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Constructing and Understanding Arpeggios

18 Apr 2009 18:52 | Quote
Joined: 18 Apr 2009
United Kingdom
Alot of people have been asking me how to construct their own 'killer lick' arpeggios like yngwie and paul gilbert do.. this isn't that hard at all! If you know chord construction then you can relate to this topic. If you don't I suggest you check out ultimate-guitar.com and the music theory lesson by the user slash_pwns.

So you know your four triads:

Major - 1 3 5
Minor - 1 b3 5
Augmented - 1 3 #5
Diminished - 1 b3 b5

Now you can take this knowledge and apply it to making arpeggios.. how? I'll tell you.

Take the C major triad for example. We know from the formula that the notes are C E G. So take C as your root note on any string play E on a different string and G on another until you get an octave higher. (for you advanced players.. this is only an example)

Here's a basic C major arpeggio example that I'm sure you've come across (especially if you're a sweeping fan):

[e] ------------------12h15p12------------------------
[B] --------------13------------13--------------------
[G] ----------12--------------------12----------------
[D] ------14----------------------------14------------
[A] --15------------------------------------15--------
[E] --------------------------------------------------

15th fret is a C .. 14th is an E and 12th is a G and so on. So hopefully now you've understood how to construct the majors.

For minors its really simple.. flatten the third note. If you use that formula on C you will get this:

[e] ------------------11h15p11------------------------
[B] --------------13------------13--------------------
[G] ----------12--------------------12----------------
[D] ------13----------------------------13------------
[A] --15------------------------------------15--------
[E] --------------------------------------------------

Same goes for augmented or diminished. No tabs for them, I'd just be repeating myself.

Another thing I wanted to point out was extension. Adding 7ths and 9ths. This can be extremely useful when you're constructing a six string arpeggio lick.. you can throw in a 7th or a 9th just to spice things up. Here's a CM7 arpeggio I made up:


And so on.. and if you know your modes, you can construct them as well.. I'll show you Lydian and Phrygian mode just for the heck of it.





The reason why I've tabbed these as modes is because I'm taking the notes from the C major scale but my root note isn't C (if you don't get this try looking for a lesson on modes.. type on youtube 'Vinnie Moore on Modes')

You can make arpeggios out of suspended chords as well.. but by know you'd probably know how to so I won't tab anything out. Well.. I hope you enjoyed this lesson, please if any of you advanced players want to correct me feel free to comment, I am only just a beginner.

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