How to Play "Aristocratic Arpeggios"

Welcome to the second installment of Music of the Arcane, where we will begin to expand upon the small sweep picking shapes we discussed in my last column.

In EXAMPLE 1, the three note arpeggios from the last blog are combined, creating a cool flickering type of sound due to the repeated notes.

Remember that the consecutive downs and ups should not be separated, but one smooth raking motion. As indicated by the different groupings, practice these with a duple and triple feel in order to achieve complete control. EXAMPLE 2 demonstrates how to apply this technique to chord inversions by alternating two minor chords (Dm and Abm) a tritone apart.

Have all those inversions down? If not, try looping each arpeggio by beat to get started. You can also double each beat, which allows more time to think of which shape comes next. Synyster Gates from Avenged Sevenfold uses picking patterns similar to this in many of his solos, often with blindingly fast results.

Adding a note on the G string creates the four note arpeggios in EXAMPLE 3. Getting a smooth three string down or upsweep is another fundamental of the technique, especially if the ultimate goal is five or six string arpeggios.

EXAMPLE 4 is a diatonic progression in E minor demonstrating how to link ascending and descending patterns. Using the same inversion allows you to slide with either your index or pinky finger to make a smoother transition.

There are still two more inversions of all the triads to figure out now that we have expanded the shape, and no, I’m not going to spoon feed you all of those. When you are ready to test your mettle, dig in to EXAMPLE 5.

Here are more triads a tritone apart, this time using major. A good strategy is to start with each singular arpeggio, then move on to just the F# chords and the C chords independently, then put it all back together. If your fingers have not melted off by this point, then I challenge you to return to my next blog where we will examine more uses for these shapes. Until then, raise a goblet of the finest mead and stay metal.

Baron Taurean Helleshaar is a roaming sell sword and scholar of the forbidden “Music of the Arcane." He has formed an allegiance with the Lords of the Tridentwhile remaining in exile from his home in the Northern Kingdom. His mortal alter ego, Brian Koenig, is lead guitarist for the band Lords of the Trident and teaches music privately in Madison, Wisconsin. He was a founding member of Luna Mortis (Century Media) and has toured the U.S. and Canada. He holds a master's of music in composition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a bachelor's of music in music theory and history from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

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