Master Arpeggios

Master the arpeggios!

When you mastered these arpeggio exercises you can stop practicing arpeggios, forever!

Just like you have practiced your chords, pentatonic scales and modes, the arpeggio exercises connects the shapes before we run it through the cycle of 4th.

As always, the important point to be made is to see the connection between:

ChordChord NumberPentatonicMode and Arpeggio for each of the 5 shapes.

It is not until you have the full understanding of all these elements that you can stop guessing and start playing.

Connect dom7 Arpeggios!

These arpeggio exercises are first be played twice per shape, then once. First two videos show this in A, then in D.

Check the video demonstration to get the right fingering.

It is up to you to take this all the way though all 12 keys. Here are the video lessons for connecting dom7 arpeggios.

Connect maj7 Arpeggios!

Just like the dom7 shapes, the exercises are divided into two sections:

  1. Play through each shape twice before moving up to next shape.
  2. Play through each shape once before moving up to the next shape.

The video lesson show you this in A and D, your mission is to continue through the cycle of 4th, playing though all keys until you’re back in A again.

Connect min7 Arpeggios!

Practice these exercises and you will learn how all 5 min7 arpeggio shapes connect. Make sure you can do this in all 12 keys, not just in Am and Dm.

Also worth looking into is how the min7 arpeggio is almost identical to a minor pentatonic.

If you called out numbers as you practiced the Minor Pentatonic then all you do is simply remove the 4th interval to get the arpeggio.

Many musicians actually avoid the 4th interval when they improvise since when you play the 4th you sound as if you moved on.

Here are the min7 Arpeggio connect shapes video lessons.

Connect min7b5 Arpeggios!

Last but not least is the extremely useful min7b5 arpeggio.

Just like the last three arpeggios, these exercise will teach you how all 5 min7b5 arpeggios connect. Ensure you can do this in all 12 key.

The min7b5 arpeggio is incredibly important.

If the other arpeggios (maj7, dom7 and min7) broadened your tonal pallet, the min7b5 arpeggio fills a major gap in musical harmony.

The VII chord from the chords within a key concept would have the mode Locrian.

It is not possible to build Locrian from a minor pentatonic since it doesn’t have a natural 5th.

Also, Locrian is an awkward sounding mode, almost impossible to get sounding good.

The min7b5 arpeggio on the other hand sounds great over the min7b5 chord.

Since the min7b5 chord hardly ever appear for more than half a bar, there is not much time to phrase with a full mode anyway.

Therefore, always use the min7b5 arpeggio over the VII chord.

Another really cool way to use this arpeggio is to play it over a V chord as an arpeggio substitution, more on that below.

Arpeggios through the cycle of 4th!

These exercises will run the arpeggios through the cycle of 4th.

The videos lesson demonstrate this from the E shape up to the D shape as usual. Once this is cool, use the D shape as your next starting point.

All 4 arpeggios (maj7, dom7, min7 and min7b5) are demonstrated in the video lesson.

There is only one more arpeggio exercise left to learn after this one!

Arpeggios around every Ionian scale shape!

This final arpeggio exercise will teach you how every major scale shape has 7 arpeggios within it.

Just like you did with chord progressions, we can find each arpeggio inside every major scale shape.

The video guitar lesson demonstrate this by moving up the scale: I II III IV V VI VII.

Remember to practice in all areas of the neck and in all keys.

What now?

When this is all good, adapt the exercise to move down the scale.

Also follow the cycle of 4th and 3rd.

As with the Chord Progression Master exercise, try this for your ultimate arpeggio exercise:


Learn how to arpeggio substitute!

You could just play the corresponding arpeggio over any of the chords within a key as the table below show.

. If the chord is Cmaj7; you play a Cmaj7 arpeggio,
. If the chord is G7; you play a G7 arpeggio.

What is Arpeggio substitution?

Let’s go back to our chords within a key and look at them in a table.


The way to arpeggio substitute is to play whichever arpeggio that is a third away from the chord:

  • If the chord is a G7 (V) you can play a Bm7b5 arpeggio (VII) since it is a third away (up) from the G7 (V) chord
  • Similarly, the Em7 (III) arpeggio is a third away (down) from the G7 (V) chord.

By substituting arpeggios in this way you create a “bigger sound” compared to if you play the arpeggio that comes with the chord.

The reason you want to learn how to arpeggio substitute is so you don’t have to learn another bunch of arpeggios to achieve “bigger sounds”.

If you were to just keep adding intervals to your arpeggio to build, say a 13 arpeggio, you’d end up with almost every note of the Mixolydian scale.

This wouldn’t sound like an arpeggio anymore, it would sound like a scale.

How can arpeggio substitution make the arpeggio sound bigger?

Let’s take the G7 (V7) as an example:

G7 G B D F
Bm7b5 B D F A
Em7 E G B D

Up a third = 9

The Bm7b5 arpeggio only ads an A, all other notes are the same as in the G7 arpeggio. The A in relation to a G is a 9th.

By playing the arpeggio a third up from the given chord we get the effect of a 9th arpeggio.

Down a third = 13

To create an even bigger sounding arpeggio we can move a third down.

As you can see, the Em7 arpeggio has just one more note than the G7 arpeggio, that note is an E.

The E in relation to G is a 6th (or 13th) interval.

So, by arpeggio substituting a third down from the given chord you get a 13 sounding arpeggio.

We create an even “bigger sound” than we did by moving a third up.

To get musical examples and put your arpeggio shapes to the test, take the Master Guitar Course.