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Getting Started with Arpeggios for Lead Guitar

When I first started playing guitar, I remember doing homework on arpeggios and being generally confused on the entire topic for a long time for an embarrassingly long time. I believe that arpeggios were just this and that's it. There was another no other definition of arpeggio other than sweeping up and down like that. 

Transcription

 Please note, this transcription was computer generated and has not been checked for errors.  However, I do hope you find it helpful.   

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When I first started playing guitar, I remember doing homework on arpeggios and being generally confused on the entire topic for a long time for an embarrassingly long time. I believe that arpeggios were just this and that's it. There was another no other definition of arpeggio other than sweeping up and down like that.

So I want to clear up a little confusion on what an arpeggio is and what we can do with them as a guitar player besides just sweeping. I'm which is fun but it's not always that practical so long story short and arpeggio are just is just the it's of a chord played one at a time. So this is an a major chord. I'm playing a bar chord on the fifth fret that's the cord the arpeggio is this just the notes going up one at a time. This is also the a major arpeggio. If I do this, that's an extra C sharp in there that we don't normally play when we're playing the bar chord and a high C sharp on top.

So this is an arpeggio shape. I want to start with because I think it's pretty simple to practice and it's movable. So right now we're in a if I move it up to a sharp. I'm all of a sudden. The nose of an a sharp major chord if I move it to be I'm almost done playing the notes and then B major chord and so on now the entire shape is good to know you want to be practicing entire shape, but for me personally when I'm playing solos it's very rare that I end up playing an entire arpeggio shape. I usually end up using little tiny bits of it.

So what I mean by that is if I look at just the highest notes of this arpeggio right here if you're on the ninth fret and the fifth fret and the fifth front and then the sixth fret right here these Notes right here are the notes. I'm probably going to be using if I'm in the middle of a solo over an a major chord probably not going to be down here. I'll probably just gonna focus on these high notes to help in that chord and then likewise I want to show you this B minor arpeggio going to start on the seventh fret b a b minor chord right here and the arpeggio shape that we want to practice goes like this.

He's our sweepable shapes who if you want to practice doing this the sweeping up and down but really what I want you to focus on is just the high notes here, maybe down to the fourth string will work on all the notes of the arpeggio from the 4th string and and already you can hear the chord kind of being formed or progression being formed just buy me playing these two shapes back and forth like that. You can actually hear the a major chord and the B minor chord even though I'm not playing chords. I'm just playing arpeggios.

So the first application Of arpeggios.

I think the easiest one is to just play the arpeggio over the chord the chord progression were jamming along to goes a major to be minor. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to play a little bit of my a major shape and I think I'll just do these three strings right here and then for B minor I'll do the same thing. I'll go over to my B minor shape and I'll just play these three strings to be minor shape. Now. This will be less of a guitar solo and more of a guitar line. I want to back up the rhythm guitar. I don't want to be doing some flashy solo. I just kind of want to slip in there. Are and and be part of the background music without being you know out front and center and arpeggios are great for that. I'm if you're picking through them one at a time like that or even skipping around you can get some really nice layers in the middle of a jam. So this will be less of a solo and more of like an addition to a Jam track and I want you to hear what that sounds like. Once again, I'm just doing the top three notes of an a major arpeggio and top three notes of a B minor arpeggio and I guess it's not the very highest notes the shape. I showed you includes this note. So I am skipping out and I'm just doing these three notes.

And for B minor I'm skipping out on the high note, and I'm just doing these three notes.

All right, let's hear what that sounds like one two, three four, so it sounds pretty nice. I mean, it's not anything special. I mean nobody's gonna you know, jump out of their seats because of that. But it works perfectly and I mean it should obviously work perfectly. You're literally playing the notes of the chord in the background.

