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Arpeggio Applications

Lesson 2 - Minor Sounds

Lesson 2 Sample

Lyle: Last lesson you worked on creating Major sounds against a Gmaj7 major chord. This lesson you'll learn how to make Minor sounds against a Am7 chord. You'll be thinking of this Am7 chord as the ii chord in the key of G Major.

Lyle: Here's your jam tracks:

Jam Track in Am7

Jam Track no guitars

Lyle: I thought I'd rock it up a bit for this lesson for a little added excitement, but you can still use this lesson in a jazz groove with a clean sound.

Lyle: Here's the Am7 rhythm riff for fun:

rhythm riff

rhythm riff

Lyle: Since I've decided, for no special reason, that this Am7 chord is the II chord in the key of G Major, the A Dorian minor mode is the scale that matches the II chord:

A Dorian minor

Lyle: Most of us would simply play the A Dorian mode and the A minor pentatonic scale while improvising over this Minor 7 jam. This would only give you the sound of the Am7:

Am7 arpeggios

Lyle: To create a Minor 7 sound against the Am7 chord, play Am7 arpeggio over Am7 chord.

A,  C,  E,  G = Am7 arpeggio
1, b3,  5, b7 = notes compared to Am7 chord

Lyle: Now try playing the Am7 arpeggio against the jam track and you should hear it blends perfectly. Simple and very common to do.

Lyle: An alternative to this is to play an Em7 arpeggio against the Am7 chord, and you'll create a Minor 11 sound:

Em7 arpeggios

Lyle: To create a Minor 11 sound against the Am7 chord, go up a 5th and play Minor 7 arpeggio (Em7 arpeggio)

E,  G,  B,  D = Em7
5,  b7,  9, 11 = notes compared to Am7 chord

Lyle: Try playing the Em7 arpeggio against the jam track and notice it has a different sound to it compared to when you played the Am7 arpeggio. They both sound right but the Em7 arpeggio has more color.

Lyle: The cool thing is, you haven't had to learn any new arpeggio shapes from last lesson. You're recycling the same basic arpeggios shapes and applying them differently to creat different Major and Minor sounds.

Lyle: To create a Minor 9 sound against the Am7 chord, go up a Minor 3rd and play a Major 7 arpeggio (Cmaj7 arpeggio)

Cmaj7 arpeggios

C,  E,  G,  B = Cmaj7 arpeggio
b3, 5, b7,  9 = notes compared to Am7 chord

Lyle: We are in Am, the ii of G, so the chords would be same as last lesson: Gmaj7, Am7, Bm7, Cmaj7, D7, Em7, F#m7b5

Lyle: How does that Cmaj7 arpeggio sound against the jam track, do you like it?

gpg: Yes different color!

Lyle: I like minor 9 chords, just don't get much chances to use them in rock. But with creative and progressive soloing styles like this, anything is possible.

Lyle: Now you have learned how to create Minor7, Minor 11, and Minor 9 sounds so far. Here's another one, the Minor 6 sound.

Lyle: To create a Minor 6 sound against the Am7 chord, go down a Minor 3rd and play a Minor7b5 arpeggio (F#m7b5 arpeggio)

F#m7b5 arpeggios

F#,  A,  C,  E = F#m7b5 arpeggio
 6,  1,  b3,  5 = notes compared to Am7 chord

Lyle: Now try putting them all together to make the sound of changing chords, once per measure, like this:

Arpeggio riff 1

Arpeggio riff 1

Lyle: You can loop the TAB player and even slow it down to help you learn how to play along to the riff. By mixing them up to create 4 different minor chord sounds, it becomes very interesting compared to just staying with one chord sound the whole time.

Lyle: Here's an alternate to that riff. I played the first two bars exactly the same but I used a whammy bar for vibrato, then the Cmaj7 arpeggio I took up higher and came down a different F#m7b5 pattern:

Arpeggio riff 2

Arpeggio riff 2

Lyle: So now you know how to make 4 different minor chord sounds against one minor chord.

Lyle: Here's a good audio example that helps compare the different minor chords with the matching arpeggios.

minor chords

Lyle: Many more possibilities ahead. Practice making up your own phrases and riff using these arpeggios and see what you come up with. Make sure you're playing the right notes and keep your ears open to the new sounds you'll be creating! Also, mix it up by adding your favorite Blues/Rock riffs inbetween the arpeggios. For example, the lesson sample above was made from several different riffs tied together. It starts with the Am7 rhythm riff that I posted at the beginning, then the lead guitar comes in with a riff that copies the bass guitar:

bass riff

bass riff

Lyle: Then I played Arpeggio riff 1 followed by Arpeggio riff 2.

Lyle: After the 8 measure assault of arpeggios I played this riff from a song I wrote last year called Bad Elmo. It just seems to fit nice here too. Maybe the riff is haunting me...

Bad Elmo riff

Bad Elmo riff

Lyle: After that riff I went into a 4 bar blast of minor blues riffs:

minor blues riffs

minor blues riffs sample

Lyle: Then the lesson sample went back to arpeggio riff 2, then back to the bass riff with the pinched harmonics.

Lyle: Here's a video clip of all the parts together in one take:

Lesson 2 Video Sample

Lyle: That's all, see you at the next lesson!


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Average rating: 4 out of 5 stars
 RatingCommentRated by
 4 star ratingI knew of the general purpose of Arpeggios. But Lyle expanded my understanding of this topic to create color.adagietto
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