Finger-Picking And Arpeggios

author: CPDmusic date: 05/13/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 9.2 / votes: 5 
Introduction: Hello, and welcome to another lesson by CPDmusic! If this is your first time reading one of my lessons, hopefully you'll like it, and read my others. If this isn't your first time reading one of my lessons, than welcome back! Anyway, this lesson is on finger-picking and arpeggios, a favourite topic of mine. I won't get too in-depth though, I'll just scratch the surface of this subject. This lesson will teach you how to make basic chord progressions more interesting by finger-picking individual notes, as well as introduce the basic major and minor arpeggios. It's Finger-pickin' Good: Are you one of the 12 000 guitar players that have written a song with just another chord progression? Well here's a way to spice it up a bit! Try finger-picking the chords! It may take a bit of getting used to, but it makes your guitar playing a lot more interesting. Let's start easy, with a basic D chord:
E||--2----||
B||--3----||
G||--2----||
D||--0----||
A||--------||
E||---------||
Pretty boring, right? Well let's try picking each note individually now:
E||-----------------2----||
B||------------3---------||
G||-------2--------------||
D||--0-------------------||
A||----------------------||
E||----------------------||
Well, it's still not very interesting just playing the notes lowest to highest, so let's change it up a bit:
E||-------2--------------||
B||-----------------3----||
G||------------2---------||
D||--0-------------------||
A||----------------------||
E||----------------------||
Now, another thing you could do is change up the note values, instead of playing each note evenly. In the following example, Q means quarter note (1 beat), and E mean eighth note (1/2 a beat).
Q    E  E  Q    Q       E  E  E  E  Q    Q
E||-------2---------------|--2-----------2---------||
B||-------------3---------|--------3---------------||
G||----------2------------|-----2-------------2----||
D||--0---------------0----|-----------0------------||
A||-----------------------|-------------------------||
E||-----------------------|-------------------------||
Now your boring D chord is a bit more interesting, isn't it? But it eventually gets boring just staying on one chord, so you need to change things up a bit! Let's try a very basic chord progression, like D and Dsus4:
E||--2----------------|--3----------------||
B||--3----------------|--3----------------||
G||--2----------------|--2----------------||
D||--0----------------|--0----------------||
A||-------------------|--------------------||
E||-------------------|--------------------||
Just try randomly playing different notes of these chords. There is no right or wrong as long as you stay within the chords (I just lied; you can go outside the chords. I'll eventually make a more advanced lesson which combines finger-picking chords and scales together.) Here's a basic lick I composed using just those two chords:
E||-------2--------------|--2--------------3----|------------3---------||
B||------------3---------|-------3--------------|--3--------------3----||
G||-----------------2----|----------------------|-------2--------------||
D||--0-------------------|------------0---------|----------------------||
A||----------------------|----------------------|----------------------||
E||----------------------|----------------------|----------------------||
See, that's all it takes! Here are some more progressions you can try: G major and C major A major and D major A major and E major C major and F major E minor and B minor Also, try finger-picking the chord progressions of some of your favourite songs! Arpeggios: Arpeggios are also fun to use when writing songs. Have you ever heard of Yngwie Malmsteen? If you haven't, than you don't know what you're missing. He uses arpeggios extensively in his music, and even has a song called Arpeggios from Hell. While the finger-picked chords you played above are also technically arpeggios, there are also basic major and minor arpeggios (as well as lots of others). Much like scales, these arpeggios follow a pattern. Let's start with the major arpeggio. It consists of three notes, and goes root note, 2 tones, one and a half tones. In other words, it's the root note, and the major third and perfect fifth of that note. (I'll try and write a lesson on intervals sometime soon also.) So, let's say we wanted to make a D major arpeggio. We would start with our root note, D:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--5----||
E||-------||
Then, we would play the note 2 tones above that, which is F#:
E||------------||
B||------------||
G||------------||
D||-------4----||
A||--5---------||
E||------------||
And finally, we would play the note that is a tone and a half above that F#, which is A:
E||-----------------||
B||-----------------||
G||------------2----||
D||-------4---------||
A||--5--------------||
E||-----------------||
And that's your D major arpeggio! Pretty easy, right? You now have one more element you can incorporate into your writing, and who knows, maybe you're the next Yngwie? Now, minor arpeggios are similar, except the 2 tones and the tone and a half switch places, making it the minor third and perfect fifth of the root note. So, let's do a D minor arpeggio, by starting with our root note, D:
E||-------||
B||-------||
G||-------||
D||-------||
A||--5----||
E||-------||
Now, let's play the note a tone and a half higher than D, which is F:
E||------------||
B||------------||
G||------------||
D||-------3----||
A||--5---------||
E||------------||
And finally, the note 2 tones higher than F, A:
E||-----------------||
B||-----------------||
G||------------2----||
D||-------3---------||
A||--5--------------||
E||-----------------||
So, there you have it, a D minor arpeggio! Now you have an arpeggio in can use in both major AND minor keys! (If you don't know what those are, check out my lesson on it) Closing: Well, what did we learn today? Well, we learned that simple chord progression could be made more interesting by finger-picking them, we learned two basic arpeggios, major and minor, and we learned that Yngwie Malmsteen is a reason to practice those arpeggios. (Seriously, if you haven't done so already, just search him on YouTube or something!) Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this lesson as much as I did writing it, and until next time, this is CPDmusic saying adios, amigos! DID YOU LIKE THIS LESSON? CHECK OUT MY LAST LESSON, Begginers Guide To Barre Chords More Lessons Coming Soon!
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