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Unusual Arpeggios Part 2

JamPlay, LLC
Published on 04-6-2016
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In the previous installment of unusual arpeggios we dealt with triad arpeggios which consisted of 3 notes. In this lesson I want to do 5 note arpeggios (4 will come later - what can I say? I am a wacky guy!). I think these are amongst the most colorful and fun of all arpeggios as they feature one of my favorite of all the intervals - the 9th.

There are some technical difficulties to overcome with these arpeggios, I have carefully laid out the notes so as to have the maximum sweep picking efficiency - be sure to adhere to the fingerings and picking patterns as they are there for your technical benefit. Some of the shapes are a real stretch but you can simply jump to the notes instead of stretching to them. The main thing is that you are able to apply these arpeggios in a musical context. Each example will be played in the time signature of 11/8 so as to fit in the bar correctly. The count I use for this signature is 1234 123 1234 - I find this much easier than to count all the way up to 11 - doing this will only get you lost.

In the following examples I will describe what chord types each of the arpeggios will work over.

This first example is a Major 9 arpeggio, it is based around a Major9 chord which has a formula of R 3 5 7 9. This arpeggio will work over Major9 chords, Major7 chords and major chords amongst others. You will hear it played over an A major9 chord here.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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The next example is a minor 9 arpeggio. It is based around a minor 9 chord which has a formula of R b3 5 b7 9. This arpeggio will work great over Am9, Am7 and Am amongst others. Notice the color this arpeggio adds to your playing when played over a simple minor chord.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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This next arpeggio is a Dominant 9 arpeggio, it is based around a dominant 9 chord which has a formula of R 3 5 b7 9. It will work great over A7, A9, A11 and A13. This one is especially useful in a blues and can really spice up your playing.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Now we will look at some more unusual arpeggios that are not as common, but they are a lot of fun! These will really bring some new and interesting sounds into your playing and maybe even give you some inspiration in terms of composition and melodies.

The first arpeggio is A7b9. It will go over an A7 or A7b9 chord and really has an eastern-like flavor due to the b3 interval that occurs between the b9 and 3rd.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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This next arpeggio is also based around an altered dominant chord. An altered dominant is based around a regular dominant chord where the 5th or 9th are sharpened or flattened. It is A7#5b9 - this is truly a wonderful sound.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Altered dominant chords are generally used as a "functioning" dominant, meaning that it functions as a "V" chord to create lots of tension before resolving to the "I" chord. For example, you could play an A7b9 (V) chord and then resolve it to Dmaj9 or even Dm9 (I).

Here is another example of an altered dominant arpeggio. This is one of my favorites, A7#5#9 - it contains the intervals R 3 #5 b7 #9.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Here is an arpeggio that is designed to fit over a half diminished chord (AKA m7b5), min9b5 or min11b5.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Here is another arpeggio, this one will fit over a min7b5 chord, its interval formula is R b2 b3 b5 b7.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Here is an arpeggio that will fit over the very unusual but highly interesting Major9#5 chord. The interval structure of this arpeggio is R 3 #5 7 9.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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Finally, here is an arpeggio that fits over the classic James Bond theme ending chord, the Minor/major9. This is an unusual chord with the following formula R b3 5 7 9.

Learning Unusual Arpeggios
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As usual, I really hope you can find a use for these arpeggios and that they will inspire you not only technically, but also melodically - these really have a lot of color and will really get you to try melodies that you might not have otherwise thought about. Have fun and see you soon!
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