A7 Dominant Arpeggio In Guitar Playing

In an earlier conversation we discussed the differences between guitar arpeggios and guitar scales.

To quickly summarize – a guitar scale is made up of series of notes that fall within a certain key signature. Conversely, an arpeggio is made up of succession of notes that fall within a particular chord.

We are going to break up the A7 dominant arpeggio and just how to play it today.

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To start with, you can remember that a lot of arpeggios include four notes. In the case of the A7 those notes are:

  • A
  • C#
  • E
  • G

In this example we will take a look at playing the A7 arpeggio in the “E contour” place.

Hopefully you are comfortable with playing an “A” barre chord to the fifth fret, which is really in the “E contour”.

To make a chord (at the fifth fret) into an A7 barre chord only lift up your fourth (pinky) guitar lesson finger, and you are now playing an A7.

Here’s how to perform the four notes of the A7 arpeggio beginning with the root note to the 5th fret:







Try playing these four notes, then follow that with strumming the complete A7 chord. This means you are going to help train your ears to hear the notes as well as the way in which they relate back to the chord.

Of course the notes in the above TAB only show the way to play the notes of the arpeggio on strings four, five and six.

To expand that, let us now look at just how to play it over all six strings in the fifth fret position:







Notice this pattern only consists of the four notes of the A7 arpeggio.

You can play this arpeggio in any mixture of notes any time you strike an A7 chord.

Also note that the preceding pattern begins on the root note “A” in the fifth fret of the sixth string. Now that you know the pattern within this spot, all you must do to transpose it is to slide the pattern up or down the neck to the appropriate root note.

Like – to play the C7 arpeggio in the “E shape” position, just slide the preceding design to the eighth fret.

Focus on understanding the design for this particular arpeggio and become fluent in playing it ascending and descending, in addition to with different combinations of notes.

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