Jazz Blues Arpeggios for Guitar (3 Exercises and 1 Study)

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Jazz Blues Arpeggios for Guitar
When learning how to play arpeggios over the jazz blues chord progression, or any tune for that matter, the easiest approach you
can take in is to learn the arpeggio shapes within one position on the fretboard.This means that you’ll be able to play arpeggios over each chord in the progression
without moving your hand up or down
the fretboard, or with a minimal movement up and down the fretboard.
By doing so, you will be able to outline each chord in your solos, nailing the chord tones in your improvised lines, while making
it easy on your hands at the same time, as you won’t be making any unnecessary leaps or shifts in your playing.
The following lesson provides you an outline of how to play arpeggios over a Bb jazz blues progression in one position, how to
practice these arpeggios in your studies, and a sample study written out to provide you an example of these shapes in action.
Bb Jazz Blues Arpeggios – Bars 1-4
Here are the shapes you can learn to play over bars 1 to 4 in a Bb jazz blues, starting with the Bb7 arpeggio on the 6 string
and moving to the Eb7 arpeggio on the 5 string.
By mixing these string sets, you will be able to practice, learn, and later solo with these arpeggio shapes over a Bb jazz
blues progression without moving your hand up or down the fretboard.
Bb Jazz Blues Arpeggios – Bars 5-8
Mo v
ing on, here are the four arpeggios for bars 5 to 8 in a Bb jazz blues, all played without moving your hand on the
fretboard.
You will notice that the last arpeggio (G7b9) doesn’t have a root note within this shape. This is because you are using a
Bdim7 arpeggio over the G7b9 chord. This is a very common approach to using arpeggios over 7b9 chords, playing a dim7
arpeggio from the 3 of the underlying chord in order to highlight the 3-5-b7-b9 intervals over that underlying chord.
th
th
rd 1

To get a 7b9 sound, play a diminished arpeggio starting on the 3rd of the dominant chord.
Example: play a Bdim7 arpeggio over G7
If this is a new concept for you, try putting on a G7b9 backing track and solo over that single chord using the Bdim7 arpeggio in
order to get this rootless arpeggio sound under your fingers and into your ears before taking it to the full jazz blues chord
progression.
Bb Jazz Blues Arpeggios – Bars 9-12
In the final four bars of the Bb jazz blues progression, you will mo
ve your hand a few frets to play the F7 arpeggio, adding a
bit of a shift up the neck by a few frets in order to use the same shape for F7 as you did for the Eb7 arpeggio in this exercise.
Sometimes you will need to make a decision between using a new fingering for an arpeggio, such as F7 in this blues
progression, or moving around the neck a few frets in order to use the same shape as you did earlier in the tune.
There is no right or wrong way to approach this, so try both methods out and see which one works better for you in your
studies. 2

Easy Jazz Blues Arpeggios – Directional Exercises
Now that you have the Bb jazz blues arpeggio shapes under your fingers in one position, you can work on a few exercises in
order to memorize these shapes and work on transitioning between each shape over the 12-bar progression.
In the following exercises, you will see a single direction applied to each arpeggio, written out over the first four bars of the Bb
jazz blues in the examples.
Once you have the first four bars down, continue each directional approach to the arpeggio over the whole 12-bar
progression in order to take it further in your studies.
To begin, here are the first four bars to a Bb jazz blues progression with the arpeggios all ascending through the chords. 3

Moving on, here are the same four bars, but this time all of the arpeggios are
descending over the changes.
Exercise - 2 Lastly, you can also alternate
one arpeggio up and one arpeggio down and you practice these shapes over the jazz blues
chord changes.
Exercise - 3Bb Jazz Blues Arpeggio Study
To finish your intro to in-position jazz blues arpeggios, here is a sample study written out over the Bb jazz blues chord
progression. Start by learning to play the study as written, memorizing it if possible, in order to get an idea of how you can
apply these arpeggio shapes to a musical situation.
From there, try writing out an arpeggio study of your own , using the shapes in this lesson, as well as putting on a Bb jazz
blues backing track and soloing over those changes using only the arpeggios you learned in this article. 4Exercise - 1

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