Major 7th Guitar Arpeggios
Major 7th arpeggios are really exciting to learn because they can help you to start playing over chord changes. For example, if you were playing over an A major or A major 7 chord you could use an A major 7 arpeggio in addition to playing a regular A major or A major pentatonic scale. This can really give you some cool new colors and sounds to work with when you are soloing.
We will be in the key of A major for this lesson. The A major scale is spelled 1A 2B 3C# 4D 5E 6F# 7G#. In the key of A major you will have two opportunities to use major 7 arpeggios. The A and the D notes both have major 7 chords that go along with them. We will be learning two major 7 arpeggio shapes, one for the A major 7 and one for the D major 7. Check out the chord diagrams and TAB for each one if you have any questions about the fingerings or picking.
Start with the A major 7 shape. Play the 5th fret of the 6th string with your 2nd finger using a downstroke. Move to the 4th fret of the 5th string with your 1st finger using a downstroke and then use an upstroke on 7th fret of 5th string with your 4th finger.
Downstroke on 6th fret of 4th string with your 3rd finger. Upstroke 7th fret of 4th string with your 4th finger. Downstroke on the 6th fret 3rd string with your 3rd finger.
Downstroke on the 5th fret of the 2nd string using your 2nd finger. Downstroke on the 4th fret of the 1st string with your 1st finger. Upstroke on the 5th fret of 1st string with your 2nd finger.
That is the entire ascending version of this major 7th arpeggio shape. The up and downstroke indicators are recommendations not rules. If you find a picking pattern that works better for you feel free to use it. I will spare you the lengthy description of the descending portion of this arpeggio and just let you check out the TAB. We have included the left hand finger numbers and the up and downstroke picking indicators for you.
The D major 7 arpeggio shape that we will be learning has its root on the 5th fret of the 5th string and is based off of a C major arpeggio shape. If you know this regular C shaped D major arpeggio all you have to do is add two C# notes to it. Add the C# on the 4th fret of the 5th string and another C# on the 2nd fret of the 2nd string. Check out the TAB for the picking pattern and fingerings
Grab a recorder or get a friend to switch back and forth between an A major 7 and a D major 7. Practice these two arpeggios over those chords. Move these two arpeggio shapes around to as many places as you can and start trying to use them in conjunction with your scales when you solo.