Major Seventh Arpeggio Patterns #1 and #2 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. Seventh chords sound richer and more complex than basic major and minor chords, and they’re prevalent in many types of music, including jazz, pop, classical, rock, and blues.
You can derive a major seventh chord in many different ways. One way is to start with a major scale and play 1, 3, 5, 7. So in the key of C, a Cmaj7 (C major seven) chord is spelled C, E, G, B.
Play each arpeggio in this section from low to high slowly, loudly, and deliberately at first. After practicing a few rounds, play each one faster and lighter. No matter what, be sure to maintain your starting tempo and dynamic level throughout the arpeggio.
Major seventh arpeggio pattern #1
The following figure shows an A major seventh arpeggio in 5th position in both a neck diagram and in music and tab. Major seventh arpeggio pattern #1 includes three out-of-position notes — on the 6th, 2nd, and 1st strings. You have to stretch up (toward the bridge) with your 4th finger to reach these notes because they occur one fret above where the finger naturally falls.
The following is an exercise in rhythm in 8th-position C major.
In a major seventh chord arpeggio, the seventh is a half step away from the root, and so it’s powerfully drawn back to the root. Here’s a good habit to get into: Whenever you play major seventh arpeggios, always end on the root, not on the seventh.
Major seventh arpeggio pattern #2
Here’s the neck diagram and corresponding music and tab for major seventh arpeggio pattern #2 in the key of C. The middle part of this pattern can be tricky, so create a mini exercise-within-an-exercise by playing just the notes on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings ascending in a five-note loop that goes, by fingers, 1-4-1-1-4. Then go back down again.
You can flatten your 1st finger to play the consecutive notes on the 3rd and 2nd strings, which both occur at the same fret (the 5th in this example). Use this technique when you want to create a more legato sound between the notes.
Try the following exercise, in the key of D in 7th position, for some practice. You may notice that this pattern doesn’t use the 2nd finger at all, so try watching that finger throughout the pattern to make sure it stays relaxed and hovering above the 8th fret — even during those stretches when the 4th finger reaches the 11th-fret note on the 4th string.