No, arpeggios aren’t just for jazz and shred solos – here are 5 ways you can use them to freshen up any style of guitar playing

TGR373 Arpeggio lesson
(Image credit: Future)

An arpeggio is the notes of a chord played one at a time. On guitar, arpeggios have a reputation for being used mainly in jazz and shred solos. While they are great tools for advanced soloing, they are useful in every style of guitar. 

Classic riffs like The Killers’ Mr Brightside, Aerosmith’s Same Old Song And Dance, and REM’s Everybody Hurts are built around arpeggios. In fact, there’s so much you can do with them that for this lesson we’re only looking at one type of arpeggio: the minor 7. You may hear about techniques like sweep picking, string skipping, economy picking, or tapping for arpeggios. They’re cool, but you don’t need them here. 

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Jenna Scaramanga

Jenna writes for Total Guitar and Guitar World, and is the former classic rock columnist for Guitar Techniques. She studied with Guthrie Govan at BIMM, and has taught guitar for 15 years. She's toured in 10 countries and played on a Top 10 album (in Sweden).