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Intermediate Guide to Jazz Arpeggios

After you have worked your way through the fundamental arpeggios such as maj7, m7 and 7th shapes, you’re ready to move on to more advanced arpeggio concepts that stretch beyond the octave.

These 5, 6, and later on 7, note shapes will allow you to outline various extended chords when soloing in a jazz guitar situation.

In this free jazz guitar guide, you will learn how to play 9th and 11th arpeggios that will allow you to extend the basic shapes you already know, giving you more colors to choose from when soloing over jazz changes using arpeggios as the basis for your lines and phrases.

If you need a review of any basic arpeggio shapes, there are links provided for further reading throughout the lesson.

 

 

 

jazz arpeggios

 

 

Extended Arpeggios

 

The focus of this arpeggio guide will be on extended arpeggios, so let’s take a quick look at exactly what these types of arpeggios are, and how they compare to the basic arpeggio fingerings you’ve been working on up until this point.

Basic arpeggio fingers are built with the root, 3rd, 5th and 7th of the underlying chord, so they stay within the confines of the octave in their construction.

Extended arpeggios get their name because they extend beyond the space of one octave in their construction by including the 9th, 11th and/or 13th in their interval content.

Here is an example of a basic and extended arpeggio side by side so you can see and hear how they are similar, both contain the R-3-5-7, and different, as the extended arpeggio moves beyond the octave from there.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggio Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 1

 

While you can go all the way up to the 13th when working on extended arpeggios, R-3-5-7-9-11-13, and use all the notes of the underlying scale stacked in 3rds to form your arpeggio, this lesson will focus on 9th and 11th shapes, with 13ths being explored in the final lesson in this series.

When learning how to play extended arpeggios, the easiest way to think about them is to visualize your basic arpeggio fingerings, maj7 for example, and then just add one or two notes on top of that shape, the 9th or #11th, rather than learning new fingerings from scratch.

By doing so, you are allowing yourself to quickly learn these new shapes, as well as relating new material such as extended arpeggios to previously learned knowledge, basic arpeggio shapes.

With this bit of knowledge under your belt, let’s begin by looking at commonly used 9th arpeggios that you can learn, practice and apply to your jazz guitar soloing lines and phrases in the woodshed and out on the bandstand.

 

 

Major 9 Arpeggios

 

The first extended arpeggio you’ll explore is the maj9 arpeggio, which is built by taking a maj7 arpeggio and adding the 9th on top, which produces the interval R-3-5-7-9.

You can also build this arpeggio by taking the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th notes of the major scale and stacking them on top of each other to form the extended shape.

Here are a few one-octave maj9 arpeggio shapes that you can explore in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggio Example

 

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Here are two, two-octave Maj9 Arpeggio shapes that you can use to expand your exploration of these shapes in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggio Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 3

 

Once you have learned either of these arpeggios in the key of C, make sure to work them around the neck in all 12 keys, as well as practice soloing over maj9 backing tracks in various keys and use these shapes to construct your improvised lines and phrases.

By working on these, and all, arpeggios from both a technical and improvisational standpoint you will give yourself a well-rounded approach to learning any extended arpeggio in the practice room.

 

 

Dominant 9 Arpeggios

 

You’ll now move on to 9th arpeggios, which are built by taking a 7th arpeggio, R-3-5-b7, and adding a 9th on top of the basic arpeggio.

You can also think of this arpeggio as the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th notes of a Mixolydian Scale.

Try working on these one-octave shapes, and later the two-octave shapes below, in the given key at first.

Then, when you’re ready you can move these shapes to all 12 keys as you dig deeper on these sounds in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggio Example

 

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Here are two, two-octave 9th Arpeggio shapes that you can use to expand your exploration of these shapes in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggio Example

 

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As always, after you have learned any of these shapes on the fretboard, jam along with a backing track in order to work these shapes in a soloing situation.

As well, you can put on a G7-Cmaj7, V7-Imaj7, backing track and practicing adding the 9th colors to each chord as you solo over this progression with the arpeggios you have learned so far in this lesson.

 

 

Minor 9 Arpeggios

 

You will now move on to the m9th arpeggio, which is built by stacking a 9th on top of a m7 arpeggio, producing the intervals R-b3-5-b7-9.

