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Playing Arpeggios Correctly?

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(@Anonymous)
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OK...As some of you may know arpeggios have been frustrating the heck out of me! I just recorded a quick EGDE progression using arpeggios. Couls someone please tell me if I am playing them right? It sounds good but since I don't know what they are supposed to sound like it doesn't mean much.

Also, the D arpeggio confuses me...if an arpeggio is nothing more than the notes of a chord why is it that youplay all the strings during a D arpeggio when the D chord is played xxo232?

Thanks!

EGDE Arpeggio


   
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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
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They sound well enough played, but if you want D major as a 6 string arpeggio, then you need to make the sixth string also a chord note, such as:
2-0-0-2-3-2 (using thumb over neck - 1st inversion - D/F#)

Or rearrange the chord as any of the following shapes
2-5-4-2-3-2 (also 1st inversion = D/F#)
5-5-7-7-7-5 ( 2nd inversion = D/A )
10-12-12-11-10-10 (Root position)

Also, there's nothing to say that you have to play ALL six strings when playing an arpeggio.


   
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(@lee-n)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 142
 

The notes do not need to be played in order back and forth the strings. The only thing that sounded instantly odd about your example is it sounds like you are paying no attention to timing. What you are playing has a 12/8 feel to it but you are playing 11/8. Play around with the notes to form 2x 6/8 repeated patterns per bar and it will sound more like what the ear is expecting. If 11/8 is your intention then play in a way that gives a 11/8 feel. Even though there are no rules, we do in most cases expect to hear something a bit more uniform if you like.

Try the same thing again as you are doing but choose a repeatble pattern maybe something like..

6 5 4 1 2 3 - 6 5 4 1 2 3 (string order) on each chord change.

Lee


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Timing is NOT an issue...my question only pertained to playing the arpeggio. I didn't even care what tempo I played I just want to get the arpeggio correct. I have no problem keeping time.

Thanks


   
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(@davidhodge)
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Mike, what on earth do you mean by "correctly" or "right?" There are, and I'm sure folks will correct me on this, more than 6,745,363,123,786,432,109 ways to play a progression of arpeggios. The way on your recording is certainly one.

If by "correctly" you mean hitting all the strings in order smoothly and cleanly, then the answer (at least for this recording) is most of the time. I've listened to it seventeen times now and I'd say that the first arpeggio (E) has more confidence in it than the others. On the A it sounds like you aren't sure whether or not you want to hit the low E string first and you emphasize the A. Being the root note of that arpeggio, that's a good way to go but again, it's not the only way. But you definitely sound hesitant.

On the D it's the same thing. If you're going to make a six-string arpeggio of D, as Sport points out, then you need a different note for the low E string (this might be a good time to do a drop D tuning). But you can certainly play a four-string arpeggio instead of a six-string one.

I know that timing isn't an issue, but it sounds like you were trying to make it all smooth and even, and that gives one the impression that you're aiming for keeping things at a certain pace. The little glitches or hesitations in confidence do give a listener the feeling that you didn't do what you intended to do.

The thing to remember about arpeggios is that you should have some idea as to what you want them to sound like. You don't have to go straight up and down the strings if that's not the sequence of notes you want. You don't even have to put the same amount of stress or accent on the various notes (another part of the art of arpeggio playing). But for playing straight up and down all six strings, what you've recorded (getting past the hestitations) is pretty much what they sound like when done in this manner.

Again, this is all assuming that you have a correct sound already in mind. You state
It sounds good but since I don't know what they are supposed to sound like it doesn't mean much.

and I'll have to tell you that unless you're going for any specific sound, no one is going to be able to tell you whether or not it's "correct." If your goal is to play arpeggios of open E, A and D chords across all six strings in an up-and-down manner, then this is one way to do it. But it does sound like you need work on smoothing it out.

A good way to practice arpeggios is to have something specific in mind, not only in terms of notes but the timing you want of the notes as well. That way you have a concrete goal and you can easily monitor how successful you are at achieving it.

Hope this helps.

