Playing a Minor 7th Arpeggio String Skipping Style
In this first exercise of the guitar lesson, we will continue to expand your knowledge of arpeggios by showing you how to use some basic theory to figure out how to construct 7th arpeggios on the fretboard that lends itself to the string skipping technique.
Now that we have a fairly comfortable shape for the Minor 7th arpeggio, let's get our fingers accustomed too playing it. By the way, I think Paul Gilbert used this shape in his string skipping exercise from his Intense Rock video series - so we aren't inventing anything new here! The key is for you to understand how we can go about coming up with interesting ways to use technique, simply based on some theory background.
Don't worry, this exercise is not as frightening as it looks. Because we are using a very efficient shape for the Minor 7th arpeggio, you will see that it lends itself to smooth execution.
Also, you will notice I indicate legato style for the exercises, but feel free to play however you want. And while I indicate time signatures and rhythmic groupings, don't get too caught up - that is just so that I could notate it in a convenient way. Ultimately this exercise is not about playing such lines in a strict way, but to develop the ability to string skip fluidly.
First, be sure to execute Ex 1A smoothly, and when you are ready to turn up the heat, then move on to Ex 1B. Once you are burning up the fretboard with Ex 1B, then take a look at Ex 2, which shows you how to combine string skipping with tapping to come up with some really cool phrases!
By the way, feel free to play similar lines using the first arpeggio shape in the fretboard diagram. It will be far more challenging, but will open up yet another phrasing possibility!
Criteria for Mastery: You can play Ex1B and Ex2 smoothly at 100 BPM or faster and that you understand how to construct a Minor 7th arpeggio on the fretboard
I want to point out that in the fretboard diagram, I am not showing the note names. Instead I am referring to the arpeggio tones. This is a very useful way to look at arpeggios and chords, because you start to see how any given arpeggio/chord can be thought of as a modified version of another arpeggio/chord.
In the case of a Minor 7th arpeggio, we say that it has a root, flat third, fifth, and flat 7th.
We refer to the tones this way because we are referencing everything to a Major Scale, in which case we say a Major Scale has tones R (root), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. So when we say a Minor 7th has tones R, b3, 5, b7, we are saying, "take the root, 3rd, 5th, and 7th of a Major Scale, but flat the 3rd and 7th."
As we get into other types of scales and arpeggios in other guitar lessons, you will see that referencing tones this way comes in handy, and it also helps you to visualize the tones on the fretboard and see how to change them to create other scale and arpeggio types. For instance, later in this guitar lesson I will talk about the Minor 7th (b5) arpeggio. Based on what I just explained, you will understand that all you need to do is flat the 5th of a Minor 7th arpeggio and you end up with the Minor 7th (b5). Knowing this, you can then modify and Minor 7th arpeggio shape - be it string skipping, sweep picking, tapping - and end up with the new arpeggio type, instead of having to think about all the tones in the new arpeggio. This is a very powerful way of thinking that allows you to master the fretboard!