New year resolution: arpeggios

(21 posts)
  1. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Happy new year to everyone!

    This year I've decided to put my arpeggios down once for all. However, I'm encountering some issues, and I hope the folks of this forum can help me to get this down.

    First of all, I'm learning with a kind of CAGED method in my conservatory. Scales were easy, but with arpeggios I somewhat mess the diagrams in my head, and every time I try to learn them I end up frustrated and skip to another thing. But I can't keep doing this anymore!

    Right now I'm studying every pattern by itself, and trying to switch roots being in the same position (so around fifth position I try to go from Cmaj7 to Fmaj7 and back). Thats fine, I can handle it. But whenever I try to add another change I'm stuck and I have to repeat my Cmaj7 pattern in fifth position, and then repeat again the new pattern (say Dmaj7 for example).

    Have you encountered similar diffculties with arpeggios? Scales were not a problem at all for me, but this is really driving me crazy!

    Are there any suggestions or different exercises you do to practice arpeggios?

    Thank you all, and I hope 2011 brings you a lot of music and Kurt's concerts in your town! ;)

  2. silverwater
    Member

    Here's the deal Jorge:

    I'm not familiar with the CAGED method. But when your knowledge of the fretboard and of the names of the notes that make up any give chord are sufficient, you're not going to care what the patterns are. Those patterns that you're toiling over right now are just to help you "find" the notes.

    In fact, you should be more concerned right now with the names of the notes than the shape of the patterns. If you're running into issues, you're probably trying to play too fast.

    Here's an exercise that will help you memorize the neck and the spellings of chords:

    1. Pick Take a tune, let's say "all the things".

    2. Pick a position, let's say III

    3. Start on the first available note of the first chord (fm7), which is Ab.

    4. Play quarter notes at a slow tempo, just the chord tones. When you get to the Bbm7 chord, go to the next available chord tone in Bbm7, continuing in the same direction. (It'll be Ab again actually). When you can't go any higher in pos III, start going down.

    Here's what the first 4 bars will look like:

    Fm7-------------------------Bb-7-----------------------------Eb7-------------------------Abmaj7

    E------------------------------------------------------------------3------6-------3--------------------------------------
    B-----------------------------------------------------------6----------------------------4-------------------------------
    G--------------------------------------3---------6---------------------------------------------5------------------------
    D-----------------------3-------6---------------------------------------------------------------------6---5-------------
    A-----------3----6------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6------
    E-----4-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You can expand this exercise by playing eight notes, playing up and down the neck, or incorporating approach notes. You can take a similar approach when practicing scales and chords.

  3. Poparad
    Member

    Obviously note names are vital, but shapes and patterns are extremely important on the guitar, as well. Mainly, but practicing the arpeggio shapes, and thus the fingerings, you can execute an arpeggio quickly without running into any issues are far as which finger to use or when to shift, which at fast speeds you just don't have time to deal with.

    I went through the CAGED patterns last summer to a great deal, which has now allowed me to move onto other approaches to fingerings now that I have a more solid foundation. I would either take one shape and move it up and down the fretboard through a scale, or I'd take one sound (like Gm7, for example) and play all five CAGED positions of it. Here are the shapes I came up with, written out as maj7 arpeggios:


    "E"
    |-R-|---|---|---|-3-|
    |-5-|---|---|---|-7-|
    |---|-3-|---|---|---|
    |---|-7-|-R-|---|---|
    |---|---|-5-|---|---|
    |-R-|---|---|---|-3-|


    "D"
    |---|---|-3-|---|---|
    |---|---|-7-|-R-|---|
    |---|---|-5-|---|---|
    |-R-|---|---|---|-3-|
    |-5-|---|---|---|-7-|
    |---|---|-3-|---|---|


    "C"
    |-3-|---|---|-5-|---|
    |-7-|-R-|---|---|---|
    |-5-|---|---|---|---|
    |---|---|-3-|---|---|
    |---|---|-7-|-R-|---|
    |-3-|---|---|-5-|---|


    "A"
    |-5-|---|---|---|-7-|
    |---|---|-3-|---|---|
    |---|-7-|-R-|---|---|
    |---|---|-5-|---|---|
    |-R-|---|---|---|-3-|
    |-5-|---|---|---|-7-|


    "G"
    |---|---|-7-|-R-|---|
    |-3-|---|---|-5-|---|
    |-R-|---|---|---|---|
    |-5-|---|---|---|-7-|
    |---|---|-3-|---|---|
    |---|---|-7-|-R-|---|

    When going through the different types (maj7, dom7, m7, etc), there are many instances where moving a note to another string is more practical. For example, on the last one, the "G" shape, for a min7 chord, the 3rd on the 2nd string is easier to play when moved to the 3rd string as a b3.

