Here are arpeggios for the chord progression to Autumn Leaves. I’ve kept them on the highest strings as much as possible which are where you are more likely to improvise. Also each arpeggio is kept to one octave except for chords that last 2 bars.
This is because each 4 note arpeggio forms a little shape that is easier to remember than a 2 or 3 octave arpeggio. Even for larger arpeggios you can think of them in small chunks and connect them together.
So how can we use these arpeggios in our improvising? There are different ways to approach it. Check out my lesson on making music from arpeggios.
In that lesson I show a variety of approaches.
Once you get the arpeggios down, learn what notes are in each arpeggio. Notice the shape each arpeggio makes on the fretboard. There are unique shapes for minor 7, major 7, dominant 7, minor 7b5 arpeggios.
You can play the arpeggios but add some rhythmic variety. Don’t just play quarter notes. Start on different beats. If you start on beat 3 the arpeggios I show would become eighth notes to fit them into 2 beats.
Approach each arpeggio note from a half step below.
Approach the next chord with an arpeggio from the previous chord in a smooth manner. For example for Am7 to D7 play A, C, E, G then land on F# over the D7. Notice how the F# is encircled by the E and G. Check out my lesson using approach arpeggios.
Arpeggios are chord tones, ie notes from the chord so you can target any chord tone in your solo, without playing the arpeggio. So when each chord from the Autumn Leaves chord progression goes by you know which notes will sound good as you’ve learned where the chord tones are.