Peace


   
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(@lee-n)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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Timing is NOT an issue...my question only pertained to playing the arpeggio. I didn't even care what tempo I played I just want to get the arpeggio correct. I have no problem keeping time.

Thanks

Sorry Mike, only trying to help. What Dave has said above is important... "If by "correctly" you mean hitting all the strings in order smoothly and cleanly, then the answer (at least for this recording) is most of the time"

So you have the arpeggio down for certain but the rest of it sounds wrong because of the way you are playing it. When I said timing I was talking in terms of time signature, the way you play is just as important. The placing of accents and/or the point at which a pattern repeats is as important as the arpeggio itself otherwise it feels like it is almost falling over if that makes sense. Your recording starts out like straight time but then feels lost, if you play that over a straight four drum beat it will lose it's pace, IMO this as important as the arpeggio itself otherwise it will always sound amateur. I wasn't having a go at your timing, hopefully this explains it better what I am trying to say.

Lee


   
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(@Anonymous)
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I apologize for snapping Lee...I was VERY cranky last night when I posted.

David, if it doesn't matter how you play arpeggios then why even practice them? MY whole point of posting this question is that I hear people talking how important they are to assist in soloing and melodies that I thought they needed to be done correctly. If it doesn't matter then my time would be better spent learning the fretboard like the back of my hand and learning how chords are constructed. Then I will AUTOMATICALLY know how to play arpeggios because I know what notes are in a chord AND where all the notes are on the fretboard? Why does almost evey guitar lesson site have a lesson on arpeggios?

Thanks


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Mike: you don't seem to get what people are trying to say: there is not *one* specific appergio. Any combination of the A, C and E notes, in any order, in any octave, is a 'correct' A-minor appergio. Whether it is really correct depends on what the rest of the music is. For solo-ing you might want to learn to play the notes as 'licks' instead of forming a chord and playing the strings seperately.
If it doesn't matter then my time would be better spent learning the fretboard like the back of my hand and learning how chords are constructed.

That's basically what you have to do to learn appergios. Learn what chords are, then learn where those notes are.

How about this practice: grab a blues backing in Am. Note the chords plus their notes:

Am - A C E
Dm - D F A
Em - E B G

Now find these notes in the fifth position (first box of Am-penta). Every time the music changes to a different chord follow the change with a fitting appergio. After that, learn them in different positions.
if an arpeggio is nothing more than the notes of a chord why is it that youplay all the strings during a D arpeggio when the D chord is played xxo232?

It's hitting the notes of the chord, which has nothing to do with strings. You can play the D F# A notes on one string, six strings, or anything in between.


   
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(@Anonymous)
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But again I ask...WHAT is there to practice? Why are arpeggios so special that they desrve valuable practice time? Memorize the fretboard, memorize the formulas for chord construction and arpeggios are automatic. There really isn't anything to practice. Everything the people here have said I needed to wprk on has nothing to do with the arpeggio itsef. Timing and knowing where I'm going/what it should sound like...

I apologize for being a pain on this issue but all of you seem to know something I don't about arpeggios. I HONESTLY do not understand why they deserve special practice time? They are nothing more than mini scales...so know all the scales in every key and what notes make up the chord...THAT is time well spent! I can understand that. But if there is no correct way then practice is not needed. I can save that for noodling & song writing...to see what SOUNDS good to me.

At work I am a teacher and my job to to explain the hows, why's & importance of exercise/physical education to my students. I tell my students to ask questions when they don't understand something. Don't always take for granted that the teacher is right. When I teach there have been times I made a mistake and my students called me on it. That's part of a students job...to ask WHY? At home I am a STUDENT of the guitar...all of you are my "teachers"...I am asking WHY is there a need to practice arpeggios as a seperate entity? To me is sounds like a waste of time and I have been worrying about something not that important.

Thanks I appreciate your patience.


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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But again I ask...WHAT is there to practice? Why are arpeggios so special that they desrve valuable practice time? Memorize the fretboard, memorize the formulas for chord construction and arpeggios are automatic.

