Simple Method to Play Extended Arpeggios

This lessons explains how to play extended chord arpeggios using major and minor 3rd intervals.

Ultimate Guitar

Hi everyone and welcome back, in this lessons will look at using alternating intervals to create and play extended arpeggios.

Before we get into the fun stuff let’s look at what an extended chord is.

Extended chords are triads with notes extended, or added, beyond the seventh. Ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords are extended chords.

In previous lessons we looked at the construction of a chord or triad using the 1st or Root, the 3rd, and 5th note from the scale be it either major or minor.

Now we will be adding more notes to the chord starting with the 7thnote then going on to add the  9th, 11th and the 13th. A chord with the 7th and higher added is called an extended chord.

Here is the scale for C major:

The notes for a c major chord will be:

1 C,   3 – E,   5 - G


If we look at the diagram above we will see that from root note C to the 3rd note of E is a major 3rd interval, then from the 3rd note to the fifth note of G is a minor 3rd.

Now we are going to add the 7th note from the scale to the chord. The seventh note in this case is the B:


This chord is known as C Maj 7.

Let's now look at the C minor scale and add the seventh note to create another extended chord.

Remember the C minor scale consists of the 1, 2 b3, 4, 5, b6, b7, 8.


If we add the 7th this will be the b7 as we have to stay in scale.

This will be the chord of Cm7.

Now let's add the 9th this note will actually be in the second octave of the scale.

This note is D which is also the 2nd note of the scale, however to hear to note correctly we extend to the second octave.


This will now give us the notes for a C maj 9th chord.

Notice that the major 3rd and minor 3rd intervals alternate.

Now lets see what happens with the minor scale, here are the notes for a Cm9th chord.

As we can see the same thing happens with the 3rd intervals this time starting with a minor 3rd.

Right now let's look at adding the 11th and 13th notes to the chord.

So if we start with a major chord arpeggio we can extend that arpeggios by just stacking 3rds.

This is what it will look like on the fretboard.

Alternative method

In the diagram we can see that from the root we moved a major 3rd the minor 3rd to the fifth then another major 3rd to the seventh, a minor 3rd to the ninth, then another major 3rd to the eleventh and finally a minor 3rd to the thirteenth.

This is what it would look like starting from the 5rd or A string:


Now we have a easy way to play large extended chord arpeggios just be linking your major or minor 3rd intervals a cross the fretboard. Practice each arpeggio then try to bring them into your playing.

In the next part we will look at the extended Dominant chords and also the Diminished chords.

By Geoff Sinker

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