Major Arpeggio Pattern #3 for Guitar - dummies

Major Arpeggio Pattern #3 for Guitar

By Mark Phillips, Jon Chappell

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 #3 spans a bit less than two octaves. The narrower octave range means that you don’t have as many available notes to play, making the exercises shorter. Luckily, that also means the patterns become easier to learn and memorize.

Major arpeggio pattern #3 begins on the 5th string. The pattern starts with the 1st finger and includes an out-of-position note on the 5th string. You must stretch up (toward the bridge) with your 4th finger to reach the out-of-position note because it occurs one fret above where the finger naturally falls.

What follows is a neck diagram and corresponding music and tab for major arpeggio pattern #3 in the key of D major. Practice this pattern as many times as you need to in order to get the stretch feeling comfortable and sounding smooth.


Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

Pattern #3 provides an opportunity for using alternate fingerings to make the arpeggios a little easier to play, especially in legato passages. Try forming a mini-barre with your 3rd finger to play any combination of notes that fall consecutively on the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings.

To create a legato sound in the following exercise, which is in 8th-position F major, try using a 3rd-finger mini-barre at the 10th fret for the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd strings. Doing so will help these speedy sixteenth notes flow a little easier.