Arpeggios...inspiration needed

(12 posts)
  1. I'm a rookie player and am trying to get my arpeggios to sound more fluid. Right now...I'd say that things sound too much like an exercise when I play through changes. I do realize that this is probably a situation in which I just need to keep at it, but I'm wondering if anyone has any information that could help me see things in a new way and provide inspiration about practicing.

  2. JorgeRubiales

    I guess you're playing arpeggios with chord tones only. If that's the case, you should try "Bird's way": play the arpeggio of the upper structure of the chord, and mix it up with the chord tones. I have to practice that too....

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  3. Thanks for the quick reply Jorge. Just to make sure I understand what you're saying...

    If I were to examine a Bb7, you're suggesting to also think about what arpeggios are formed off of the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th of Bb7?

    In this case...
    R - Bb7
    3rd- Dmin7b5
    5th - Fmin7
    7th - Abmaj7
    9th - Cmin7

    Is this the correct way to think about this?


  4. JorgeRubiales

    Yes, that way you're imposing another similar sound to the chord. I think this is specially effective if you don't always play the arpeggio from the root, or if you play it "broken"

  5. jseaberry

    Also, remember that for a dominant chord, you can substitute for it by minor 3rds; so for D7: Ab7, B7, and F7 arps can fit.

  6. Poparad

    That's right about the substitutions, although you don't have to take it that far. From the 3rd always sounds great, and from the 5th sometimes, depending on the chord. From the 7th, even less of the time. The further away from the root you get, the further removed you get from the actual chord, so subs become less and less effective.

    Now that said, if you're having trouble just playing from the roots, don't trouble yourself too much with substitution complexities just yet.

  7. jseaberry

    Maybe stop playing them as "exercises"? Vary the timing and articulation and duration of the notes and what you are already doing may seem more musical than you thought.

  8. Something you might not have considered is that 1,3,5,7 standard arpeggios can sound perfectly hip if you do it well rhythmically (edit: jseaberry just said the same thing :)).

    Another thing I've found helpful is to write down all 24 permutations of 1357 and choose one and play it through a whole standard. When you get good at this you can alternate between two, maybe three at a time (it starts to get really hard the more you add!)

  9. I really appreciate the suggestions from everyone. Spent the day working on this stuff and am feeling like there's a lot of music in all of this stuff. Thanks again...

    Now it's back to the shed...

  10. jseaberry

    Another related idea; listen to some Grant Green. Never played fancy "outside" lines, never played chord solos or polyphonically, but his time and articulation made the things he already knew sound hip and unique. You may just need to get away from the complexity desires and learn to "craft" each note you play.

  11. Sandemose

    I havent transcribed alot, a mather of fact hardly anything, but what Ive realized after transcribing some of Keith Jarretts solos, is that his genius phrasing is product of insane craftmanship when it comes to placing the phrase within the form. Some of his stuff is so simple on a theoretical level its almost insulting but its so hip you cant stand it. His use of triads is so fantastic and same with just basic arpeggios. I would definetly check out some Keith Jarrett solos for inspiration on the use of arpeggios. Since we (arent we?) are guitarist, I think we are very dependent on having the basic arpeggios down to outline harmony when we havent a pianoplayer or guitarplayer around to back us up. Same goes for horn players I guess.

    I myself spend quite much time just getting the craftmanship down, working with execution of arpeggios to be able to perform the sounds I hear. Just the fact when you realize you can pull off a arpeggio in fluid way, I find that very inspirational.

    Best, Sandemose

  12. JorgeRubiales

    I'm back reading through Jody Fisher's jazz method (the basic one), and I think his stuff will help me put my arpeggios to work. I've never been a guy of chords/arpeggios, but I've understand that if I want to play jazz I need to master this.

    Really helpful stuff (not a novelty in itself, but helpful), and I think working with the bare minimum elements is key here. If you can play a major triad all over the neck on every inversion, then you can say "I can play major triads". The same with minor, + and dim...


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