Connecting Arpeggio Shapes

Level: Intermediate

When a player is stuck in a rut and wants to break out of the common "box patterns" and same old licks, they add a few arpeggios to their playing to introduce a different approach. Most guitarists usually begin with small 3 string arpeggios and then move on to more complex 5 and 6 string arpeggio shapes. In this example I'm going to show you how to combine some different shapes of an arpeggio and give you an idea of how to connect some of these shapes together. The patterns on this page are made from a B minor arpeggio that covers all 6 strings in several positions and connect with some slides and tapped notes.

With your fretting hand's pinky on the low E-string, 7th fret, start the pattern with a downstroke and continue the sweep to the G-string on the 4th fret. As your index finger is holding down the the 4th fret on the G-string, slide to the 7th fret of the G-string with the index finger and begin to sweep pick downward on the 7th frets of the B and high E-string and hammer on the 10th fret of the high E-string with the pinky. After a quick pull off back to the 7th fret on the high E-string, sweep pick upwards from the 7th fret on the high E to 7th fret of the G-string and back downwards to the high E while staying on the 7th fret. The pinky should hammer on to the 10th fret on the high E-string and followed by a slide to the 14th fret of the same string. At this point your fretting hand has shifted postion and your index finger is above the 10th fret of the high E-string. A quick pull off with the pinky from the 14th fret on the high E to the 10th fret starts another sweep picking sequence with the 12th fret on the B-string to the 11th on the G-string and back down to the 12th on the B-string. After a hammer on/tapping sequence on the high E-string, the piece ends with an upward sweep pattern from the 12th fret on the B-string that ends with the pinky on the 14th fret on the A-string.

Although this whole piece is short, it does involve several techniques so take your time with combining the sweeping motion with the hammer-ons and tapped notes. It's much better to focus on getting each and every note sounding clear before even considering increasing the speed. Until next time, have fun!

Example 1 (B minor arpeggios)

B minor arpeggio

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