Adding Dominant 7 Arpeggios to Blues Improvisation

13 Jan

Hi There,

After my last post on ‘Understanding the Blues’ you are now aware that the Blues scale works great over Dominant 7th chords despite the note clashes.

Now what you can also use on top of that is Dominant 7 arpeggios.

An Arpeggio is essentially playing the notes that make up the chord sequentially (one after the other).

So an E7 chord contains the notes E,G#,B and D – this also makes up the 4 notes in an E7 arpeggio.

What arpeggio’s do is provide you with an additional set of notes to work with as well as the Blues scale which create different sounds.

So the E blues scale is E, G, A, Bb,B and D

an E7 arpeggio is E,G#,B and D

So you’ve got the G# in addition to the Blues scale.

Now in terms of coming up with riffs – play for example your E blues scale (first shape) over an E blues progression (E7,A7 and B7)

Then come up with a riff using an E7 arpeggio (in the CAGED system this would be the E shape) over the same sequence.

What that gives you is 2 different sound banks to work with – the Blues scale with the G is more Minor sounding and the Arpeggio more Major with the G#

So you want to see them as slightly different things but at the same time both work great over any blues progression.

To integrate them both into your playing – practice using a few notes from the Blues scale and then switch to the arpeggios.

It’s best not to overlay the Arpeggios onto the Blues Scale as there will be too many notes – Blues remember is all about feel so keep it simple!

Thanks for reading


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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in The Blues


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