You kinda answered the question yourself. Memorize the fretboard, memorize the formulas for chord construction and you'll know appergios. All you have to do then is just practice as you'd practice any lick so you can find appergios instantly and play them up to speed. And yes, by doing that you'll learn far more then just appergios, so consider that a bonus. Appergios are so 'special' in that they are part of both lead and rhythm playing, they appear in nearly every genre of music known to man. It's the backbone of music. It's really that important.
They are nothing more than mini scales...so know all the scales in every key and what notes make up the chord...THAT is time well spent!

It sure is time well spent. And you can call that practicing appergios, among many other things. :D


   
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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Arpeggios are very useful practice models in which you can train your fingers to access chord notes with maximum efficiency. It's not enough to have a great theoretical knowledge of the chord notes, you also need a deep practical knowledge, which is only attainable by practice.


   
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(@Anonymous)
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But again I ask...WHAT is there to practice? Why are arpeggios so special that they desrve valuable practice time? Memorize the fretboard, memorize the formulas for chord construction and arpeggios are automatic.

You kinda answered the question yourself. Memorize the fretboard, memorize the formulas for chord construction and you'll know appergios. All you have to do then is just practice as you'd practice any lick so you can find appergios instantly and play them up to speed. And yes, by doing that you'll learn far more then just appergios, so consider that a bonus. Appergios are so 'special' in that they are part of both lead and rhythm playing, they appear in nearly every genre of music known to man. It's the backbone of music. It's really that important.

See to me that's like telling my students to practice jogging in place to get ready for a marathon. Sure it's good exercise but why not just get out and work ON the marathon?
They are nothing more than mini scales...so know all the scales in every key and what notes make up the chord...THAT is time well spent!

It sure is time well spent. And you can call that practicing appergios, among many other things. :D

But knowing all the scales and where the notes are takes different steps than practicing arpeggios. I'd rather sit with my picture of the fret board learning where all the notes are than playing the "notes of a chord".


   
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(@Anonymous)
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Arpeggios are very useful practice models in which you can train your fingers to access chord notes with maximum efficiency. It's not enough to have a great theoretical knowledge of the chord notes, you also need a deep practical knowledge, which is only attainable by practice.

As long as you know where the notes are and there is no "set" way of playing arpeggios there really isn't anything for your fingers to learn. Practice scales in all keys and arpeggios are automatic...

I am sorry but the justification still isn't there...I know all of you must be getting frustrated explaining this to me just as I am frustrated trying to understand WHY!


   
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(@fretsource)
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...I know all of you must be getting frustrated explaining this to me just as I am frustrated trying to understand WHY!

I'm sorry you're getting frustrated, I'm not at all frustrated, I'm enjoying the exchange :)

So, let's say you know every scale really well and play them all impressively fast. But what if I ask you to accompany me with arpeggios of F major 9, C maj 7 and Am7 repeatedly on a recording of mine. How can you do it? Will you start with the F major scale and consciously try to miss out the notes that you don't need, then do the same with the C and A minor scales? - That's a lot of thinking. I don't think anyone could think fast enough to play those arpeggios convincingly. And how will you finger them? If you rely on scale fingerings, you won't get the most efficient way to play the chord notes.


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
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Joined: 21 years ago
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As long as you know where the notes are and there is no "set" way of playing arpeggios there really isn't anything for your fingers to learn. Practice scales in all keys and arpeggios are automatic...

I am sorry but the justification still isn't there...I know all of you must be getting frustrated explaining this to me just as I am frustrated trying to understand WHY!

Playing music is a combination of skills and knowledge: you can read books and charts all day long but at the end of the day you still won't be able to properly play them, you'd only know how you should be able to do it. You can't read from a book how various appergios sound, you can't read from a book when to start and end the appergio, or how long to continue it, or how many notes should be in them. The only way to do that is play a whole lot of guitar, which is why I recommend playing over backings and incorporating them in your playing. But feel free to practice in any way you feel is appropriate.

And don't worry about me getting frustrated. In the end it's hardly my problem whether or not other people can play appergios, to be blunt.


   
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