Creative Arpeggios

I've had many students struggle with getting creative arpeggio ideas in their solos. More often than not, they'll simply play straight up or down the arpeggio, sounding more like an exercise than a piece of music.

Here's a simple practice method that I give them to get their arpeggios sounding interesting and fresh.

Practice all the possible permutations of chord tones, not just 1 3 5 7.

For any 7th chord arpeggios, you have the following permutations:

1 3 5 7, 1 3 7 5, 1 5 3 7, 1 5 7 3, 1 7 3 5, 1 7 5 3, 3 1 5 7, 3 1 7 5, 3 5 1 7, 3 5 7 1, 3 7 1 5, 3 7 5 1, 5 1 3 7, 5 1 7 3, 5 3 1 7, 5 3 7 1, 5 7 1 3, 5 7 3 1, 7 1 3 5, 7 1 5 3, 7 3 1 5, 7 3 5 1, 7 5 1 3, 7 5 3 1

You now have a total of 24 different ways to play all your 7th chord arpeggios.

Take one or two permutations during your next practice session and work out the patterns. Once the shapes are under your fingers, work them into an improvisation. With a little time and practice, these new approaches to arpeggios will become a part of your vocabulary. Have fun!


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