In this lesson we are going to take simple three note arpeggios and learn how to play them seamlessly over three octaves. Not only will this lesson help expand your musical vocabulary, but it may also change how you understand, visualize, and navigate the fretboard.
The six strings of the guitar can be looked at as three pairs of strings. The first pair being the low E and A strings. The second pair being the “middle” D and G strings, and the third pair being the B and high E strings.
Whatever pattern of notes you play on the first pair of strings, you can repeat an octave higher by simply performing the same thing on the next pair of strings, however two frets higher. You can do it again, another octave higher by performing the same thing on the next pair of strings, albeit three frets higher up the neck than before.
In this lesson, we will do this with the basic triad arpeggios: Major, minor, and diminished.
The G Major arpeggio looks like:
The G minor arpeggio looks like:
and the G diminished arpeggio looks like:
It is a great idea to practice in a musical context, and ours will be in the key of G Major, yielding these chords to arpeggiate:
Make sure to practice these slowly, with alternate picking, transitioning from octave to octave by simply moving your whole hand up the neck, keeping the ‘shape’ of the arpeggio in your fingers.
Guitarist Adrian Galysh is a solo artist, session musician, composer and educator. He's the author of Progressive Guitar Warmups and Exercises. Adrian uses SIT Strings, Seymour Duncan pickups and effects, Brian Moore guitars, Voodoo Labs, D'Angelico guitars and Morley pedals. For more information, visit AdrianGalysh.com.