You can also build this arpeggio by stacking the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th notes from the Dorian Scale.

Here are a few one-octave shapes that you can work on in the woodshed, and make sure to apply these shapes to all 12 keys in your jazz guitar practice routine.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 6

 

Here are two, two-octave m9 Arpeggio shapes that you can use to expand your exploration of these shapes in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 7

 

Now that you have these three extended arpeggios under your fingers and in your ears, you can put on a Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 backing track and practice soloing over these chords with the 9th arpeggios you’ve learned so far in this lesson.

From there, you can take this exercise to all 12 keys, as well as begin to apply 9th arpeggios over m7, 7th and maj7 chords over jazz standards in the woodshed and on the bandstand.

 

 

7b9 Arpeggios

 

As well as adding extensions to basic arpeggios from major keys, you can also create altered sounds with extended arpeggios such as the 7b9 sound in this section of the lesson.

The 7b9 arpeggio is built by adding a b9 interval to a 7th arpeggio, producing the interval structure R-3-5-b7-b9.

You can also build this arpeggio by stacking the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th notes of the Phrygian Dominant Scale.

Start by exploring these one-octave shapes in the practice room before moving onto the two-octave shapes after that.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Here are two, two-octave 7b9 Arpeggio shapes that you can use to expand your exploration of these shapes in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 9.1

 

 

When you have worked out these shapes from a technical perspective, start to solo over a 7b9 backing track to hear how this extended arpeggio sounds in a soloing situation.

As well, you can put on a Dm7-G7-Cmaj7 backing track and add the 7b9 color to the G7 chord in this ii V I progression as you apply this b9 sound to a ii V I chord progression.

 

 

mMaj9 Arpeggios

 

The final 9th arpeggio you’ll learn in this article is the mMaj9 arpeggio, which is built by adding a 9th interval to the maj7 arpeggio shape, which gives you the interval pattern R-b3-5-7-9.

You can also build a mMaj9 arpeggio by stacking the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th notes of the Melodic Minor Scales.

Here are a few one-octave mMaj9 arpeggios that you can explore in the woodshed in order to begin this sound into your jazz guitar vocabulary.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 10

 

Here are two, two-octave mMaj9 Arpeggio shapes that you can use to expand your exploration of these shapes in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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You can now put on a iim7b5-V7alt-Im6 backing track and add the 7b9 and mMaj9 arpeggios to the V and I chord in this progression.

This will allow you to apply these minor key extended arpeggios to a ii V I chord progression as you begin to improvise with these sounds in your home study.

 

 

Maj7#11 Arpeggios

 

We can now move on to 11th arpeggios as you learn how to build and play a maj7#11 extended arpeggio.

Because the natural 11 is only a half-step away from the 3rd, it can cause some clashes in your playing, we often use the #11 in its place.

When building a maj7#11 arpeggio, you take a normal maj9 arpeggio and place a #11 interval on top of those notes, which gives you the interval structure R-3-5-7-9-#11.

You can also build this arpeggio by playing the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th notes of the Lydian scale, which is the underlying scale of this arpeggio.

Here are a few one-octave shapes that you can use to begin your exploration of this arpeggio on the fretboard.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Here is a two-octave Maj7#11 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Once you have a few of these arpeggios under your fingers, try putting on a maj7 backing track and switch between the maj9 and maj7#11 extended arpeggios in your soloing lines and phrases to hear how each of these arpeggios sounds similar and different in a soloing situation.

 

 

7#11 Arpeggios

 

The same situation applies to 7th arpeggios when you extend them up to the 11th as you will use the #11 to avoid any clashes with the 3rd of the chord.

This means that you can take a 9th arpeggio and place a #11 on top to form the 7#11 extended arpeggio, which gives you the interval structure R-3-5-b7-9-#11.

These notes are also the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th notes of the Lydian Dominant Scale, the 4th mode of the Melodic Minor Scale.

Here are a few 7#11 one-octave shapes that you can use to bring this extended arpeggio off the page and onto your fretboard.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Here is a two-octave 7#11 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Now that you have the 7#11 arpeggio under your belt, try soloing over a 7th backing track and switching between the 9th and 7#11 arpeggios so that you can hear how these two extended shapes compare in a soloing situation.

