Last semester I had a student come to me with a long list of audition material that he had to put together in a very short time. Along with tunes, chord progressions and the usual scale fingerings, he had to learn all of his extended jazz guitar arpeggios up to the 13th.
He asked me what fingerings I would use to play each of these extended jazz guitar arpeggios.
After thinking about it for a few minutes, I came up with an approach that would allow him to use the triad and 4-note arpeggios fingerings he already knew, along with a little bit of scale theory, to quickly and efficiently learn all of his 13th arpeggios.
The approach to building extended jazz guitar arpeggios is pretty simple from a technical and theoretical approach, which makes it easy to learn.
On top of that, it can be quickly applied to any chord you’re learning once you get the theory down and the basic shapes under your fingers.
Do you have a question or comment about this lesson? Visit the Extended Jazz Guitar Arpeggios thread at the MWG Forum.
Here’s how this system of building extended jazz guitar arpeggios works. First, take any chord that you want to learn its arpeggio up to the 13th, for example G7.
Here are the notes of a G13 arpeggio:
G – B – D – F – A – C – E
Now, let’s break it down into a 4-note arpeggio and a triad one scale tone above the root like so:
G – B – D – F = G7
A – C – E = Am
So G7 + Am = G13
Now, once you have the concept down, it’s time for the fun part, applying it to the neck of the guitar.
I’m a big fan of using shifting with my extended scale and jazz guitar arpeggio fingerings, so you’ll apply that concept here as well.
If this is new to you, take a few minutes and work on the first example before moving on to the others below.
Here is how I would finger a G7 arpeggio, starting on the 6th and 5th strings:
And here is the Am triad starting on the 4th and 3rd strings:
Now, you can combine these two small, easy to play shapes to form our extended jazz guitar arpeggio as such:
See how it works. Pretty easy right?
You can take this approach and apply it to any chord that you want to learn, say GMaj7(#11), which is Gmaj7+A.
Or how about Gm7 (Gm7+Am):
Or even Gm7b5 (Gm7b5+Ab):
Try some on your own now, maybe G Phrygian, or G7 (#11).
Just take the 4-note chord, find the next triad in the scale and add them together to form your extended jazz guitar arpeggios up to the 13th.
A good way to practice this approach is to play all of the chords in a scale up to the 13th.
This will not only help you visualize the shapes for each 13th chord, but also help you learn the chords for each key and how they relate to each other.
Here are all the chords in a G Major scale up to the 13th, on the 6th and 5th strings.
And here are those same extended jazz guitar arpeggios, but this time for the G Melodic Minor scale.
You can also practice this approach through any tune that you’re learning.
Just start on the first chord, play the extended jazz guitar arpeggios up to the 13th, then move on to the next chord and do the same thing.
Once you can do this without stopping, try improvising a solo using only the notes of each extended jazz guitar arpeggio up to the 13th.
This is a great way to get the changes to any tune in your ears, hands and mind.
Extended jazz guitar arpeggios up to the 13th may sound daunting to learn, but they can be an essential tool when learning how to play jazz guitar.
Try this exercise out and see how it feels, knowing these larger arpeggio shapes will definitely come in handy during many playing situations, and develop your mental and physical dexterity at the same time.
Do you have a favorite way of learning and using 13th arpeggios? If so, please share it in the comments section below.
Click any link below for answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions that I receive from readers, students, workshop participants and Facebook followers about how to learn jazz guitar.
Do you have a question about playing jazz guitar? Post it in the comments section below.