Min7b5 Arpeggios Guitar Lesson – Step 4

Arpeggios Guitar Lesson - S4
This may be the most difficult arpeggio to master but since you have done the previous three, you got the routine down now and just need to put the time in!

Use The min7b5 Arpeggio Instead Of Locrian To Extend Your V Chords!

The min7b5 arpeggio is very important to know, it belongs to the VII chord and can consequentially be used whenever the VII chord is played, although this is pretty rare!

The mode for the VII chord is Locrian, a very difficult mode to phrase well with. Since the min7b5 chord is so complex sounding it is rarely used for more than a bar making the arpeggio a better solution than the full scale anyway.

You can also substitute the VII arpeggio over the V chord, creating a dom9 sound.

This is the most useful way for it since it’s a great way to add a bit more tension to a dom7 chord, without sounding like we’re “totally out there”. A nice in-between alternative for the V chord which often becomes either too plain (dom7 arpeggio only) or too out there (tritone substitute).

To substitute using the min7b5 arpeggio, play it from the 3rd of your dom7 chord. For example, C#m7b5 over an A7 chord. Do this and you create the sound of an A9, not just an A7.

The most difficult shape

Compared with the other 7th note arpeggios we practised in previous steps, the min7b5 is the most difficult to learn. I’ve found a great way to visualise it, which is to picture the minor blues scale but remove the 4th and 5th.

Because of the b5, the notes don’t line up on the fretboard as easily as the other arpeggios. Also, the sound is pretty out there in comparison!

But this is also what is so great about it. When you add it in a solo, it tends to pop out and add just enough tension.

When you can play as the videos demonstrate, as well as start each shape on the remaining 11 notes, you’re ready to move on to the next step, connecting arpeggio shapes.

Using TAB, practising the min7b5 looks like this in a Cm shape for the first five arpeggios.

Min7b5 Arpeggios Cm shape

Min7b5 Arpeggios Guitar Lessons | Related Pages

Arpeggios | Step-by-step guitar course

The min7b5 arpeggio is the fourth to learn in this arpeggios course.

There are only four CAGED arpeggio shapes to learn on the guitar, the min7, the maj7, the dom7, and the min7b5.

In the step-by-step arpeggio course, we master all these arpeggios in all CAGED shapes, an essential skill to acquire if you want to improvise.

Minor Blues

There's a connection between the Minor Blues scale and the min7b5 arpeggio.

The Minor Blues scale (often referred to as just the blues scale), is simply a Minor Pentatonic with an added b5.

Since you know your Minor Pentatonic so well by now, this is easy and also the first step to understanding that you can soon build any minor scale.

Guitar Chords

To understand the min7b5 arpeggio chord shapes, you must connect them with the CAGED guitar chord shapes.

Using traditional music theory, the stave, and a piano, you’ll get easy-to-understand chords but they will not help if you want to play chords on the guitar.

Instead, on the guitar, we use chord shapes derived from the five open-position chords, C, A, G, E, and D, hence CAGED.

Extend barre chords

In order to understand the min7b5 arpeggio, you must compare it to how the min7b5 chord shapes are created.

Let’s extend all CAGED barre chords to min7, maj7, dom7, and the awkward min7b5. These are all possible to play!

Following the introduction video, you get individual videos demonstrating how to play this, moving through all CAGED chord shapes.



Spytunes chords, scale, and arpeggio software, Chordacus is a refined version of the so-called CAGED system.

Now available as both a chromatic (original version) and “within a key”, developed with the help of a Spytunes student.

About me

Dan Lundholm wrote this guitar lesson on min7b5 arpeggios.

This guitar lesson on min7b5 arpeggios was written by Dan Lundholm. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.

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