As well, try putting on a V7-Imaj7 backing track and using the 7#11 and maj7#11 arpeggios to outline these two chords in your soloing lines and phrases.

 

 

m11 Arpeggios

 

We will now move on to minor sounds with the m11 extended arpeggio, which is built by stacking an 11th on top of a m9 arpeggio and gives you the intervals R-b3-5-b7-9-11.

You can also build this arpeggio by stacking the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th notes of the Dorian Scale on top of each other.

Here are a few m11 one-octave shapes that you can practice in the given key, and all other keys as you take this idea further in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 16

 

Here is a two-octave m11 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 17-pn

 

 

With this arpeggio under your fingers, try soloing over a ii-V-I backing track and playing the m11, 7#11 and maj7#11 arpeggios over each chord as you take all three extended 11th shapes to a jazz soloing situation.

 

 

m11b5 Arpeggios

 

In the previous section, which focussed on 9th arpeggios, and you may have noticed that there was no 9th arpeggio for the m7b5 chord.

This is because the b9, the diatonic 9th, from the m7b5 arpeggio isn’t a commonly used choice on its own, and so we normally use the m11b5 when looking to extending the m7b5 arpeggio in your soloing.

When adding the 9th and 11th to a m7b5 arpeggio you get the intervals R-b3-b5-b7-b9-11, which are also the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th notes of the Locrian Scale.

Here are a few m11b5 arpeggio shapes to explore in your jazz guitar practice routine.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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Here is a two-octave m11b5 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 19-pn

 

Once you have worked on these extended arpeggios from a technical perspective, try putting on a m7b5 backing track and soloing with the m11b5 shapes over this chord change.

 

 

7b9#11 Arpeggios

 

You can also create altered 7th extended chords up to the 11th, which is again the #11 for the same reasons mentioned earlier.

When building a 7b9#11 arpeggio you create the interval structure R-3-5-b7-b9-#11, which is a 7b9 arpeggio with an added #11.

Here are a few 7b9#11 one-octave shapes to explore in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 20-1-

 

 

Here is a two-octave 7b9#11 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 21-1-

 

 

With this shape under your fingers, try putting on a iim7b5-V7alt backing track and soloing over those changes using the m11b5 and 7b9#11 shapes to build your improvised lines and phrases.

 

 

mMaj711 Arpeggios

 

The final 11th arpeggio you’ll study in this lesson is built by adding an 11th to the mMaj9 arpeggio shape you learned earlier, which produces the intervals R-b3-5-7-9-11.

You can also build this arpeggio by stacking the first, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th notes of the Melodic Minor Scale.

Here are a few one-octave shapes to help get you started with mMaj11 arpeggios in the woodshed.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 22

 

Here is a two-octave mMaj711 Arpeggio shape that you can use to expand your exploration of these arpeggios in the practice room.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 23

 

Now that you have all three minor key arpeggios up to the 11th, put on a iim7b5-V7alt-Im6 backing track and use the m11b5, 7b9#11 and mMaj11 arpeggios to add color to these chords in your jazz guitar soloing lines and phrases.

 

 

Practicing Extended Jazz Arpeggios

 

To help you take these extended arpeggios from the technical side of things to the improvisation side of your playing, here are three commonly used Bebop Arpeggio Patterns that you can work on in your practice routine.

After you have checked out any of the examples below, feel free to put on a backing track and begin to improvise with each chromatic pattern in your solos, as well as take any and all of these patterns and apply them to any and all of the arpeggios you learned in this article.

The first pattern features a half-step approach note from below each note in the C9 arpeggio shape used in the example below.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 24

 

The next arpeggio practice pattern uses an approach note, but this time from above each note in the arpeggio fingering that you apply it to.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

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The final Bebop arpeggio practice pattern features an enclosure, half-step above and half-step below, applied to each note in any arpeggio fingering that you apply it to in the woodshed and on the bandstand.

 

Click to hear audio for this Intermediate Jazz Arpeggios Example

 

intermediate jazz arpeggios 26

 

 

Do you have any questions or comments about Jazz arpeggios? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



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