Minor Arpeggio Patterns #4 and #5 for Guitar

A guitar 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 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.

Minor arpeggio pattern #4

The following figure shows minor arpeggio pattern #4 in the key of F minor in both a neck diagram and in music and tab format. Play the notes slowly at first so you can get familiar with the pattern. Then work to get the notes smooth and up to tempo before going on to the exercises.

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Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

Now try the following exercise in 3rd-postion Eb minor. The standard way to play this pattern is to use the 2nd finger on the 2nd string. Doing so keeps you in position. However, you do have to stretch down (toward the nut) to reach the first 1st-string note. You can eliminate the stretch between the 2nd and 1st strings if you substitute the 3rd finger for the 2nd finger on the 2nd string.

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The following exercise uses minor arpeggio pattern #4 in 2nd-position D minor. Because you’re in a low position to begin with and have to stretch down to the 1st fret, you’re stretching the maximum possible distance between both your 2nd and 1st fingers and your 1st and 4th fingers. So remember this exercise when you feel like you need to limber up your left hand.

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Minor arpeggio pattern #5

The neck diagram and corresponding music and tab for minor arpeggio pattern #5 in the key of G minor follows. Play the pattern slowly at first and gradually speed up to prepare for the rhythmic exercises that follow.

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Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

When you feel secure with minor arpeggio pattern #5, give the following exercise in 7th-position A minor a try. If you’re game, an alternate fingering works well and avoids using the 4th finger: Starting at the second note of the pattern, use fingers 3-2-3-1 (instead of 4-3-4-2) and play all the notes staccato.

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The next exercise, in 3rd-position F minor, contrasts with the previous exercise by letting the top four strings ring out as a chord: Play the second note with the 3rd finger (instead of the 4th) as you did in the previous exercise. Then use fingers 2-4-1 for the top three strings. Doing so enables you to keep all four fingers down and hold them while they sustain after being played.

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