Chris Eldridge

Lesson >

Music Theory I


Hello All!

This week we’re going to look at arpeggios - what are they and how can you find them on the guitar. Arpeggios are very simple, but very powerful. A basic definition: an arpeggio is made of the notes of a given chord, played one note at a time in a sequence; as opposed to a chord, in which all of the notes are played simultaneously. So a G major arpeggio is made up of the exact same notes as a G major chord: G, B and D. And a D major arpeggio is made up of D, F#, and A, just like a D major chord.

Particularly when improvising with single notes, arpeggios can really help you to spell out the harmony of the tune that you are playing. They can also serve as a “home base” as you are navigating chord changes. If you know that the song has gone to a C chord and you are feeling lost in your solo, you could play a C arpeggio and reorient yourself. By relating these arpeggio shapes to chord positions that you already know you can start playing them right away!








Topics and/or subjects covered in this lesson:

Print Print Chords & Tab

Loop 0:00 Solo Example (Please See Last Week's Lesson For Transcription)

Loop 0:45 Chris Eldridge's Thoughts on Arpeggios






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Paul Lawler
Paul Lawler Nov 20, 2018

Did you get into arpeggios as a kid via Eric Johnson?  To my ear, his playing is super melodic and strays from that minor pentatonic shred thing that can get really old fast...

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Nov 21, 2018

Yes, exactly. He was my biggest hero from the time I was 10 until I got to college. I always appreciated his unusual but very deliberate melodic sense and the meticulous sounds he coaxed from the guitar.

Markus Rapke
Markus Rapke Nov 17, 2018

Hi Chris,

thank you for that great lesson. I was playing around with the different scale positions for a while now, but I never saw them out of chord positions so clearly. Your explanations helped a lot. I will try to play arpeggios through chord progressions as you suggest, because that's excactly what I am lacking of when playing faster speed in a jam session. My brain is still not able to switch fast enough.... Noodling around with the arpeggios I had an idea for a little fiddle tune in G..... 

A friend of mine told me, that you had a great concert in switzerland! Keep up your efforts to teach us!!

Cheers, Markus!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Nov 21, 2018

Hi Marcus, lovely tune! I'm so glad that the lesson was useful. The more you start thinking about this stuff - triads, arpeggios, scales, open voiced triads (which we will talk about next!) the more you see that it is all made of the same stuff. 



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