Watch the 5: 3 Note Minor Arpeggios online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar

Remember the major chord is made up of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale. The same concept applies to minor chords except that we use the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the minor scale. The only difference between the major and minor triad is that the 3rd is flat 1/2 step. What each of the 3 minor scales has in common is they all have a root, minor 3rd and 5th. The flatted 3rd is the foundation of the minor scales as well as the chords and arpeggios derived from these scales.


1. The minor arpeggio, like the major arpeggio, is 3 made up of notes. The only difference between a major and a minor triad or arpeggio is that minor has a flat 3rd, which means the middle note is played a half step lower. To change a C major arpeggio or chord, which contains the notes C-E-G, to C minor, flat the 3rd a 1/2 step to Eb.

2. Write all 12 notes on a piece of paper and apply the formula above to each of the notes to build the minor arpeggio in all 12 keys.

3. Play the vertical C minor (C-Eb-G) arpeggio.

4. Apply the same approach we used with the major arpeggios. Find a C note on the fret board.

5. Place your first finger on the C.

6. Play the C minor arpeggio starting with your 1st finger, hunt down the notes to play a one-octave arpeggio.

7. Next, fret the same C note with your 2nd finger and repeat the exercise. Using a different digit to start forces you to come up with an alternative fingering.

8. Next, start with your 3rd finger and play another C minor arpeggio.

9. Finally, start with your 4th finger and play another C minor arpeggio.

10. Apply this same approach using every C note as a starting point.


11. Begin on the lowest note of the arpeggio on each string and play the minor arpeggios in every key. For example: in C minor, on the high E string, start with the G the 5th of the arpeggio. On the 2nd string start with C the root, on the 3rd string start with G the 5th, on the 4th string start with Eb the 3rd, and on the 5th string start with C the root, on the 6th string start with G the 5th.

12. Go through all 12 keys, playing all the variations.

13. Next, play just the roots of the arpeggio on each string through the cycle of fourths.

14. Starting with the root, play the arpeggio up and down the fingerboard on each string.

15. Remember to focus on internalizing the sound of the minor arpeggio.

16. There are only 2 chord types: major and minor, so it is essential to spend the necessary time practicing them thoroughly.