Arpeggio Scale Pattern
Guitar Level: Intermediate
Most beginning guitarists start playing solos by memorizing a few pentatonic scale patterns and using them over a chord progression. This is actually a really nice place to start but when playing solos over a chord progression; it is helpful to know which notes to dwell on; to resolve to, and to sustain with a little vibrato. These “sweet notes” are usually found from the notes that are contained within the root chord that defines the song key.
For example, if you are playing a song in the key of G, the arpeggio pattern will contain the three notes that make up the G chord, which are G, B and D. These notes will almost always sound great when played against a song in the key of G. So the next step is to find these notes within a pentatonic pattern. A typical G pentatonic scale is shown in the following figure. As you experiment with solos in this key, concentrate on the arpeggio chord tones. Resolve to them, add vibrato on them and consider the other notes in the pentatonic scale as passing notes. In other words, use these notes to get to the G, B and D notes. This will improve your solo playing and enable your solo to be more melodic.
For a little variety and further practice, I have also included arpeggio patterns for the G7 chord and the G add 9. Dwelling on these notes will offer more sound possibilities and color to your playing.
Here’s two tips to help you to remember the arpeggio notes:
- Look at the arpeggio notes in the figure again. Now visual two chord finger patterns on top of these notes. First consider the open G chord (320033 or 320003); you will find these notes in the arpeggio pattern. Next, consider the F chord moved up two frets; it’s now a G chord formed as follows: 355433 with a bar at the third fret. These make up the rest of the arpeggio notes in the pattern. This is how you can recall and remember the arpeggio notes.
- You can move this arpeggio pattern up one fret and play in the key of Ab, moving up two frets would be in the key of A, three frets is Bb, etc. The pattern is movable so that you can play against any key signature.