Dominant 7 Arpeggio Blues Licks

As I mentioned in the previous lesson - it can be difficult to make arpeggios sound right in a blues - they tend to sound kinda stiff and just not right.

But by framing the 3rd we get a lot closer and so in this lesson I want to share 5 licks with you that you might like to use as starting points to explore and create your own licks - blending the arpeggio into the style you like to play in!

Lick 1

I deliberately started this one down on the low root which is an unusual place to start - at least it should be - but I see people drawn to starting on that low root all the time, so at least if you have a lick that gets you out of there it'll be better than running up a scale or arpeggio!

The only real tricky bits are folding the finger on beat 3 (the 7th fret on string 5 to string 4) which is sometimes awkward under the fingers. Also be sure to do the slide on string 3 with finger 2 or you'll get into a tangle!

Lick 2

This simple little idea can be made more complex using tools like rhythmic displacement or doubling notes, but I left it super simple here as I suspect many will find it a little stretchy anyways.

A super cool variation is moving the top 2 notes down 1 fret (and leaving the note on Fret 5 where it was) and you end up with a D7 arpeggio which is awesome for moving from I to IV in a blues! I little trick I stole from Joe Satriani's Big Bad Moon, but the idea is used frequently by many blues players.

Lick 3

This lick is strictly Dom 7 arpeggio with framed 3rd - but notice the first bend which is up to the major 3rd (9th fret on String 1) but from the 7th fret which is a note we've not started to mix in yet (soon my friends, soon!). I do like ending on the b7 as well - it's got some dissonance in it which I really like!

Lick 4

This slightly longer line is a little more jazzy and hip which is something many people like to mix into their more traditional blues stuff for some interest. 

A key thing here is the last bar where the first 3 notes will all be played with Finger 1 - it starts where it would be for the Minor Pentatonic Scale but then moves back to frame the 3rd - something it's good to get your fingers into the habit of - sounds ace!

Lick 5

I stole this lick from Josh Smith recently and it's super nice - a little double stop slide up, folding the 3rd Finger (yes there is a note outside the arpeggio here - so sue me! ha ha) and a real groovy triplet reverse rake (up pick the notes on the 4th and 5th strings after the slide up double stop)! It's not super easy but it is super cool and worth the effort to nail it imho.

Homework ;)

My suggestion for the next couple of weeks practice would be:

  1. Using an A7 rhythm loop - work on each lick, one at a time - use a comfortable speed.
  2. Once comfortable with a lick - break it into chunks and try to improvise with the chunks and mix in with licks you know.
  3. Then explore each concept from the lick and try to get your own thing going on with the idea too.

Have fun - leave your questions and comments below :)





Blues Lead 4: Changes