How to Play Maj7 Arpeggios For Jazz Guitar
When first learning how to play jazz guitar, many of us know we need to get a handle on arpeggios in order to develop our soloing chops, and maj7 arpeggios are a great place to start in this area of study.
In this introductory lesson, you will learn how to build, play, and solo with maj7 arpeggios in one and two-octave shapes on the fretboard.
If you are interested in learning more about arpeggios, please check out my other arpeggio related articles.
- Intro to Jazz Guitar Arpeggios
- Intermediate Jazz Guitar Arpeggios
- Jazz Guitar Arpeggio Fingerings
- Easy Arpeggio Fingerings for Guitar
- Jazz Guitar Arpeggio Enclosures
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What is a maj7 Arpeggio
Built by taking the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th notes of the Major Scale, maj7 arpeggios have the following interval structure:
- Major 3rd
- Perfect 5th
- Major 7th
Because they outline a maj7 chord, which shares the same notes as the maj7 arpeggio, these shapes can be used to solo over maj7 chords in a jazz improvisational context.
Maj7 Arpeggios One Octave
Now that you know how to build a maj7 arpeggio, here are 12 fingerings for maj7 arpeggios on the fretboard, written in one-octave shapes.
Let’s begin with maj7 arpeggios, one octave, from the index finger.
Here are those same maj7 arpeggios from the middle finger, with the exception of the 3rd-string root shape.
Lastly, here are the same maj7 arpeggios from the pinky, or ring if you prefer, finger.
Once you have any or all of these arpeggios down, put on a maj7 backing track and start soloing with these shapes in order to take them to the improvisational side of your playing as well as the technical side.
Maj7 Arpeggio Two Octave
Though one-octave maj7 arpeggios are great for soloing over fast-moving chord changes, there are times when you have more room to spread out across the fretboard, and this is where two-octave shapes come in handy.
Here are four different two-octave maj7 arpeggios to practice in all 12 keys across the fretboard.
As well, you can put on a maj7 backing track and practice soloing with these two-octave shapes, and moving between one and two-octave arpeggios as you begin to combine them in your studies and soloing ideas.
Maj7 Arpeggios – 3 Licks
To finish up our introduction to maj7 arpeggios, here are three licks that use maj7 arpeggios in their construction.
The first lick features a two-bar maj7 arpeggio phrase that you can learn and transpose to other keys across the fretboard.
Click to hear maj7 arpeggios 1
Next, here is a maj7 arpeggio applied to the Imaj7 chord in a ii-V-I chord progression.
Click to hear maj7 arpeggios 2
Lastly, here is a maj7 arpeggio applied to the two chords in the first four bars of “On Green Dolphin Street.”
Click to hear maj7 arpeggios 3
When you can play these three licks from memory, try coming up with 3 to 5 maj7 arpeggio licks of your own in order to take these shapes further in your studies.
Do you have a question about these maj7 arpeggios? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.