It's really worth mentioning that all of your arpeggios come from chords. So the stronger your cord theory is the stronger your understanding of chords on the fretboard and how to get around chord inversions then obviously the stronger your arpeggios are going to because they're all built off of that. So I would advise if you're trying to get into arpeggios really start with chords go get all your cord Theory worked out first and then working on arpeggios is going to be infinitely easier because you already understand you know, how they are. In the structure of them all. So the next thing I want to talk about is still using the same shapes. But what I like to do is once I have something that's movable. I like to practice a little things that get moved all around the neck whenever I'm in a different key or in a different chord shape, for example, the highest three notes of this arpeggio right here nine five and five from my a major that is a really easy little pattern to get fast at if I do a pull off with an up stroke and then if I do a down stroke on the second string like that, I can play those triplets or ethos or 16 and I get a lot of speed out of it there that way and it'll match the cord perfectly that move is translatable to my second arpeggio B minor so I can do the same move the pull off here to that note and then come down to my first finger and I've talked about these moves in other videos, but now we're applying them to arpeggios instead of scales just to make sure it matches our cord even better.

So for this next little Jam, I'm just going to show you what it sounds like to play an arpeggio with this little trick over the a chord and then for the B minor chord the same little thing right there. Trying a few different rhythmic Cycles will try like eighth notes triplets and maybe 16th notes if I can pull it off and we'll hear what that sounds like.

One two, three now triplets.

All right, so I'm not going to try doing sixteenth notes that are that's just not going to happen, but you can hear how nice that sounds as far as like, you know fitting into the core and having something fast to up your sleeve ready to play definitely don't do it for the whole show. It sounds completely annoying if you're just going to do that all day, but definitely a little bits and pieces. It's very practical and then the last thing I Show you here is connecting these arpeggios shapes to scale shapes that you've already practiced.

What I'm trying to do is find out if I'm in the key of a major which I am in this tram track. I'm trying to think where is the rest of the scale because I don't want to just hang out on the arpeggio. That's boring. It sounds very Bland of all you're doing is outlining the chord the real Joy from a solo comes from resting on those notes of the arpeggio that sound good and stable and then venturing out and going to some weird, you know, colorful notes and coming back to those notes that sit really well and, you know are comfortable to hang out on On so if you're just hanging out on those Comfort zones the entire time, there's just no interest in your solos. So that's why it's important to know the rest of the scale and how it fits in to the arpeggio shape that you're using.

So the shape that I'm using is a locrian shape. I think of it as a locrian shape three notes per string and it looks like this.

All right. And the reason I like that shape is because if I'm playing by arpeggio like this up to the pinky, then I can just come down my scale and I basically have this beautiful little transition.

Up the arpeggio and down my scam.

I can do the same thing here with a major shape if I play my B minor arpeggio right here.

I'm going to use this shape to complete my a major scale and this is actually very accommodating.

But once again, it connects very well into my B minor arpeggio. So what I'll be trying to do this time is I'll be trying to play up arpeggios and coming down the scale going up the arpeggio and down the scale. You obviously do this in Reverse come down the arpeggio and up the scale down. The Earth has you end up the scale but this is about as simple as it gets as far as combining these things together.

I'm just starting with an arpeggio down the scale starting with an arpeggio down the scale. It'll sound really good. And I think it's a nice little trick you can start adding in your solos as soon as you start learning arpeggio shapes. So let's take a listen to that one, two, three.

All right. So you're that I mean everything's gonna work just perfectly as I'm coming up the arpeggio and it's going to sound sweet and right in tune and then I can kind of do anything. I want, you know down the scale but one thing I would recommend now that we're kind of, you know familiar with the notes of the chord being played in the background. I would advise if you're Hang out on a note. If you let something ring out for a substantial period of time make it one of those notes in the arpeggio. It's very easy to start sounding bad. Even if you're in the scale and if you're in the right shape and you're using the right arpeggios, if you're hanging out on notes that aren't part of the chord you can get into a little trouble that way so you get a lot of benefit from practicing these arpeggios. Not only do they sound good. Not only are they better for strengthening your theory and moving around the fretboard, but you're just going to be more familiar with the notes that are safe, you know the notes that you can really start on and end on. On even small phrases. It makes a big difference if you're starting and ending on the right Fray the right note there. Your phrase will just sound better and it takes a long time to to apply these techniques, but you got to start somewhere and I hope this is a good starting point for you. So, thank you for watching.

 






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