  4. Matt
    Member

    i suck at practicing arpeggios. for some reason, i just cant focus and work on them.
    which i need to...

    but i would say one thing that helped me solidfy the arpeggios i am comfortable playing is sequencing them ie 1-5,3-7,5-9,7-(#)11, etc. string skipping made me think of their sound in a whole new way.

    i also voice lead (?) them thru changes, like an arpeggio from the root of Cmaj7, and if the next chord was, say Em11, play an Em11 arpeggios from the fifth of Em - B.

    i hope this is coherent enough to help even a little!

  5. silverwater
    Member

    Never said shapes and patterns weren't important. All I'm saying is that if you know the notes, you'll never forget the shapes/patterns.

    So if someone is obsessing over whether or not they can remember a geometric shape on their fingerboard, they're focused on the wrong thing.

  6. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Thanks for your answers!

    I agree with silverwater, the ideal situation would be to focus on notes instead of patterns, and I rely on this whenever I can when I play scales (usually I can't do it with fast changes or non usual movements, or when there's a key signature with a lot of accidentals),

    However, my teacher recommended that we should start with patterns first, and when we dominate this, forget about them and think about the notes.

    I've done the exercises that Matt and Poparad suggested, except voice-leading thru changes (I'm too fresh to do that). Maybe I should try to focus more and nail down one or two patterns and apply them ad nauseaum before trying anything else...well, today I'll discover, I'm going to spend a couple hours today with just to arpeggio patterns, and see what happens! lol

    Anyway, more thoughts are welcomed! I think this is an interesting conversation, and It's always nice to know how people works at home. You never know when you're going to find a new way of practicing things

  7. jorgemg1984
    Member

    Theres a workshop around when Kurt says he never thinks of the actual notes, he "sees" the chord tones on the fretboard, guitar is much more bout visualizing the fretboard than thinking about the actual notes in my opinion.

    CAGED is good for scales but can be confusing for arpeggios sometimes...

  8. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    That's interesting jorge, I haven't seen that workshop I think, but that words from Kurt are encouraging!

    It's not really CAGED what I'm learning, sort of a bastardized version of it, but I find it very nice. It's just that I'm having memory leaks hehe. Maybe I should try to slow down and nail things down before moving on. I'll tell ypu how it goes

  9. Matt
    Member

    one thing i think that's also helpful learning are extended arpeggios through one octave, ie playing C E G B D F# on string groupings. I learned the basic arpeggios over two octaves, and i think they prove to limit your sonically, as an arpeggios gets boring after an octave or solo (unless your sweeping at 5000000bpm; then their awesome!)

  10. jazznan
    Member

  11. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Well, this is my second day of practicing arpeggios. I would say that between yesterday and today I've practiced about 5 hours on this alone.

    My procedure for has been taking one pattern of the maj7 arpeggio and work it through the entire neck, just in sequence. When I felt my fingers had memorized the pattern reasonably well, I switched to another one. When I finished with the second pattern, I started playing up and down the neck with both patterns, like this: position 1: pattern 1, then pattern 2; position two: pattern 1, then pattern 2...

    Today I added a third pattern, and continued to practice the other two as before, but sometimes I would try to go up pattern 1 and down pattern 2. Pretty difficult for now at a reasonable speed.

    What I'm after for now is to make my fingers learn the patterns thoroughly, I'm not making music right now. Between tonight and tomorrow I hope to add the third pattern to the entire neck exercise and to start practicing a fourth pattern by itself.

    I feel I'm starting to get something out of this, but it's a tough thing because I need to stay focused. I can't afford to get the pattern wrong, so it really needs concentration.

    I'll tell you how it goes and what I discover by the way (if I don't go nuts lol). Wish me luck!

  12. Sandemose
    Member

    Hi all, this is how I practice arpeggios:

    I have this technical excercise which only practice the fingering and shapes for maj7, dom7, minor7, minor7b5, minor-major7. In this excercise I ascend or decsend cromatically, halfsteps using a certain fingering pattern:

    Gmaj7 Abmaj7

    -------------------------2--3---4--3-------------------------------------------4--5----
    ----------------------3----------------4--------------------------------------5--------
    -------------------4----------------------5--------------------------------6-----------
    ------------4--5----------------------------6--5--------------------6--7-------------
    ------2--5----------------------------------------6--3-------4--7--------------------
    ----3----------------------------------------------------4--5-------------------------
    F: 2 1 4 3 4 3 2 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 3 4 1 2 3 1 4 etc.

    So I ascend cromatically without sliding, instead preparing the hand with this fingering pattern to avoid sliding/glissando.

    Its really time consuming to write these things out, but I have a fingering system for practicing these kind of patterns diatonically as well, starting from the root, third, fifth and seventh. If people are intrested I´ll write it out. I also have specific patterns for practicing triads as well.

    One thing that should be mentioned speaking of arpeggios is to be able to use the same patterns over different contexts, finding nice subs, outside sounds, generalizing etc. Like, play through a tune only using minor7 patterns over all chords, major7, minor7, dom7 (altered sounds). I also spend much time only playing triads from the root, third and fifth (from Lage Lunds lesson), and that helped me connect with the sounds much better, hearing the harmonic movement, and learning the tune by heart much faster. Highly recommended.

