Everyone from Charlie Christian to Yngwie Malmsteen has used arpeggios in their guitar solos – here's how you can do it, too

Yngwie Malmsteen
(Image credit: Carlos Santiago/ Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Previously, we've looked at how arpeggios are a valuable tool to add melodic and rhythmic interest to rhythm guitar. This time, we will see how they can enhance the sound of your lead solos.

One of the strengths of using arpeggios in lead playing is that harmonically you can’t go wrong by outlining the notes in a chord. This idea is often attributed to early jazz, where arpeggios were used to play over chord progressions. For anyone new to this technique, it can be challenging at first. It requires the guitarist to have certain information and skill.

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Simon Barnard

Simon is a graduate of the UK's Academy of Contemporary Music and The Guitar Institute, and holds a Masters degree in music. He teaches, examines and plays everything from rock to jazz.