Diatonic Seventh Arpeggios One of my favorite applications of sweep picking is using it to play diatonic seventh arpeggios. Most players never graduate beyond triads, and although they are very useful there is another world of arpeggios waiting to be discovered and applied. Using seventh arpeggios in combination with the concept of superimposing various arpeggios over chords can set your playing apart from others—you can become like an inspired painter who passionately splashes bursts of color on to his canvas.
Before we get to making music with seventh arpeggios, let’s take a listen to all of the diatonic 7th arpeggios in the key of E minor. Check out this video to hear how they sound (plus a little gratuitous jamming at the end) and refer to the TAB for picking directions.
Vinnie Moore/John Petrucci inspired sweep picking lick Here's a cool sweep picking lick that combines a few different seventh arpeggios from the key of E minor. I’m using E minor 7th, G major 7th, B minor 7th and C major 7th arpeggios in the middle of a line all over an E minor chord. Hopefully you can really hear the colors these create and will begin to do some experimenting yourself.
I love the way players like Vinnie Moore, John Petrucci, Frank Gamble, Ritchie Kotzen and other rock players use seventh arpeggios in their playing. To me their sound is like adding a big splash of color to your sonic palette. A key to getting a great sound with these is to mix them up freely within a given key. Don't just play an E minor 7th over an E minor chord, try playing a G major 7th or a B minor 7th over that chord and see how cool it sounds. In this lick I've done just that...I just picked the arpeggios from the key of E minor that I liked best and created a lick with those arpeggios as the centerpiece.
On the technical side of things just pay close attention to the picking directions in the TAB and check out the fingerings in the video for reference. This is a bit of a tricky lick, but even played at slower speeds still sounds great. Take it slow and build up speed and clarity over time.
Have fun see how many variations you can create using your own combination of seventh arpeggios.