Arpeggios are, essentially, chords that are broken out into single-note patterns.
For example, instead of playing a four-note C Maj7 (C E G B) chord where you strum all the notes at once, a C Maj7 arpeggio would have you play C, E, G, B as single notes in a four-note pattern.
Being conscious of which arpeggios are present over each chord you're improvising over will provide you with a wide array of musical options as you craft your solos.
Once you have this foundation, things can quickly become more interesting by tinkering with the construction of the base arpeggio shapes.
In the lesson below, I’ll demonstrate how to first identify a common arpeggio shape, determine the scale it’s derived from and make adjustments in order to yield truly awesome-sounding arpeggios.
Arpeggios are great tools for improvising, and understanding arpeggios is vital to potentially constructing solos that sound more emotive and unique. If you’re interested in taking a deep dive into arpeggios, you should consider signing up for Guitar Super System (opens in new tab) to solidify your foundation and learn how arpeggios can fit into your own playing.
Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win (opens in new tab). His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.