In our second unit, we learn a crucial set of arpeggios that we can use to expand our blues soloing, and even chord playing. Learning dominant 7th arpeggios allows us to target chord tones as we move through our 12 bar blues progression, which in turn helps you sound more deliberate and in control of your improvisation. It also opens the door for many more aspects of your playing to improve, so pick up your guitars and let's get started! Check out the first video to get started and click here to check out the Materials Section below to access backing tracks!
First up, let's check out the construction of our dominant 7th arpeggios, based around the key of G. Here is the formula you need to remember:
It's important that as you learn the arpeggio shapes, you focus on learning where the root, 3rd, 5th and b7th notes are so that you can deliberately find those notes when needed. In this lesson, we'll tackle the E and D shape versions of the dominant 7th arpeggio, so get these learnt first!
Next up, we'll work through the final 3 CAGED shapes for the dominant 7th arpeggios. It's so helpful if you know your CAGED chord system at this point, and especially the Dominant 7th CAGED chords that we learnt in Level 1 of our Blues Essentials courses. Once you have these 3 shapes together, try to group them with the previous two and get them into your practice routine!
We'll take the arpeggios and put them together into one super cool exercise! In this lesson we'll work with the Key of G7, then switch to C7 in the next lesson!
a little tip...
When you are working through this exercise be sure to call out the notes "root, 3rd, 5th and b7th" as you get to them. Of course, this doesn't need to be done as you speed up, just when you are running through it more slowly.
Now it's time to take the same exercise and do it in the key of C. In this instance, we'll start on the A shape position, as that is based around the 3rd fret, and work our way up from there!
a little exercise...
As you run through both the G7 and C7 exercise try setting a timer and stopping when it goes off. When you stop, can you see exactly what CAGED shape you are in and find the root, 3rd, 5th and b7th within it? If not, this is a great thing to practice as part of your exercise. Good luck!
In this lesson, let's take one key (we'll take A as an example) and bring together a range of elements. We can use our A minor and A major pentatonic scales, and we'll draw up the E shape position for both of those to start with. Then, we can bring in our A7 arpeggio, D7 arpeggio and E7 arpeggio to target those notes as we find ourselves on those chords. This will help you define the changes, as well as keep you grounded with your pentatonic positions, which you will be more comfortable playing in at this point.
accept the good and bad!
At this point, and in fact, always, it's about having fun! Trial and error, see what works, what doesn't work so well and have a lot of compassion for yourself when you get things "wrong". It's all a journey and a fun process, so enjoy that ride! Use the scale shapes and arpeggios here to play around with it over our slow blues backing tracks, or any slow blues tracks you have elsewhere.