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      Hello again, and welcome to Master Class. This lesson will cover two additional Major and minor arpeggio shapes. As in the previous lesson, I'll graphically illustrate the shapes, and provide tips for playing them. As I mentioned in Master Class #1, these lessons are intended for those who already have a few years' experience playing guitar. I'm going to dive right in without a lot of preamble, but I will try to explain things as clearly as possible. As always, you can email at: jeffrey@jrsmoots.com if you have questions.

Numbering the fingers

Fretting hand numbering scheme

       The arpeggios shown below have specific fingering suggestions for the fretting hand. The fretting hand fingers are numbered, one through four. You'll see the fingering suggestions shown inside the fingering circles.

So let's dive in to some more arpeggio shapes!


Major Arpeggio       Here's a giant Major arpeggio. To play this, you'll need to roll your 2nd (middle) finger to hit the notes in succession. It feels weird at first, so take it slow. The root for this arpeggio is the first note shown on the A string. So, if you played this arpeggio with the first note starting on the seventh fret, you'd be playing an E Major arpeggio.

      You may also notice that the stretch to reach the highest note is a bit wide. Again, take it slow--don't injure the muscles in your hand by forcing it. Also, because of the large stretch involved, I usually don't play this shape much below the 5th fret. Try playing the arpeggio up at the 12th fret--the stretch will be easier.

      Finally, keep in mind that this is a movable shape. You can play it anywhere on the fretboard.
Minor Arpeggio       Here's the minor version. You'll want to roll your third finger to get those two middle notes. Take it slow!

      Note also that this is a movable shape. You can play it anywhere on the fretboard. The root for this arpeggio is the first note shown on the A string. So, if you played this arpeggio with the first note starting on the seventh fret, you'd be playing an E minor arpeggio.

      Once you've got these two memorized, it's time to try sweep picking them. This is much easier than it may sound. The key is to start slowly, and build up your accuracy. Many people immediately try to sweep these as fast as possible and the usual result is a mushy sound, with no clear articulation of the notes.

      Begin by getting your fretting hand into the shape you'll be playing, with your fingers poised to fret the notes. Then slowly begin a downstroke with your pick, fretting each note as you pick it (and rolling your finger on the appropriate strings. Practice this method, and you'll soon be sweeping clearly and accurately. Also, try using a hammer-on for the last note in the arpeggio--I think you'll like the sound.

When you've got the ascending sweep under control, try sweeping these shapes descending (I mean start on the highest note and sweep backward with an upstroke). Sweeping descending can be a little trickier than ascending, so give it time. To make things easier when descending, try pulling off the first note in the arpeggio, then sweep picking the rest of the notes.

      The next lesson will show some more complex chord shapes (ie. 7ths, 9ths, etc.). But as I always say, get the basics down first before you move on to the hard stuff!


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Master Class: Lesson 4 - More Arpeggios