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I know in the past few lessons I've stressed how important it is to work on rhythms and developing a feel or an internal rhythm. This to me is the essence of working in a rhythm section and being a bass player.

This lesson we're going to look at learning and playing major 7 arpeggios.

So what is an arpeggio and why do you need to learn them? Well an arpeggio is basically the notes of a chord played individually in succession. The notes are usually taken from a corresponding scale that the chord is related to. The need to learn this stuff is because as a bass player, you are responsible for two things: Harmony and Rhythm. The rhythm thing we covered a couple of times already. Harmony however is a bit different. You need to be able to look at or hear a chord and know what notes are available to you in that chord to be able to build a bass line. Your knowledge of scales and arpeggios will help you to build better and more interesting bass lines.

Let's take a look at Example 1. It's just a simple one octave C major scale. You can play this scale easily in three different positions on most basses. Just please be sure to follow my fingerings for now. Third fret on your A string (C3A or 2nd position). Eighth fret on your E string (C8E or 7th position). Fifteenth fret on your A string (C15A or 14th position) one octave above the C on the third fret of your A string.

The notes or intervals we need for our arpeggio would be C (root) E (major 3rd) G (perfect 5th) and B (major 7th). These notes give us a C Major 7 chord or arpeggio like I've shown in Example 2. You can leave off the 7th for just a C Major chord. Every Major and Major 7 arpeggio is built off of these intervals from a major scale. Root, M3rd, P5th, M7th. Once you get comfortable with the fingering, it's just a matter of remembering it for each of the twelve Major 7 arps.

Let's look at a G Major scale now just to make sure you've got it. Example 3 shows you the G major scale in one octave with the fingerings. Again, this one octave sale can be played in three different positions on your bass. G3E(2nd pos.), G10A(9th pos.) and G15E(14th pos.)

Example 4 shows how you take the G (root), B (major 3rd), D (perfect 5th), and F# (major 7th) to make up the arpeggio for this chord.

Now it's up to you to take this lesson and learn all twelve of the Major 7 arpeggios in one octave for now. Be sure to play the major scale first and then pick out the notes of the arps as you play them. Be sure to say them as you play them too. This helps you to learn the notes quicker. Next lesson we'll cover another chord quality.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this lesson, email me at I always try to respond ASAP!!!!



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