Min7b5 Arpeggios

Learn how to play all min7b5 arpeggio shapes!

The min7b5 arpeggio is very important to know, it belongs to the VII chord and can consequentially be used whenever the VII chord is played.

The mode for the VII chord is Locrian, a very difficult mode to phrase well with. Since the min7b5 chord is so complex sounding it is rarely used for more than a bar so the arpeggio is a better solution than the full scale anyway.

You can also substitute the VII arpeggio over the V chord, creating a dom9 sounding arpeggio. You’ll learn more about this in the master course.

Before we go that far, let’s first learn each individual shape on its own, first up is the Em shape.

The Em7b5 shape

The Em shape looks like this as a chordacus images.

Am7b5, Em shape

Dm7b5, Em shape

Notice how similar the shape is to the Em shaped Blues scale. Also, can you see how it looks like an Em shaped min7 arpeggio but with a b5?

This may seem like obvious information as this is what the chord actually spell out, if it does, you are really getting this!

Practise the Em shape in all 12 keys before you move one to the next shape. Just like you have with previous arpeggios.

The Am shape

The Am shape looks like this as a chordacus images.

Am7b5 arpeggio, Am shape

Dm7b5 arpeggio, Am shape

The top half of this arpeggio is the hardest bit. If you spent a lot of time with the Am shaped Blues scale, then this shape will be a lot easier to learn. If not, the b5 might feel out of place.

The best way to vary the exercise is to vary the rhythm you play. A good idea would be to use the same rhythms as you currently practise when you warm up with your chromatic exercises.

You’ll get lots more tips like this, always with full TAB when you take the advanced course.

The Dm shape

This is the easiest shape to remember as it’s the smallest. Look like this in chordacus.

Am7b5 arpeggio, Dm shape

Dm7b5 arpeggio, Dm shape

Practise this in all 12 keys and push the BPM!

The Gm shape

This is not an easy shape to remember, practise extensively for complete fluency.

Am7b5 arpeggio, Gm shape

Dm7b5 arpeggio, Gm shape

Compare the Gm7b5 shaped arpeggio shape with the:

When you clearly can see all similarities and differences between these you have really gotten to know your Gm shape.

The Cm shape

For some reason, this is usually the arpeggio shape most students struggle to use intuitively.

Am7b5 arpeggio, Cm shape

Dm7b5 arpeggio, Cm shape

Compare the Cm7b5 arpeggio shape to all your other Cm shapes:

  • Cm chord shape
  • Cm shaped Blues scale
  • Cm7 chord shape
  • Cm7b5 chord shape
  • Cm7 shaped arpeggio

Practise your Cm7b5 arpeggio shape as the video demonstrate. Follow this up by playing the exercise in all keys.


Compared with the other 7th note arpeggios, the min7b5 is the most difficult to learn.

Because of the b5, the notes won’t fall as easily as, for example, many maj7 arpeggio shapes do. Also, the sound of min7b5 is pretty out there, not a sound you hang around on for too long.

But this is also what is so great about it. When you add in a solo it tends to pop out and add some tension, even though the notes are all correct, in itself the arpeggio stand out.

My favourite way to use the min7b5 arpeggio is to substitute it over any dom7 chord. I’ll tell you more about this in the advanced guitar course.