Arpeggios Used In Leads

author: UG Team date: 07/31/2003 category: guitar techniques
rating: 6.4 / votes: 17 
Well it's time to get back on track and start doing the lessons again. Many thanks to beat for doing the lesson last week on reharmonization wich, as always, can be found in the archive threads forum. I've somewhat run out of "pure techniques" that I can cover. There's millions of techniques out there but they all pretty much evolve from those that we've done. Legato, Alternate Picking, Pick Sweeping, Tapping, String Skipping, Finger Picking etc. So from here on I'm going to take a more general approach. My concern is teaching people (and myself) new things that to do on the guitar and new ways of thinking about the instrument. As long as that's accomplished it doesn't really matter if we're learning a technique or a style. Or how to play harmonics differently. Or common ways to change keys every measure. Most of the requests that I've had for lessons have been "I want to know how to write better riffs" anyway. So without further ado let's get down to it. This week's lesson is going to be slightly theory related and it's going to kill 2 birds with stone. It's going to go into great detail about this week's topic but also instead of giving examples as short riffs I'm going to tab out an (almost) entire song and disect it riff for riff, solo for solo to give the ultimate example of how to actually apply the techniques that we've learned into a song rather than just giving a few riffs with no explanation for how to tie it into your song. Thanks to Nitro_Freezing for suggesting that we do a lesson on arpeggios used in leads. Prerequisites. It's Really Going To Help You Understand This Lesson If You Understand How Chords Are Constructed And Named. If You Don't Then Go Read (and Understand) This Excellent Tutorial At Cyberfret: Chord Construction. You also need to know what an arpeggio is but I'll define it here for people who don't. An arpeggio is where you play a chord broken up. So you don't strum it all at once, instead you pick it apart and play it note for note (in any order). Let's talk about arpeggios, let's talk about you and me. The first thing to note when using arpeggios in your solos is try not to think of chord forms. A lot of beginners, and even some seasoned players like to think of chords as the shape they make with their fretting hand. They'll say to themselves "Ok I'm going to play an E major so I'll shape my hand like this and start on an E". That kind of technique can help you out in a lot of situations but when it comes time to write melodies, and even chord progessions for that matter, it limits you. Instead think notes. If I tell you to picture a D major I don't want you to picture a hand. I want you picture the notes D F# and A. There's one other restriction that we can lift. If you were to strum a B minor (for example) or apreggiate it for a rythm lick you would usually want to start on B to really bring out that you're arpeggating that chord. In lead, however, it doesn't really matter. If you listen to Areggios From Hell by Yngwie Malmsteen, for example, you might have a hard time actually picking out that he's apreggiating chords at all. That's because you don't have to apreggiate so that it sounds like you're playing chords. So what good are arpeggios? In solos they bring a tremendous ammount of harmony. They're great for licks such as pick sweeps, taps, or even climbs where we want to bring out a lot of harmony. Adjacent notes in the key will sound like crud because they don't play together very well and we play notes like that when we do climbs, alternate picks etc. where harmony isn't whatwe're after. Let's get to the damn song now dammit! Alright we finally have all that boring stuff out of the way and as I promised I'm going to tab out a song now. I'm going to get a little sleezy here and use one of my own songs. I'm not doing it for shameless self promotion, though. The reason I'm doing it is because a) I know the song inside and out and so my tabs will be deadly accurate 100% and b) I'm allowed to freely redistribute my own work so you guys are all free do download the song and listen to it so you don't just see a bunch of numbers. The song is "Frail Dawn." The song is in the key of E minor (Aeolian). We'll start with the intro/main riff. The chords are Em, Dmaj and C5, they're apreggiated and wrapped with some melody.
     Em              Dmaj     C5      Em              Dmaj
     e g b           d F# a   c g     e g b           d F#     a
E|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|------------------------------------------------------7--8-7-10-8-7--|
G|-------4-5-7-5-4--------2---------------4-5-7-5-4---7---------------7|
D|-----5-----------5---4----4---5-4-----5-----------5------------------|
A|14\7---------------5--------3-----5-7--------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------------|
You can see that the arpeggios are adding the harmony here. If I were to just walk a scale up and down it wouldn't sound very harmonic at all and it wouldn't do anything to create a mood. The next part of the song is a pick sweep and is just an apreggio of Em. This is the part where the sweep is done over the fast drum part. I'll use "///" to indicate what notes we sweep.
      / / /       / / /       / / /
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|--------5/7---------5/8---------5-/-13-12-10-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7----|
G|------4-----------4-----------4---------------------------------7--|
D|----5-----------5-----------5--------------------------------------|
A|-7-----------7-----------7-----------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
After that they repeat each other so I'll skip to the first solo. The first part of the first solo is a fast walk up and then a sweep of Em (in a different position than the riffs above) into Emsus2 (just Em with a F# tapped on) into D maj. This happens pretty fast so you have to pay attention to catch the chords.
                                          Em                          
                                          /  /  /  /                  
E|-------------------------------------------------12h14h15p14p12h14b|
B|5-7-8-7-8-10-8-10-12-10-12-13-12-13-14~-------12-------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------12----------------------|
D|----------------------------------------14-------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
After that comes another melody followed by a sweep of B minor.
  Emsus2 D maj                 Bm(BD F#)
  / / /                        / / /
E|------14-------------------------14-15-17/19-13--------------------|
B|----12--15---------------------15---------------17p15-17b-17p15h17~|
G|--12------14~-11h12\9-/11----16------------------------------------|
D|14-----------------------12----------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------12--------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
You can see that so far in the solo I'm centering everything around arpeggios. I'll a walk up or a melody followed by a sweep followed by more melody etc. I'm trying to balance everything out and give harmony and melody. The next part is goes on until the fast drum part and it's pretty much all legato and alternate picking but there is a sweep of Am add9 in there.
leg. 
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-12h14p12-11h12p11-9h11p9----9-----------------------------------|
D|--------------------------12---12-9h10p9----9--------------------|
A|-----------------------------------------12---12-9h10p9-\7\5/7---|
E|-----------------------------------------------------------------|

