17 June 2009

Here's a lesson that shows you how to mix strums and arpeggios to create great sounding guitar accompaniments.

Guitar chord arpeggios are a technique in which the notes of a chord are played one at a time. They are most often associated with soft ballads or folk songs. But one good way of using arpeggios is to mix them with strums to give them a fuller and more powerful sound.

This style of playing is used in many rock songs. It helps to make a richer accompaniment than simple strumming and offers an interesting technical challenge for your picking skills.

The lesson presents several strum and arpeggio patterns over chords from the key of G. You can practice the individual patterns and then when you have mastered them string them together to create full chord progressions.

Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 1

This pattern over a G major chord uses strums at the beginning and end of the bar. You can play this arpeggio with a sweep of your pick across the strings from the fourth to the first.

G

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
-1---------1-1-1--
-0-------0---0-0--
-0-----0-----0-0--
-0---0-------0----
-2-----------2----
-3-----------3----

Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 2

Another pattern over a G chord. This time beats two and four are emphasized with strums. Use alternating picking for the arpeggio section.

G

1 & 2 & 3 & 4
-----1--------1--
-----0----0---0--
---0-0--0---0-0--
-----0--------0--
-----2--------2--
-3---3--------3--

Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 3

This pattern on a C chord is more sparse than the previous two, only one strum is played in the bar. Again, use alternate picking for arpeggios.

C

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
-------------0--0-----------
-------1-----1-----1--------
----0-----0--0--------0-----
-------------2--------------
-3-----------3--------------
----------------------------

Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 4

This pattern on a E minor chord, vi in the key of G, uses only a couple of arpeggiated notes.

E

1 & 2 & 3 & 4
---0---------0--
-0---0---0---0--
-0-------0---0--
-2-------2---2--
-2--------------
-0--------------


Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 5

This pattern on a C chord creates some added interest (and challenge) by mixing some hammer-ons with the arpeggios.

C

-0--0---------0-----0-------
-1----0h1-----1—0h1----1----
-0---------0--0-------------
-2------------2-------------
-3------------3-------------
----------------------------

Strum And Arpeggio Pattern 6

The final pattern is a simple arpeggio on a D chord. Note the little syncopated beat at the end of the pattern.

D

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
-2--2-----2---2--2----------
-3-----3------3—-------3----
-2------------2-------------
-0------------0-------------
----------------------------
----------------------------


Learn to mix up strums and arpeggios in your chord accompaniments. It is a valuable skill that will let you create more interesting backing sounds.

Strum and arpeggio playing is also a good way to build your picking skills whether you play with your fingers or with a guitar pick. Be sure to practice with a metronome or drum track to ensure you keep an even rhythm when you switch between strums and arpeggio lines.


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