Stop Practicing Guitar Arpeggios Like This! (SAVE A FRIEND)

When it comes to practicing arpeggios, the main thing that most guitar students will do wrong is they will approach the practice of an arpeggio pattern in the same way that they would approach the practice of scale shapes...





A full 7-tone scale, (or a 5-tone Pentatonic Scale) can be performed over all of the chords of a progression so long as the progression is within a single key signature, (diatonic). Arpeggios do not operate this way.

The standard 7-tone scale patterns work quickly and easily to create melody in diatonic situations. This is why inexperienced guitar players can often have success rather quickly by using the abridged 5-tone version of the scale, (known as "Pentatonic" Scale).


Unlike the common five or seven tone scales, an arpeggio does not work well when played over an entire key signature. Instead, arpeggios work the best when they are played directly upon each individual chord. Therefore, arpeggios should be practiced this way. 



In this lesson I’m going to show you some things that I want you to stop doing when you’re training on arpeggios. Arpeggios are at the top of the list of the 3 most important single-note ideas that you practice as a guitarist. 


And, even though, arpeggios are just as important as the full 7-tone scale shapes as well as, the Major and Minor Pentatonic Scales, I can honestly tell you, (from my experience of being a guitar teacher for many years), that it is common to find a lot of guitar players who can’t play even one arpeggio. 


Why is that? How come arpeggios are so often a mystery for guitar players...?  It could be because guitarists interpret scales in an unproductive way for guitar. And this lesson is going to focus on fixing that.





Let’s get started with some background information about what exactly arpeggios are and we'll learn a really good way the think of them on guitar so we can start to use them!


Example 1). Arpeggios come from scales
Let’s take a 2nd guitar string “C” Major scale and learn how we can get an arpeggio out of it… first, here’s the scale played laterally.


Once you learn the scales notes, re-work the notes of the scale within a position - playing them more vertically.


Example 2). "C" Scale in-Position
Here’s the “C Major” scale pattern again, but instead of played off of the 2nd string (as we had done in example 1), here it is played vertically off of the “C” note at the 5th guitar string’s third fret.


Example 3). Scale Degrees
The next thing is to view the scale as what’s called “Scale Degrees.” Just replace those notes of “C Major” scale with numbers.

Example 4). Getting the Arpeggio out of the Scale
The final thing to do, is to just get the arpeggio tones organized. The most basic arpeggio is called the, “Triad” arpeggio. These are made up of the scales; 1st, 3rd and 5th.



Looking back at that “C” scale, the actual notes are “C, E and G.” 



I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that if you want to learn even more about scales and theory I have a great offer for you.

With any donation over $5, or any merchandise purchase from my Tee-Spring store, I’ll send you free copies of THREE of my most popular digital handouts.

One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

Another one is my “Barre Chord” Handout which includes a page showing all the key signatures along with a chord progression that applies barre chords.

Plus, you’ll get my Notation Pack! It has 8 pages of important guitar worksheets for notating anything related to; music charts, guitar chord diagrams, and TAB.

As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

As an EXTRA BONUS for my Phrygian Dominant video, I'll also throw in a breakdown featuring all of the chords that are diatonic to the Phrygian Dominant scale.

Just send me an email off of the contact page of to let me know about either your donation or your Merchandise purchase and I’ll email you those digital handouts within 24 hrs.   



Now that you know the first steps (relating to where arpeggios come from), the next thing that I want to discuss is based upon practicing arpeggios in the best way possible so that you can actually start using them to make good sounding lines and some really interesting music. 


But first - here’s a short promotional message about an exclusive YouTube offer that I have for my, “Handouts Collection” eBook…





Example 5). Mobility with Arpeggio Tones:
The first thing that you need to understand with how arpeggio tones operate on the neck is how they move “along and around,” the fingerboard. 



Arpeggios often operate from a set position laterally… So, that means they move around the neck very uniform!


Example 6). In Position Arpeggios
Or, arpeggios can alter their note layout within a position.




Example 7). Extending the Position
The arpeggio tones can offer further reach within playing positions and this also creates a much larger layout on the fingerboard.




Example 8). Change of Tonality
One other really cool idea, that’s also really easy to do, is convert the arpeggio from Major to Minor, because all we have to do is shift the 3rd degree note down by a half-step, creating what we call a “Minor 3rd.”


 The Minor Scale: "Along the Neck"



The Minor Scale: "In Position"

Minor Arpeggio:


Right about here is the point at which that most students, (who try to practice arpeggios as isolated shapes like I’ve covered here so far), will often start to fail.


That is why I want you to stop practicing arpeggios in isolation (like we’ve been doing so far). Instead, I want you to think about arpeggios differently. 


This different way of thinking will involve applying arpeggios over chord changes. In my final example, I’m going to play through an exercise that uses arpeggios to cover underlying chord changes with melody. 


So, instead of practicing arpeggios as just shapes on the neck, I want you to practice them applied over top of chord changes like I’ve organized in the, "Arpeggio Chord Application," example given below.






Record the chord changes, (or use a loop pedal) to create a backing track. Then, learn the arpeggio passages (as outlined below), and play through the arpeggio phrase in time with the backing track or loop.




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