In an earlier discussion we talked about the differences between guitar arpeggios and guitar scales.

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

One of the first arpeggios you will want to learn in your early guitar studies will be the dominant 7 arpeggio.

Today we will break down the A7 dominant arpeggio and how to play it.

First of all, you may remember that most arpeggios consist of four notes. In the case of the A7 those notes are:

A C# E G

In this example we will look at playing the A7 arpeggio in the “E shape” position.

Hopefully you are familiar with playing an “A” barre chord on the fifth fret, which is in the “E shape”.

To make that A barre chord (at the 5th fret) into an A7 barre chord simply lift up your 4th (pinky) finger, and you are now playing an A7.

Here’s how to play the four notes of the A7 arpeggio starting with the root note on the 5th fret:







Try playing those four notes, then follow that with strumming the full A7 chord. This way you will help train your ears to hear the notes and how they relate back to the chord.

Of course the notes in the above TAB only show how to play the notes of the A7 arpeggio on strings four, five and six.

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







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

You could play this arpeggio in any combination of notes any time you encounter an A7 chord.

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

For example – to play the C7 arpeggio in the “E shape” position, simply slide the above pattern to the eighth fret.

Work on learning the pattern for this arpeggio and become fluent in playing it ascending and descending, as well as with various combinations of notes.

Then next time you come across a 7th chord in a progression, whip out your arpeggio and add a little spice to your solo!

Source by Keith Dean