Putting Arpeggios Into Action: Part 2 | Hub Guitar

Putting Arpeggios Into Action: Part 2

In a previous lesson, we covered arpeggios from the perspective of playing all available chord tones within a particular position.

In this lesson, we'll practice playing the arpeggios again. This time, we'll add tensionA note which, though not an essential part of a chord’s structure, can be added to the chord for additional coloring.s to make the arpeggio patterns sound more interesting.

We'll also remove the root of the chord from the arpeggio, as it will most likely be heard in the bass as well as the chords of the backing track, so there is not a strong need for it in the melody.

The result will actually be another chord’s arpeggio, superimposed over the original chord.

Finally, we'll practice along with backing tracks that switch from one chord to another. And therefore from one arpeggio to another.

The Process for Creating Arpeggios

  1. Choose a set of chords. In this case we chose A-9, D-9, B-7♭5(♭13), and E7♭9
  2. Choose a position on the guitar (for example, Position V)
  3. For each chord, spell out all of the notes in it.
  4. Add the tensions. Optionally, subtract a note (either the root or fifth, whichever is closer) to make room for the tension. If you add two tensions, you now have a 6-note "arpeggio", which is an awful lot like a scale. Unless you subtract some chord tones.
  5. Now for each chord, play the arpeggio in position, from lowest available to highest available.

The Chords

Chord Notes
A-9 A, C, E, G, B
D-9 D, F, A, C, E
B-7♭5 ♭13 B, D, F, G, A
E7♭9 E, F, G♯, B, D

You may notice that these changes actually result in the formation of a new arpeggio. For instance, the arpeggio of A-9 turns into Cmaj7 if you subtract the root note A.

The Arpeggios (Vth Position)

A-9 (Cmaj7 Arpeggio)

Vth position C Major 7 arpeggio.

D-9 (Fmaj7 Arpeggio)

Vth position F major 7 arpeggio.

B-7♭5(♭13) Arpeggio

Vth position B minor 7 flat 5 flat 13 arpeggio.

E7 (G♯°7 Arpeggio)

Vth position G# diminished 7 arpeggio.

Putting it All Together

Once you can play the arpeggios together smoothly, you can hopefully practice switching from one arpeggio to another. Once you get fluent and comfortable with this exercise, you’ll find that as you improvise along with the track, you’ll be able to easily target the notes of the chord in your own solo.

Key Tasks

  • Practice the arpeggios carefully, making sure the notes don’t blend together.
  • Name the notes as you practice— understanding the notes is key to arpeggio practice.
  • Apply this process to the chords of an entirely different chord progression—but stay in the Vth position, at least for now. You should spell the chords and create the arpeggios yourself. That is crucial to understanding them.
As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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