Diminished 7th Arpeggio Sandwich Shapes

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I'm Seriously Talking About Sandwiches!?!

Yes, I'm talking about sandwiches! When it comes to learning, the brain often works better when relating to something ridiculous. In this case, the two dim7 arpeggio shapes look to me like sandwiches, so why not?

The Birth Of The Dim7 Sandwich

Many years ago, one of my students was learning shapes for diminished 7th arpeggios on the guitar. The guitar is a very visual instrument and I commented that the two shapes looked a bit like sandwiches. The sandwich shape idea stuck and even though I still feel stupid calling these specific diminished 7th arpeggios sandwich shapes, students always know what to play when I say “just play the sandwich shape".

Where Can I use Dim7 Arpeggios?

There are many possible situations in which a dm7 arpeggio can be used. For the video, I kept the harmony simple and played the dim7 arpeggio over an E7 chord and an A minor pentatonic scale over an Am chord. When used in this way, the dim7 arpeggio is a tension sound and it needs to resolve to the Am sound.

When practising over the chords, try to join dim7 arpeggio ideas to A minor pentatonic scale ideas. It is always a good idea to anticipate the next chord and play ideas just before the new chord sound has arrived.

There are so many songs in the key of A minor that contain one or more E7 chords. Look out for these two chords and try to incorporate the dim7 arpeggio into your playing.

The Sandwich Shapes

So here are a couple of diagrams showing the diminished 7th sandwich shapes:
dim7 arpeggio
dim7 arpeggio

Can you see how the shapes look like sandwiches? If you turn the diagrams on their sides, the 1st and 4th finger parts are the bread and the filling changes to either the 2nd finger or the 3rd finger depending on which string set the shape is played.

Any dim7 arpeggio or chord can move in 3 fret jumps. An easy way to think about this is by moving your 1st finger to the fret of the 4th finger when ascending and moving the 4th finger to the fret of the 1st finger when descending.

Sweep Picking

The sandwich shapes work really well when using a sweep picking technique. Try the following exercise:
Sweep Picking Dim7 Sandwich Shapes

Still hungry?

Hopefully, this lesson has given you some useful ideas for using diminished 7th arpeggios. Have fun experimenting and I'll see you back here soon for more guitar ideas!

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