moving melodies with the arpeggio.

EX 8

Phrygian Chord as a Dominant Sound

The Phrygian chord is really a great dominant sound. It is a sus4 dominant with a b9, and the magic arpeggio works really well for that:

EX9

Here I am using the Abmaj7(b5) to create a G7(sus4b9) sound. This works because we have Ab C D G which is b9 4 5 and 1 over a G7. We don’t have a 7th, but if you have a b9 and a root then you don’t hear a maj7th you hear the b7.

The line is made using the “basic arpeggio” that I introduced in the beginning.

EX10

Now that you have seen a lot of the different ways you can use this arpeggio then you can probably also easily see how this works if you use the Magic Arpeggio as a chord voicing. If you want to see some great examples of how that can be applied to different chord progressions then check out this video.

Super-impose Pentatonics

Lady Bird – Arpeggios & Pentatonic Scales

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2 Arpeggios and How to make 15 Great Licks with them

Scales and Arpeggios are not inspiring, and you can’t immediately go from Arpeggios to Jazz Guitar solos. But this challenge might be a good way to try.

You probably know how it is to feel like you are always playing the same things and nothing sounds fresh. I think we all have that, and mostly we then go look for something completely new to work on.

Last time I felt like this I decided to challenge myself to take something really simple: a II V I and then 2 arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for the V chord, and then see how many licks I could make. That also gave me a chance to use some patterns and melodic ideas that I picked up from people like Jesse Van Ruller, Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Grant Green and a few tricks from Metal as well.

The Challenge: 2 arpeggios and a lot of Jazz Licks

Last time I felt like this I decided to challenge myself to take something really simple: a II V I and then 2 arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for the V chord, and then see how many licks I could make. That also gave me a chance to use some patterns and melodic ideas that I picked up from people like Jesse Van Ruller, Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel, Grant Green and a few tricks from Metal as well.

The advantage is to use a very limited set of notes (4 per chord) and then really focus on what you can do with the melody. And since the notes are the same all the time it is not about that.
Let’s first look at the two arpeggios: It’s a II V I in G major: Am7 D7 Gmaj7.

Get some fresh ideas!

If you ever had trouble coming up with some new II V I licks with the arpeggios you already know then I am sure this video will help you. In this video I am taking two arpeggios, one for the II chord and one for a V chord and then make 15 II V I licks.

1 – The Basic Arpeggios

I am just playing the II V and then resolving on the G, so on the Am7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd, Cmaj7 and on the D7alt I am using the arpeggio from the 7th: Cm7b5.
The first basic example would probably be something like this:

Here the idea is voice-leading, and the arpeggio is treated as 4 separate voices.

2 – One Direction Rosenwinkel

Another way of playing the two arpeggios would be as a movement in one direction ala Kurt Rosenwinkel:

3 – Two Direction Arps

So here I first play one arpeggio and then continue with the closest note in the next one.
You can also try to change direction with the arpeggios:

4 – 1 5 3 7 Pattern

Playing Arpeggios in patterns can be a great way to get some new melodies, and while you should not get lost in all the possibilities it is a great thing to check out and also a good way to practice more flexibel with the melodies you can play.

5 – Grant Green’s Rose

Grant Green likes to use the Honeysuckle rose phrase which is really just an inversion of a Maj7 arpeggio, that works really well like this.

You could also look at the Honeysuckle Rose phrase as an example of what Barry Harris is calling a pivot chord, so the low root is moved up an octave (so pivoted)

6 – A Honeysuckle Variation

A variation on the honeysuckle rose idea and now with a bit more skipping around with the Cm7b5 arpeggio.

7 – Drop2 Not From Mark Turner

I guess this is a Jens Larsen thing that I thought I heard Mark Turner do in a solo, but actually, he was playing something else.

8 – Metheny’s Melodic Voice-leading

Pat Metheny uses this type of melody which is a more elaborate way of using voice-leading:

of course when he does that he usually plays a faster subdivision like 16ths and repeats the patterns several times. You can check out some examples of this in this video on Metheny: Pat Metheny Is Not About The Notes, Are You?

9 – Drop2 Inversions

You can also work with inversions of the Drop two voicings and then not use a drop2 arpeggio for one of the chords.

10 – Reverse Rosenwinkel

The Kurt Rosenwinkel melody that moves in one direction can of course also be done descending. We could call it a “Reverse Rosenwinkel”

11 – Metal Arpeggios

Metal players have very practical ways to play arpeggios and sometimes focus more on easy fingerings than strong melodies, but it does make sense to use some of the easy fingering ideas in jazz as well.

12 – Metal Arpeggios #2

Another very common repeating pattern is this one that you could turn into a lick like this: EX11

13 – Jesse Van Ruller Pattern

A Jesse Van Ruller lick that I transcribed a long time ago used an arpeggio like this Maj7 arpeggio. That’s a very nice pattern and not used too often. It is almost like a shell voicing for the first three notes of the Cmaj7 arpeggio.

14 – Mixed up Drop2 Voicing

Drop2 voicings can be played in patterns as well even if it is a bit difficult. This pattern is pretty challenging for your right hand if you pick it, but if you take your bluegrass chops (or ambitions?) and give it a try you might like it. The lick sounds quite modern and angular

15 – Angular Voice-leading

Taking an Arpeggio played in a pattern can also be a great way to create melodies. Here I am playing the Cmaj7 as 5 7 3 1 and then doing the same with the Cø arpeggio.

Check out my Book: Modern Concepts for Jazz Guitar

If you want more inspiration then check out my book, 5 topics and 50 licks plus of course explanations and exercises. It also includes a transcribed blues solo applying all the material in the book.

It comes with a free download of all Audio examples.

Check it out here: http://geni.us/Jens

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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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