Major 7th arpeggios in all 12 keys.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another lesson from ebassacademy. 

In this one we will practice on major 7th arpeggios, learning to play each key individually, from root position to the I, II and III inversion. Derived from the Major scale (also called Ionian scale), the major 7th arpeggio is based on: 

  • root (the first note of the scale that sets the key) 

  • major third;

  • perfect fifth;

  • major 7th. 

From another perspective, a major 7th arpeggio is part of the Ionian scale, played every other note. 

Quadriads (four notes arpeggios), just like triads, can be played in root position: this happens when the root is also the bass note.

C is the root, as the note that generates the arpeggio, and at the same time the bass note, being the lowest one.

When the root is not anymore the bass note, the arpeggio is played as inversion.

In I inversion C is still the root, as the note that generates the arpeggio, but  the bass note is E.   

To recap about the definition of root and bass note, we can say that the root is always the note that generates the chord (or arpeggio), regardless of its position, while the bass note is the lowest one, regardless of its function in the chord. All this being said, the major 7th arpeggio can be played in:

root position: root - major 3rd - perfect 5th - major 7th

I inversion: major 3rd - perfect 5th - major 7th - root

II inversion: perfect 5th - major 7th - root - major 3rd

III inversion: perfect 5th - major 7th - root - major 3rd

Next in this lesson you will practice the major 7th arpeggios in all twelve keys. In each exercise you will play a specific key in root position, I, II and III inversion, ascending and descending, covering the two octaves of a 4-string electric bass. 


Mastering the exercises at the end of this lesson is extremely important for the following reasons: 

  • establish a practice routine based on the full scale of the instrument;

  • learn to play major 7th arpeggios in all 12 keys, from root position to inversions; 

  • improve your reading skills; 

  • think outside the box in terms of fingerings. 

In other words, if you are just starting out on the bass, you will learn to use the full scale of your instrument, giving you since the beginning a great advantage in terms of technique and fretboard knowledge. On the other side, if you have already some experience with the bass, and never practiced arpeggios that way, the following exercises will possibly give you a different perspective to work on. Practice each key out of tempo at first, and make sure that you can play fluently the exercise before using the metronome.

A couple notes before we start: 

  • on some keys, for example Eb, you will find at some point the 8va sign: this is used to avoid too many ledger lines;

  • at the beginning of the exercises you won’t find key signatures, meaning that all the accidentals have been written out, in order to have a more direct understanding of the arpeggio notes.  

Without further ado, let’s play the exercises, starting from Cmaj7. Happy practice!

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That was it for this lesson. Use the previous charts as a tool to expand your knowledge of the fretboard, and take your time to absorb those positions. 


Thank you for reading, happy practice and see you in the next lesson!

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