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Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

so i know what an arpeggio is, or at least i think i do - the notes of a chord played seperately? and i think that when i fingerpick the notes of a chord that is an arpeggio. When use my electric i use a 5 string sweep (or a shorter version of it) to play arpeggios.

however, i am still massively confused... do you change the arpeggio to fit the chords as they change, do you sick to using for example, a c major arpeggio if the key is c major?

also, where can i find other arpeggio shapes??

i guess what i am saing is that i am nt sure how to use arpeggios effectively.. any tips?

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)

Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2246

the technical description of an arpeggio is "the notes of a chord played individually" i.e. what you've stated. but 'arpeggios' as it refers to guitar playing is usually a bit more complex than just picking the individual notes of a chord shape. some places will describe that as an arpeggio, but it generally refers to specific patterns. since I'm bloody crap and don't know how to make them cute lil tab-boxes others on here are able to do, explaining it would be a bit confusing - I'd suggest looking in the lessons part of the site for something on this, it'll explain much more clearly.

as for playing them over chord changes, yes you need to change arpeggios depending on the chord you play. e.g. if you're playing a chord progression |C|Am|F|G| then you'd play a C arpeggio over the C chord, an Am arpeggio over the Am, an F arpeggio over the F, and a G arpeggio over the G. If you think about it, a C arpeggio, involving the notes of a C chord, requires you to play C,E, and G. That'll work fine over C major. But over e.g. F, the G note will clash with the F (and the A) in the F chord.

It does depend on the chords and arpeggios you use - e.g. playiyng C arpeggio over an Am chord would 'add' a G note to the Am chord (Am=A,C,E, and Cmajor=C,E,G, so the C, and E notes are duplicate, but the G note is 'extra'), which would give you an Am7 chord overall (A,C,E,G). But, as a general rule, you use the chord-arpeggio of whatever chord you're playing over at the time. You can play arpeggios of extended chords, too (i.e. an arpeggio of Am7).


Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764

Just play the chords note by note in the pattern you like. Skip the strings, mute em or play two notes together at a time. Most important thing to remember is the 'flow of notes' as if a melody is being formed across a chord.

Lets not view arpeggios in isolation. They are to be used while strumming, fingerpicking or playing the riffs even.

Practice !