On Learning Arpeggios Across the Entire Fretboard

Last week we looked at my approach to learning scales across the entire fretboard. If you missed that, check it out here before we continue with our look at arpeggios.

The basic approach can be summed up like this:

  • Start with one octave arpeggio patterns.
  • Learn patterns starting with each fretting hand finger while staying in position.
  • Move these patterns across all the string sets.
  • Once familiar with the one octave fingerings, you can begin connecting them to cover a larger range on the guitar.

    I recommend starting with diatonic 7th chord arpeggios. These arpeggios exist within the major scale, and each is made up of 4 notes (root, 3rd, 5th, 7th). These arpeggios/chords are the basis for pretty much all contemporary music.

  • Major 7 - 1, 3, 5, 7
  • Dominant 7 - 1, 3, 5, b7
  • Minor 7 - 1, b3, 5, b7
  • Minor 7 flat 5 (aka half-diminished) - 1, b3, b5, b7

    Take each of these 4 arpeggios through the method outlined above. Once you're able to quickly visualize and play these arpeggios all over the neck, you're ready to start learning additional arpeggio types (which we won't get into here).

    As with any technical learning you do on guitar, it's best to start hearing these arpeggios in context as soon as you can. Find a backing track, record a quick one chord loop, or find a friend to jam with so you can hear the sound of the arpeggios over it's related chord.

    Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below if you have any questions or ideas about learning arpeggios on guitar.

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