Minor 7th Arpeggio on Two Strings
In the previous exercise from this guitar lesson, you played an arpeggio progression made up from a D Major 7th arpeggio and its inversions. If you are just jumping in here for the first time, I recommend you see the previous exercise, since we are building upon ideas.
We are now going to look at how to play a Minor 7th arpeggio across two strings, similar to what we did with a Major 7th arpeggio.
Tablature for this exercise:
In the tab you will see I don't indicate picking or legato - just play as you see fit. For an aggressive sound go for alternate picking, for a smoother sound use a combination of picking and hammer ons/pull offs.
I notated the exercise as triplets, as I think the exercise lends itself nicely to triplets. So as you are playing really accent the triplet feel. In each bar, for the first several beats you are repeating the same pattern, but at the end of each measure I mix things up a bit, just to give some variety in the phrasing of these arpeggio lines. You should feel free to mix things up however you see fit - the main idea is to get these shapes imprinted in your mind, so get creative and come up with your own patterns!
You will also notice that from one measure to the next I indicate a slide. The sliding may be the trickiest part of the exercise, so really pay attention to those position shifts and execute smoothly.
For those looking to build their speed, once you are comfortable playing as triplets try playing as sextuplets at around 120 BPM or faster.
Another useful tip is for you to call out the notes and intervals as you play them. For instance in measure 1, play the first couple beats slowly and say "Flat 7th D, root E, flat 3rd G, 5th B, flat 7th D ..." and so on. This will get the idea of intervals buried into your subconscious and it will help you memorize notes on the fretboard.
Criteria for Mastery: You can play the exercise cleanly as triplets at 180 BPM or faster and you understand how we constructed these Minor 7th arpeggio patterns on the fretboard
In the theory section to the introduction from this guitar lesson, I talked about how certain degrees/notes of a Major Scale correspond to different types of 7th arpeggios/chords. You might recall that the 2nd, 3rd, and 7th degrees of the Major Scale correspond to Minor 7th arpeggios.
In the previous exercise, I talked about naming conventions for arpeggios. For instance, a Major 7th arpeggio can be named R, 3, 5, 7. In the case of the Minor 7th Arpeggio that we are looking at in this exercise, we can name it R, b3, 5, b7. Since in this exercise we are dealing with an Em7 arpeggio, this means that it has the root of an E Major Scale (G), a flatted 3rd (G), a 5th (B), and a flatted 7th (D).
To look at this process, it helps to see things in standard notation as well as on the fretboard. Below shows a C Maj7 and Cm7 arpeggio/chord, where see the flatting of the 3rd and 7th to turn CMaj7 into Cm7.
On the fretboard, we can visualize this in many ways, for instance as shown below (this is not showing C Major and C Minor 7th, but the idea is that regardless of what the root note is, you have the same thing happening visually), where we see this for a 3rd inversion of a Major and Minor arpeggio (the 3rd inversion really lends itself nicely to phrasing on the guitar!).
Since the previous exercise in this lesson had you playing a D Major 7th arpeggio, we can view this exercise - which is an E Minor 7th arpeggio - as the II-m7 arpeggio in the key of D Major. We could have also chosen F# or B, which would have been the III-m7 and VI-m7 arpeggios in the key of D. So as an exercise, instead of playing the E Minor 7th arpeggio that we are using above, try coming up with your own arpeggio sequence using an F# or a B Minor 7th arpeggio. That process of applying knowledge will do wonders for increasing your overall musical ability, and will also help you in composing your own music. So give it a try!