    Best, Sandemose

  13. Neither
    Member

    Hey, Sandemose,
    What is this Lage Lunds lesson you talk about ? Is it a lesson we can find on internet, or is it a private lesson he did for you ?

    Best

  14. david6strings
    Member

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ----------5--8-------6--------------------------8--6------5-----------------------------------------------------------
    ------6----------------------8--6--------5-----------------------6--5-------6--3----------------5-----3-------2----
    ---8---------------------8-------------------6-----------------6--------------------4--3------2-----5----------------
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Im working right now in this kind of tones leading. what i do is some kind of permutation over one octave close position arpeggios. i think is good for chord running in songs with a lot of harmony activity. the first i focus is the jump between two roots, then i play 4 eights so i can't repeat any chord tone and it is perfect defined by its 4 notes. but what is interesting is to internalize the what chord tones can be better lead.
    in an ascending perfect fourth root fashion we find easy to lead a tone to another in the next chord but when the last eight note are a common tone between the two chords then maybe we can use another things like apoggiatura or chromatic tones

    ------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------- ------------3---------------------------------------------------------
    ---------3---5-------5---2--------- say we want that 2 voicinigs ---------3------5--2-----------or------------3--4--5---2------------
    -----5------------------------3--1-- then i play it like this ------5----------------3--1--------------5-------------------3--1----
    --6---------------------------------- ---6----------------------------------6-------------------------------
    -------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

  15. david6strings
    Member

    i dont know what has happened hith the tab

    (Eb G Bb C ) (C A F Eb) since C are the common tone C-7 and F7 and i want 4 note arpeggios playing in eights, i dont want to hear two times C. so i modified the first arpeggio (Eb G Bb D) that D is apoggiatura isn't it (hahaha im not sure) or i can put a chromatic tone instead of the root (Eb G Bb B) an then the second original arpeggio C A F Eb

  16. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey Sandemose, I've been working on that chromatic exercise too, but I don't mind about the fingering, mostly because I'm used to make portamentos to keep fingering to a minimum.

    I'm on my fourth day of my "arpeggio diet". I definitely can see a benefit in playing only arpeggios all day. The only time I'm making real music right now is when I study classical, and even then I've seen an unexpected benefit (particularly in Bach pieces, now and then I'll play a passage and be able to identify a major arpeggio without even think of it!).

    I've introduced the five shapes already, so now I'm going for the minor 7ths. I'll recommend this way of working to anyone who has problems with scales or arpeggios, given that he has free time to study and has the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.

    I'll tell you how this goes in a couple days!

    David, your tab messed up....I know it's a pity, I hated to write tab on forums, it's time consuming and 90% of the time something goes wrong and the whole thing messes up....

  17. Matt
    Member

    i think ted greene would agree with the bach study; bach is heavy!

  18. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Hey everybody! Long time without writing, but I've had a big cold for a few days (still have it) :(

    Anyway, just wanted to write how it's going. By now I have added the shaopes for the dominant arpeggio.

    Some exercises to avoid a "mental mess" with all these patterns (15 by now), are:

    - In the same pattern, play consecutive Maj7, m7 and 7 arpeggio.
    - Armonizing a major tonality with arpeggios, in position and up and down the neck.
    - II-V-I in several parts of the neck, changing keys.
    - Playing the changes of a tune in position, no tempo.

    All of this goes very slow by now, nothing to write home about, nor enough to play over giant steps, but I can definitely feel some melodic improvement over slower tunes or tunes with slower harmonic movement.

    The next thing to do is to start jumping inside the patterns (playing them non-secuentially i.e: root,5,3,7; or root,7,3,root,5,3,7,5;).

    I'll keep you "tuned-up" of my progress. See you soon!

  19. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    I figured out it was time to update this thread. I've been studying mostly arpeggios for 4 months. I haven't maintained the "arpeggio diet" because I had a lot more things to study, but it is about 75% of my guitar-things study schedule.

    I'll tell you what: I was at a jam session the other day, and I called "song for my father". I found myself more comfortable throwing arpeggios most of the time, mixing it with some blues scale in the Db7 C7 phrase (I can't mix them up that quick yet), and I didn't think much about it.

    So there you have it, it is not more complicated that learning pentatonic scales. It takes time to mix them at will, but hey it's just been four months since I learned my first arpeggio, so if anyone is struggling with this, I hope this post helps as a motivational tool

  20. Matt
    Member

    congrats jorge! good to hear it's going well. nothing like getting stuff together with dedication and practice!

  21. JorgeRubiales
    Member

    Thanks Matt! I put this up mainly to motivate other lazy players like me who think arpeggios are "too much of a hassle to study right now", and to help me being objective about the real pace of the progress. Today I was thinking "maybe I should get back to study only arpeggios, I've still a lot to learn", but as I was writing today's post I realized that I've only worked for four months. It's weird how time works hehe.


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