How to Make 10 II V I Licks With a Gm7 Arpeggio With Jens Larsen

This lesson will demonstrate that it is more important to be able to use simple arpeggios and other structures than knowing a lot of exotic scales or arpeggios. Because a lot of good melodies can be made with very simple structures.

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This lesson came about from a conversation I had on Twitter. I wanted to try to demonstrate how it is more important to be able to use simple arpeggios and other structures than knowing a lot of exotic scales or arpeggios. Because a lot of good melodies can be made with very simple structures. This is why I took one arpeggio and used that in 10 II V I licks.

The Arpeggio

So as I mentioned the point of this is to demonstrate how you can put a fairly basic structure like a Gm7 arpeggio over a Gm7 chord to use and make a lot of melodies without substitutions or exotic scales. What I set out to do was to use this arpeggio in 10 II V I licks in F and not repeat myself. Here's the arpeggio:

The II V I Licks

The first line is trying to show a very basic way of using the root position arpeggio in a line. The Gm7 transitions into the C7 with a chromatic approach of the third of C(E). From there it continues in a melody mae with the Em7b5 arpeggio before it with a chromatic passing note resolves to the 3rd of F(A).


In the 2nd line the arpeggio is played in a sequence and from the 7th is linked to a descending Dm7 arpeggio. On the C7 I used the altered scale and the line is based around a Bbm7b5 arpeggio with some diatonic passing notes. You can filter out the Bbm7b5 by looking at the notes on the beat. It resolves via the #9 and b9 of C to the 5th of F(C).


The 3rd example is using a descending Gm7 arpeggio from the 3rd and continues with a Bb major "Coltrane" pattern. The whole line on the Gm7 is contained in the Gm pentatonic scale. On the C7alt chord the line is using the Ebm pentatonic scale and basically repeating the pattern on the Gm7, before resolving to the 5th of F(C).


Now that we have had both ascending, descending and a sequence of the Gm7 arpeggio the 4th example is using a more freely moving melody with the arpeggio. The line moves from the 5th via the 7th and down to the root. From there it ascends up the sale and continues into a C7alt line that is based on a DbmMaj9 arpeggio. As you probably know Dbm Melodic is the same scale as C7 altered. The altered line is resolved via a small scale run with a chromatic passing note, and ends on the 5th(C) of F.


In example 5 a similar melody is made with the Gm arpeggio, this time using it as a Gm7 shell voicing and then down the arpeggio to the 3rd(Bb). From there the melody skips up a major 7th to an A and descends down the scale. On the dominant the line is first two 3rds in the altered scale and then a line around the Dbm triad that resolves to the 5th of F.


Example 6 demonstrates a very common way to use arpeggios in bebop is to place a chromatic leading note before the root and play the arpeggio as an 8th note triplet with the 7th as target. From there the line descends down the scale which somehow resolves the tension of the fast moving triplet. On the dominant the line is build around a sequence of the Gb7 dominant arpeggio that resolves to the 5th(C) of F.


The 7th example is using the basic four note arpeggio descending from 7th to root. This is followed by a Dsus4 triad arpeggio which then moves to a a very clean sounding Mixolydian line over the C7, consisting of two scale runs. The line resolves to the 7th(E) of Fmaj7.


In example 8 the Gm7 line emphasizes the Bb major triad for the first part of the bar, but after that it is a descending Gm7 arpeggio ending in an encircling of the 3rd(E) of C7. On the C7 the line is using the diminished scale. First a C7 arpeggio and then an A major triad, which together spells out a C7(13b9) sound.


Using an arpeggio is not only just playing the notes of the arpeggio, it can also be a emphasizing those notes within another melody. Example 9 is doing just that where it starts with a scale run from G to D with the arpeggio notes on beats 1 to 3. The melody on the C7 is made using the triad pair Gb and Ab diatonic to the C7alt scale. This way of using two triads with no common notes to make lines is something I plan to make lessons on in the future. It can be used quite effectively to make some nice lines. In this example the line is using Ab, Gb and then two notes of an Ab triad before resolving to the 5th of F.


The final example is starting out with a sequence in the higher octave of the arpeggio. After that it is strictly descending from the 5th to the 3rd an octave lower. The line on the C7alt is in fact the exact same movement but then with a Gb7 arpeggio, which is the tritone sub of C7. The line resolves to the 5th of Fmaj7.


I hope that by demonstrating a few different approaches for making melodies with the Gm7 arpeggio you get some new ideas to expand your own vocabulary. Working on stuff like this is for me often a good way to get some new melodic ideas. I think it's possible that I get more from lifting concepts like these of a transcription than actually studying the solo that is transcribed.

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As always you can download the examples as a PDF here: How to make 10 II V I licks with a Gm7 arpeggio

About the Author:
By Jens Larsen. There are more lessons on his website. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

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