Diatonic 7 appeggio Pattern

12 Bar Blues Solo

Blues Solo

Typically the Minor Pentatonic scale is used to play a blues solo over the 12 Bar Blues because of the note affiliation to the I VI V chord progression. Taking this a step further additional notes coming from the Blues scale and even the Major Pentatonic scale can also be selectively used too.

Adding to that, by creating arpeggios of the respective chords in a blues chord progression and using these notes selectively in a lead line will achieve a greater melodic respect of the chord. This will involve using certain specific ‘target notes’ on chord changes to set up the transition.

The target notes can have a particular significance around the V chord position in the blues sequence as the V chord plays different roles one of which is setting up the sequence for the turnaround.

Definition of arpeggio

An arpeggio is a musical technique where notes in a chord are played or sung in sequence, one after the other, rather than ringing out simultaneously. An alternative translation of this term is “broken chord.”

Bring more melody and harmony to a solo by selectively combining notes from the minor pentatonic scale and the dominant 7 arpeggio of the respective chord. Use a shared note or ‘target note’ to link the chord changes.



Twevle Bar Blues Chord Sequence

The first eight bars toggle between the I and VI chords.

I IV I I IV IV
Bar 1 Bar 2 Bar 3 Bar 4 Bar 5 Bar 6
Watch the V chord

It goes between both the I & VI chords & sets up the turnaround.

I I V IV I V
Bar 7 Bar 8 Bar 9 Bar 10 Bar 11 Bar 12

A 7 Lead Pattern

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D 7 Lead Pattern

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E 7 Major Pentatonic

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E 7 Minor Pentatonic

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Target Notes

The arpeggio notes are highlighted inside the pentatonic scale with the number or root note symbol, the number 3, 5, b7 represent the relationship to the the root note.

The arpeggio notes act as good target notes for joining the chords under the lead line, try to connect between chords on a note that both chords have in common, like these examples with white rings in these diagrams.

There are two scales for the V chord one with arpeggio notes and the major scale and one with arpeggio notes and the minor scale. Each serve a different purpose in building tension and arriving at the turnaround. Notice each time the V chord is used in the twelve bar sequence, it joins firstly to the IV chord and secondly to the I chord for the turnaround.



More Detail

Observe Melody

Major Key Blues – Lead guitar with more melodic respect to the chords.

This Example is in Key of A = A7 (1 chord) – D7 (4 chord) – E7 (5 chord)

A7 chord = 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 represents tonal center of chord – A Root
D7 chord = 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 represents tonal center of chord – D Root
E7 chord = 1 – 3 – 5 – b7 represents tonal center of chord – E Root

Within each of the chord tones a dominant 7 arpeggio pattern can be built.

Lead guitar over I IV V

Start to play blues lead using the notes in minor pentatonic scale (notes in relation to root note 1 – b3 – 4 – 5 – b7) in conjunction with notes from the dominant 7 arpeggio of the chord over the I IV V blues progression.



A 7 Dominant Arpeggio – I Chord

A 7 Arpeggio – 5th fret – A Root
Try to memorize this pattern by practicing playing just the arpeggio’s over the chords.
Knowing exactly where the arpeggio chord tones are will help to locate and target them within the pentatonic phrasing.
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Dominant A 7 bar chord shape

A 7 bar chord outlined – 5th fret
Outlining chord that will support the melody.

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A7 Arpeggio + Minor Pentatonic


The A7 Arpeggio and Minor Pentatonic…with “Target Note” (white background) for transition to D7 the IV chord. In this instance this target note will give a sense of purpose and resolve the chord transition with more balance and tonal meaning.

Practice playing this extended scale and land on the target note D flat / 4(b5) for the transition to the D7 chord.

Strongest target note for chord change to IV chord – Try to land on this note to set up the chord change with more melody and harmony


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D 7 Dominant Arpeggio – IV Chord

D 7 Arpeggio – 5th fret – D Root
Try to memorize this pattern by practicing playing just the arpeggio’s over the chords.
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Dominant D 7 bar chord shape

D 7 bar chord outlined – 5th fret
Outlining chord that will support the melody.
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D7 Arpeggio + Minor Pentatonic

Strongest target note for chord change back to I chord –
Try to land on this note to set up the chord change with more melody and harmony

The “Target Note” (white background) for transition back to A 7 the I chord.
Each chord shape shares this note.

Practice playing this extended scale and land on the target note A for the transition to the A 7 chord.


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E 7 Dominant Arpeggio – V Chord

E 7 Arpeggio – 5th fret – E Root
Try to memorize this pattern by practicing playing just the arpeggio’s over the chords.
Pre tonic V chord – chord with most tension – enhance the resolution effect when returning to I chord by using the minor pentatonic…….

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Dominant E 7 bar chord shape

E 7 bar chord outlined – 5th fret
Outlining chord that will support the melody.
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E7 Arpeggio + Major Pentatonic

This is the first instance of the V Chord and is not a Pre Tonic chord because we are moving down to the VI chord –
At this point the major pentatonic scale in conjunction with the V chord tones.

The “Target Note” (white background) for transition back to A 7 the I chord.
Each chord shape shares this note.

Notice once again how the respective chord shape in this case E 7 fits inside the arpeggio.

Practice playing this extended scale and land on the target note A for the transition to the A 7 chord.


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E7 Arpeggio + Minor Pentatonic

This V chord is the Pre Tonic this is the chord with the most tension as we want to resolve to the I chord – The minor pentatonic scale in conjunction with the E 7 arpeggio fit well here to resolve the turn around with the right nuances.

The “Target Note” (white background) for transition back to A 7 the I chord.
Each chord shape shares this note.

Notice once again how the respective chord shape in this case E 7 fits inside the arpeggio.

Practice playing this extended scale and land on the target note A for the transition to the A 7 chord.


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