alt. picking leg. 
E|--------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------------------------12h13h14-|
G|--------------------7-9-11-9---11h12p11\9-/12--12h14----------|
D|-------5-7-9-7-9-10-------------------------------------------|
A|7-9-10--------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------|



E|12h14h15p14p12----12-------------------------------------------|
B|---------------14----14-12h13p12----12b------------------------|
G|---------------------------------14-----14b-12h14p12-11h12p11--|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

Am add9
/ / / leg.
E|------------19h20p19p17-------19-----------------------------|
B|---------------------------17----20-19-17b-17h19p17-15h17p15-|
G|------------------------17-----------------------------------|
D|14b-12-14----------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------|

E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|12h13p12------------------------------------------10h12h13p12p10h12b|
G|---------14b-12h14p12-11h12p11------------9h11h12-------------------|
D|-------------------------------14b-12-14----------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-10h12p10-8h10p8-7h8p7----------------------------------------------|
G|-----------------------9-7-9~--7h9p7--------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------7h9p7-5h7p7-4h5h7--------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------3h5h7--3h5h7-|
E|--------------------------------------------------------------------|


alt. picking
E|----------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------13-12-10-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7----|
G|-------------------------------------------------7--|
D|4h5h7-4h5h7-5-7-9-----------------------------------|
A|----------------------------------------------------|
E|----------------------------------------------------|
Phew. Ok that last bit of alternate picking is over the fast drum section. Now we have a little climb up with alternate picking and we get back into some harmony with some more arpeggios.
alt. picking 
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------------10-12-13----------12-13-14|
G|---------------------------12-9--9-11-12----------11-12-14---------|
D|-------7-9-10---------9-10-----------------------------------------|
A|7-9-10--------9-10-12----------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

Em Am Am
/ / / / / / / / / 
E|-----------------------------------------------20-19--22b--17h19p17|
B|----17--------17-19h20p19p17h19b-----17--19-20---------------------|
G|--16--------17---------------------17------------------------------|
D|17--------19---------------------19--------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|15h17p15-14h15p14-12h14p15p14p12----12-----------------------------|
B|---------------------------------15---15-12h13p12----12------------|
G|--------------------------------------------------14----14-12h14p12|
D|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|

alt. picking
E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|----------------------17-15-13-15-13-12-13-12-10-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7|
G|-11h12p11----------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------14b-12-14------------------------------------------------|
A|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
E--------------------------------------------------------------------|

E|-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B|5-7-5-3-5-3-1-------------------------13-12-10-12-10-8-10-8-7-8-7--|
G|--------------4-2-0-----------------------------------------------7|
D|---------------------2------2-----2--------------------------------|
A|---------------------2------2-----2--------------------------------|
E|---------------------0------0-----0--------------------------------|
That's it for the first solo and I'm going to stop there because that should be more than sufficient to give you a good exmaple of how riffs and a solos can be constructed using arepggios and other techniques. All that's left is the 2nd solo anyway and it doesn't use very many arppeggios. At the end up for the 2nd solo, however, the high hats cut out and I sweep 3 chords before going before going back into the main riff. Those chords are Em, D and C.
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+ How To Read Tabs For Beginners 10/18/2013
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