An arpeggio is simply the notes of any given chord played separately and distinctly. Actually, ever chord can be played as an arpeggio just by playing one note at a time, in any order (arpeggiated picking). Many songs have been created that just use arpeggios.
Arpeggios are great for:
Creating a melody
Finger picking styles
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How to use Arpeggios
When a guitarist solos over a chord progression, they may use arpeggios as a way to bridge the gap between chords. One trick a guitarist can use is to play an arpeggio over a chord that does not quite fit in the key they are playing in. Instead of staying with a particular scale(s) over all the chords, a guitarist can switch to the chords arpeggio, and then come back to using compatible scales for the other chords in the progression.
Arpeggio patterns are very useful when a guitarist needs to solo over a chord progression. For example, if someone is playing a C Major 7th chord, then a guitarist could use a C Major 7th arpeggio pattern over it.
The patterns come in many useful forms such as the zigzagging arpeggio patterns.
Some of these patterns are also horizontal patterns as compared to vertical patterns. The zigzagging patterns may be easier to play than some of the patterns where one has to stretch or reach over many frets. It is also a good idea for a guitarist to develop their own arpeggio patterns based on a particular chord. In addition, a guitarist should practice moving the arpeggio patterns around on the Fretboard. The root note determines the name of the arpeggio.
Chords and Arpeggios
Arpeggiated picking of chords is a great way to make a new song or to improvise. An example is the song The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. There is a great use of arpeggios in this song that stick pretty much to the standard chord structures. It is a good example of arpeggiated picking.
A guitar solo can be created by using both chords an arpeggios, that is, by combining arpeggiated picking and strumming of chords. A guitarist can literally take any given chord progression and replace some (or all) of the chords with their corresponding arpeggios.
When soloing, it is essential to know what the chords are in a song. Once the chords are established, then various soloing techniques may be applied. The use of arpeggios is an effective soloing technique. A guitarist will create exciting songs if they apply some arpeggiated picking and strumming ideas to their chord progressions.
How to Play the Guitar Fast?
Sweep Picking is simply playing two or more notes on separate strings with either all down strokes, or all up strokes — or a combination of both. It is all in the picking technique. The guitarist literally sweeps across the strings with an up or down stroke. This allows them to add speed to their playing once mastered.
Sweep Picking Exercises
The first sweep exercise (link given below) gives the developing guitarist the basic idea. A guitarist should notice in the G major sweep the use of three down picks in a row followed by three up picks in a row. This combination of three down strokes followed by three up strokes illustrates the fundamental idea of sweep picking.
Sweep picking is good for:
Playing arpeggio patterns
Playing exciting solos
The exercises below should be played slowly at first. The first exercise’s goal is to help the picking hand get used to covering more than one string at a time. Speed should be added gradually, and each note should sound clearly.
A developing guitarist should try playing the sweep patterns with light pressure of the fretting hand. They should not press real hard on the strings.
If a guitarist is using an electric guitar with light gauge strings, pressing too hard can cause them to slightly bend the string, and thus cause the note to go out of tune. Many guitarist play out of tune because they are slightly bending the strings unknowingly — usually because of too much pressure on the strings. The idea is to apply only enough pressure as needed.
Also, a guitarist should dampen notes with a palm mute (using the palm of the picking hand to lightly press against a string in order to stop the sound) and other muting techniques when necessary. Proper use of muting can control the notes that ring out. It is a valuable articulation technique to add to all playing methods from sweep picking to tapping and such.
In point of fact, many guitarists use sweep picking as an alternative to tapping or two-handed guitar techniques in order to add speed to their playing.
Guitarist Frank Gambale
The Australian born guitarist Frank Gambale (aka The Thunder from Down Under) is a master of the sweep picking technique. One of his exciting riffs is called The Lick that Slurped LA. It is a wonderful example of his sweep picking technique.
Sweep picking can add speed to a guitarist’s playing like no other technique. Once master, it will add a new dynamic to a guitarist’s playing. It can be used extensively or sparingly, but all guitarists should take a close look at developing this novel technique.
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