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Major Arpeggio Pattern #2 for Guitar

An arpeggio is a chord whose notes are played one at a time instead of simultaneously. It’s sort of the exploded view of a chord. Playing major arpeggios on guitar prepares you for music with major chords — and, of course, for music that employs major arpeggios. With arpeggios, you think in chords, but you play the notes separately. Bass players have to think in terms of chords and their individual notes. This exercise is good for guitarists, too, because you can play individual notes on the guitar (a melody thing) but use the chords of the song to tell you what notes to play (a chord and accompaniment thing).

As you go through these arpeggios, be sure to play them from low to high slowly, loudly, and deliberately at first to ensure you can play the notes cleanly. Then play them faster and lighter to produce the sound of arpeggios as they appear in real music. However, no matter how you play them, be sure to maintain your starting tempo and dynamic level (loudness) throughout each arpeggio.

Major arpeggio pattern #2 starts with the 4th finger on the 6th string and includes no out-of-position notes, so you can enjoy a stretch-free series of exercises for a while! And because you don’t have to worry about stretching, you can focus on developing another skill.

For example, as an option, flatten out your 1st finger to play the consecutive notes on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings, all of which occur at the same fret (the 5th, in this case). Think of this flattened 1st finger as a mini-barre (a partial barre that covers just two or three strings). This technique is especially helpful when you want to create a more legato (smooth and connected) sound between the notes.

The following figure shows the neck diagram as well as the corresponding music and tab for major arpeggio pattern #2 in the key of C major. Practice this pattern so you can play it eight times in a row perfectly, including any mini-barre alternate fingerings (should you choose to employ them).

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Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

After you’re comfortable with the pattern, try major arpeggio pattern #2 in 7th-position D major. For a legato sound, use a 4th-finger mini-barre at the 10th fret for the top two strings.

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