Extended Arpeggios, Part 2

Hello friends and welcome back to our visit with extended arpeggios. Last time we discussed seventh chord arpeggios and thier applications. This time around we will extend the arpeggios further and discuss ninth chord, and some various other modifications.

Ninth Chord Arpeggios

Building off of the last column we will get straight to the meat of ninth chords by going straight to the formulas for the arpeggios we will be covering. The formulas are as follows: major9 (1-3-5-7-9), minor9 (1-b3-5-b7-9), and dominant9 (1-3-5-b7-9). To apply these diatonically all you need to do is to plug them into this formula: 1st scale step (major9) - 2nd scale step (minor9) - 3rd scale step (minor9) - 4th scale step (major9) - 5th scale step (dominant9) - 6th scale step (minor9) - 7th scale step (diminished/half-diminished).

These will pay off immediately as they sound incredibly sophisticated. You don't have to adhere strictly to the formula above when playing diatonically, you can freely mix triad arpeggios, seventh chord arpeggios and ninth chord arpeggios as long as you are making sure you have the right chord quality on the right scale step. One could even argue it would sound better to mix the different types of arpeggios together.

Just as with seventh chord arpeggios, the ninth chord arpeggios can give sophistication to playing over root fifth power chords that can really set you're playing apart. Try outlining chords with the triad arpeggios and then go to the ninth chord arpeggios and I think you will see what I mean.

Additional Notes to add

If you want to go crazy with the additions you can in addition to the ninth add the eleventh as well. Just add the eleventh to all of the minor ninth arpeggios and a sharp eleventh to all the major and dominant arpeggios, being sure to leave the diminished alone. This will take the sound to a whole new level, and make triads seem downright bland in comparison. Now I am not saying that I don't think triads sound good but the extended arpeggios have the whole elegant sophisticated thing going on. I don't think that is a bad thing. Check em' out!


Scott Allen is a 1996 graduate of the Musician's Institute, G.I.T. He currently teaches guitar to 65 to 70 students weekly at Northridge Music Center.

His latest CD is entitled "III", featuring his impressively fluid playing, with a style marked by an incendiary sense of phrasing.

Scott Allen

Send comments or questions to: