Guitar Arpeggios – A minor bebop

The minor bebop scale is a 8 note scale which utilises the same intervals as the natural minor scale along with 2 additional notes; often played as passing tones in styles such as jazz.

The intervals and notes of A minor bebop are:

Iii ♭iiiIVVVi ♭ ViiVii
ABCDEF#GG#

The ‘additional’ intervals in this scale are the Vi and the Major Vii.

One of the key elements that makes this scale sound so unique is the use of both a Major and a minor Vii interval, which is also a feature in the dominant bebop scale.

This attribute also leads the scale into having 4 consecutive notes between the Vi interval back up to the root note on a higher octave.

Having additional notes in the scale gives us a lot of extension options to pick from when deciding our rhythmic chords and ultimately, the intervals for our arpeggio sequence, and so, we will begin by listing the 7th extensions from each scale tone below and build our patterns from them.

A minor 7ACEG
B minor 7BDF#A
C Major 7CEGB
D Dominant 7DF#AC
E minor 7EGBD
F# minor 7♭5 F#ACE
G Major 7GBDF#
G# minor 7♭5 G#BDF#

Next, we are going to decipher every interval available from each root note, up to 7th extensions:

AMaj 2min 3Per 4Per 5Maj 6min 7Maj 7
Bmin 2min 3Per 4Per 5min 6Maj 6min 7
CMaj 2Maj 3Aug 4Per 5min 6 Maj 6Maj 7
DMaj 2 Maj 3Per 4 Dim 5Per 5Maj 6min 7
EMaj 2min 3Maj 3Per 4Per 5 min 6min 7
F#min 2Maj 2min 3Per 4Dim 5min 6min 7
Gmin 2Maj 2Maj 3Per 4Per 5Maj 6Maj 7
G#min 2 min 3Maj 3Dim 5min 6min 7Maj 7

Using the above intervals, we can decided all of our extensions from each root note quite easily, whilst always keeping the notes of our patterns within the scale.

Since this scale is often used in jazz music, we may also go further with extensions and add the respected 9th, 11th and 13th extensions like so:

AMaj 9Per 11Maj 13
Bmin 9Per 11min 13
CMaj 9Aug 11min 13Maj 13
DMajPer 11Aug 11Maj 13
EMaj 9Per 11 min 13
F#min 9Maj 9Per 11Aug 11min 13
Gmin 9Maj 9Per 11Maj 13
G#min 9Aug 11

And finally, now that we have a structured list of all the possible intervals to pick from when building extensions, we are going to compile a list of some of our possible pattern extensions below, along with the corresponding notes:

A min 7ACEG
A minMajor 7ACEG#
A minMajor add 9ACEB
B minor 7BDF#A
B minor 9BDF#AC
B minor 13BDAC F#
C Major 7CEGB
C Major 7♭5CEF#B
C Major 9CEGBD
D Dominant 7DF#AC
D Major 6DF#AB
D Dominant 7 add 9DF#ACE
E minor 7EGBD
E Dominant 7EG#BD
E minor 6EGBC
F# minor 7♭5 F#ACE
F# minor 9 (omit 5)F#AEG
F# minor 13F#AEGC
G Major 7GBDF#
G Major 9 GBDF#A
G Major 7♭9 GBDF#G#
G# minor 7♭5 G#BDF#
G# Major 7♭5 G#CDG
G# Dominant 7♭5 G#CDF#

This rather exhausting list with three variations from each scale tone is just a small amount of the possibilities within this scale! However, what we already have in front of us is a great deal to work with, and the use of further modulations (such as sus notes!) can be included as we go further with our compositions.

Example 1:

Whilst listening to this example and reading along to the notation, you may be a little confused by the rhythm, under the assumption that you are unfamiliar with swing rhythm.

Regardless of the notation suggestion a consistent quaver pattern, the progression actually takes form of crotchet plus a quaver note per beat.

This starter exercise is great for getting your fingers warmed up!

Example 2:

Here we have a standard 4/3 string arpeggio progression with an easy ascend/descend pattern to help practice both finger picking and sweep picking arpeggio shapes.

It’s very simple to make, yet sounds like a great framework to build a classical type composition with.

Example 3:

This example highlights a few neat features that should be considered when creating with arpeggios. The first is the use of open chord shapes which you are likely already comfortable transitioning between. Since these shapes are easy to perform, it is useful to use them when practising your picking technique, as you won’t need to focus as much attention on your fretting hand.

Example 4:

We have left a lot of room for expansion with this tab for you to test your arpeggio formulating skills.

What you will get from this example however is a handful of very important arpeggio shapes (minor7, Major7, Dominant7) From both E string and A string roots.

Example 5:

This exercise is a great way to get your fingers moving with arpeggios built from chord shapes with scale run melodies placed between.

A few patterns in this example will also benefit your finger stretching, without being overly challenging and painful on your hands!

Example 6:

Now we are getting into chord-melody style, with arpeggios performed between chord progressions.

If you already have experience with a handful of extended chord shapes then this progression should not be to much of a challenge for you.

If however you are not as familiar, it will be difficult at first to comfortably move between these chords and melodic lines. You may wish to practice extended chords without the melody’s first to give your fingers the muscle memory of how each chord is fingered.

Example 7:

This fun little groove makes use of some short arpeggios in between some 2/3 note harmonies.

It’s also great to practice finger picking multiple strings at the same time throughout a melodic progression.

Example 8:

This exercise is built from a chord progression, with each chord actioned as an arpeggio after performed, with an added melody in between.

Your index finger will be required to bar all 6 strings throughout this exercise which will help you build/maintain your finger strength.

The way the arpeggiated chord roles down the strings will also help you work on your picking hand as you won’t need to think about the pattern, since you are just following the shape of the chord last performed.

Thank you for learning with MeYou! We hope you have enjoyed this lesson 😀

If you would like to check out our other available guitar arpeggio lessons, click here!