In these lessons I will show you how to make your melodies more interesting by adding arpeggios. I bet that all of you can play simple ascending and descending 5-string (fig.1), or even 6-string (fig.2) major and minor arpeggios, and if not there are really many sources on internet that will help you learn them. But the idea of these lessons is to make arpeggios more interesting when they aren't played ultra-fast. This way they can be easily included in melodies with same fluidity as scales while avoiding monotony. I will show examples through notes and modes of C-major scale (C D E F G A B), mostly in A Aeolian.
2. Overcoming the technique
In this section, I will give you some exercises and approaches to sweep picking that helped me a lot with building the syncronization of my left and right hand and the strenght and clarity of notes in arpeggios. I also wrote you downstrokes and upstrokes of picking, I leave fingerings up to you.
This first exercise (fig.3) has helped me a lot with building the strenght of picking slow arpeggios. You don't have to play this fast, but you have to feel that every note is picked with appropriate strenght and hear that every note is clean.You can repeat that as much as you can.
Second exercise (fig.4) helped me use alternative picking in ascending arpeggios. Same as for the first one, speed isn't important here. What is important is the strenght and clarity. Speed will come all by itself through practice.
Third exercise (fig.5) made me begin using sweep picking on 2 string licks. It also enhances the stability of sweep picking a lot.
Fourth exercise (fig.6) is lick from my song Timeless Memories. This is very interesting to play and you will really see how many options you will have once you overcome this technique.
Fifth exercise (fig.7) is slight expansion of arpeggio into lower octave. These kind of exercises help you overcome whole neck. It is also a good idea to transpose all the exercises in octaves lower or higher.
Sixth exercies (fig.8) shows one version of extension of third exercise. It is often good idea to always try to make simple things a bit more complicated and complicated things a bit more simple. That will often give you some ideas you'd never think of. This is exercise is really great for enstrenghtening your left hand fingers.
Seventh exercise (fig.9) is one way to use arpeggios while repeating notes. Steve Vai and Joe Satriani often use these forms.
Eight exercise (fig.10) is something that will probably make you wanna explore some other options of those notes. You should try to play those note relations in all the modes, they all sound really great, and are great for balancing your left and right hand.
I also encourage you to experiment and make some exercises on your own. Also try to change dynamics of those exercises, as well as keys. The best way to develope technique is to do it through exercises that doesn't bore you or don't make you get stuck in a rut. Try to make your exercises as melodic as possible. Just experiment and play what sounds good to you. Take all the melodies you know and arpeggiate them, add arpeggios in different segments of melodies and in different dynamics! Remember, improvisation brings creation!
Official Josip Pesut site.
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