Minor Arpeggio Pattern #2 for Guitar - dummies

Minor Arpeggio Pattern #2 for Guitar

By Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell

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.

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.

The following figure shows a C minor arpeggio in 5th position in a neck diagram and in music and tab. Of the seven notes in this pattern, the 4th finger plays four of them, so use this exercise to concentrate on building up your 4th-finger strength. Make sure you keep your finger curved and don’t let the knuckles flatten out.


Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

The following figure shows minor arpeggio pattern #2 in 2nd-position A minor. For a more legato effect, try a 4th-finger mini-barre across the top three strings. If you have a little more trouble playing a 4th-finger mini-barre than playing a 1st- or 2nd-finger mini-barre, it may help to stack the 3rd finger on top of the 4th and bear down with both fingers.


The following exercise uses minor arpeggio pattern #2 in 3rd-position Bb minor. Pre-fret (that is, place your fingers down before you start to play the exercise) the 6th and 5th strings with your 4th and 2nd fingers. Pre-fretting is almost like getting a head start on playing the exercise. Look for other opportunities to get your fingers in position before the exercise begins.