Major Arpeggio Patterns #4 and #5 for Guitar - dummies

Major Arpeggio Patterns #4 and #5 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).

Major arpeggio patterns #4 and #5 span a bit less than two octaves. The narrower octave ranges mean that you don’t have as many available notes to play, making the exercises shorter. But, luckily that also means the patterns become easier to learn and memorize.

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 #4

The following figure shows major arpeggio pattern #4 in the key of F major in both a neck diagram and in music and tab format. Practice this pattern slowly, without worrying about the rhythm, until you can play all the notes equally well. Then try the exercise in rhythm.


Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

The following exercise is in 3rd-position Eb major. Because the first five notes of the pattern can be held down as a chord, try this exercise both staccato (playing each note with the fingertip and lifting the finger off the string immediately) and legato (holding down the left hand as a chord and letting the notes ring out whenever possible).


Major arpeggio pattern #5

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

Following is a neck diagram and corresponding music and tab for major arpeggio pattern #5 in the key of G major. In order to make a smooth move from the 4th string to the 3rd string, practice this pattern several times before proceeding to the rhythm exercise.


Click here to download and print this arpeggio pattern.

Consider the reasons for using an alternate fingering in this next exercise, which is in 3rd-position F major. As a pair, the 2nd and 3rd fingers are stronger than the 3rd and 4th ones. So for the top three strings, instead of using the fingers indicated in the pattern (3-4-3), use 2-3-2.