Arpeggio lessons for electric guitar

Guitar arppegios are chords 'spread' or 'broken' i.e the notes heard one after the other from the bottom upwards or sometimes from the top downwards.Arppegios are used by many of todays guitarists for many styles of guitar playing sometimes featured heavily in shred, jazz and other complex forms of guitar music, there are many basic arppergio shapes but they can be much more complex than just major and minor types.

This 'A' Minor arppegio lesson can be slid up and down the fretboard to play other keys.

 Sweep picking is a technique used on the guitar in which a 'sweeping' motion of the pick is combined with a matching fret hand technique in order to produce a specific series of notes which are fast and fluid in sound. Despite being commonly known as sweep picking, both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.


The technique is almost exclusively applied for arpeggios, with a common shape being the one- or two-octave stacked triad; or in scalar terms the first (tonic), third (mediant) and fifth (dominant) of a scale, played twice with an additional tonic added to the highest point in the shape. For example, an A minor stacked triad would notate as A-C-E-A-C-E-A. When these series of notes are played quickly up and down as an arpeggio, they are notably classical-sounding as opposed to more blues-based progressions. The ability to move the shape of an arpeggio up and down the fretboard in order to initiate, or because of, a change in key lends itself to being the primary choice of guitar players, helping ease the use of what is considered an intermediate technique of guitar performance.


compared to other techniques often used by shredders, such as alternate picking, few strokes are required in sweep picking; although all sweeps can be seen as a minimum of three to five strokes. Each time the pick strikes a string could be considered a stroke in itself. In certain instances, however, legato is used to sound notes instead of an actual pick stroke (in the case of guitar, hammer-ons and pull-offs); notably in the upper and lower sections of an arpeggio, where successive strokes on the same string in a row would effectively negate the natural sweeping motion in question. This comes into play whenever a certain string has to sound two notes in the shape due to the natural limits of a fretted string instrument.

However, as with all guitar techniques, each individual player can seek to integrate sweep picking into their existing repertoire and make use of it in an individually stylistic manner. Therefore some guitarists may use legato whereas others may have a natural tendency to double-pick multiple notes on a single string. This in itself can be seen as separate yet related idea or technique, due to the obvious differences in the sound of legato versus struck notes, as well as the shift in the timing of the entire arpeggio. Furthering the idea, most players who master the basic sweep picking pattern will use only parts of it or alter the technique to purposefully achieve a certain lick. In this sense, sweep picking is not so much a concrete action such as the aforementioned alternate picking, but instead is a technical idea with many possible applications.

Practical examples

A common way to break up the technique is the use of the three-string sweep arpeggio done on the upper three (thinnest) strings, more so than the lower (thicker) strings due to the awkward motion necessary and general lack of tonal clarity in comparison to the higher notes. In the case of a sweep on the upper three strings, one can see the arpeggio as the upper register of a standard five-string sweep, where the notes for A minor would be, in an ascending order, A-C-E-A-C-E-A.

Beginning on the middle tonic of this progression, the player may sweep first up the arpeggio and then back down to resolve on the initial tonic. This would notate as A-C-E-A-E-C-A. Written in tablature form for the twelfth position, it would be seen as: