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On arpeggios

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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
Topic starter  

Hi,

Today I was practicing arpeggios with the guitar, not playing the strings following a pattern as in fingerpicking or Travis picking, I mean playing the notes in each chord with different order and rhythm as in bass playing.

I played some songs that I already know and I had a doubt. I'll try to use an example with this chord progression: A - F#m - D - E - A. I use the root note for the A chord in the 5th fret, 6th string. The F#m is in the 2th fret, 6th string; but also in the 4th fret, 4th string. The first is lower than the A note that I use and the second is higher.

Is there any criterion to use the lower or higher note? Does it depend on the song? Does it depends on the player? Probably it is not important because the chord sounds well in both cases but the feeling is not the same. Perhaps it sounds even different if the 7th fret, 4th string is used for the second A chord.

Thanks in forward.


   
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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 973
 

Harmonically, it makes no difference at all. The chord is still in root position. The only difference is the one that you noticed, the bass note is an octave higher, reducing the pitch range of the chord, possibly making a 'tighter' sound but having no effect at all on the harmony.

Melodically, though it's a different matter. You want the bass note to follow naturally from the previous one and also to lead into the next one.

Say you had the chord sequence G - F#m - Em With the G and E minor bass notes on string 6. In that case, you'd almost certainly want F# minor's bass note to be on string 6 too, so that you have a smooth bass progression dropping by step.
If you played F#m from string 4, your bass line would contain an ungainly jump from G (on str6) up a major 7th to F# (on str4)and then another huge leap as it drops a major 9th to the open E.
So choose the octave based on the strongest (or most interesting) melodic bass progression that those chords provide.


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
Topic starter  

Thank you very much! :D

BTW, I am using the trainers in your website. Very useful tools! Thanks again.


   
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