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Minor Arpeggio Pattern #3 for Guitar

By Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell

An arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played one at a time instead of simultaneously. It’s sort of the exploded view of a chord. Minor arpeggios can be applied to guitar music in minor keys and in major keys that contain minor chords. That includes just about everything! When the music you’re playing calls for a minor chord, you can play a minor chord, or you can use a minor arpeggio for a different texture. You can also use a minor arpeggio as a single-note idea if the underlying harmony corresponds to the arpeggio’s minor chord counterpart.

Only one note defines the difference between a major and a minor arpeggio — and that’s the 3rd of the chord. If you’ve practiced the major arpeggio patterns, these exercises may appear eerily familiar because the majority of the notes in any minor arpeggio and its corresponding major counterpart are the same! But the musical effect couldn’t be more different.

As you work through these arpeggios, play each one slowly, loudly, and deliberately at first to build strength and confidence in your fingers. Then play them faster and lighter, which better simulates the way arpeggios appear in real music. Just be sure to maintain your starting tempo and dynamic level (loudness) throughout each exercise.

Minor arpeggio pattern #3 spans a bit less than two octaves, there are fewer notes in this pattern than in patterns #1 and #2. The good news is that you can memorize these patterns a little faster.

To see the neck diagram and corresponding music and tab for minor arpeggio pattern #3 in the key of D minor, check out the following figure. Play through the notes of the figure slowly to make sure you can get all the notes to sound smooth and clear. Then gradually build up speed in order to prepare for the exercises in rhythm that follow.


Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

The following exercise uses minor arpeggio pattern #3 in 3rd-position C minor. This sequence presents a good opportunity to try a 3rd-finger mini-barre across the 4th and 3rd strings. Doing so helps create a legato sound.


The next exercise you can try is in 1st-position Bb minor, and you can take a staccato approach here, where all the notes are short and detached. Use no mini-barres, and jump the 3rd finger across the 4th and 3rd strings as the normal fingering for the pattern indicates.