Tom Hess: How To Play Awesome Guitar Arpeggios (Even When You Can’t Play Fast Yet)

How To Play Awesome Guitar Arpeggios (Even When You Can’t Play Fast Yet)
by Tom Hess

You can turn any arpeggio from so-so to amazing without playing it at high speeds. Use basic creativity ideas to make any sweep picking exercise into actual music.
The following video will help you play awesome arpeggio guitar licks:

Use the following ideas to make any arpeggio sound badass:
1. Create Excitement By Inserting Silence Into Your Arpeggios
Place silence into an arpeggio at unexpected times to make it sound more interesting. Instead of playing through an arpeggio over and over like this:

This makes the arpeggio easier to play and also makes it sound more awesome.
This awesome sweep picking video shows you what this idea sounds like.
Alter where you use silence and the length of time you use it for. Don’t stop at the same point every single time. This is crucial for keeping your arpeggio pattern from becoming boring.

2. Expand And Harmonize Your Arpeggios Using Inversions
You can maintain interest in your guitar arpeggios while repeating them over and over IF you do the following:
-Expand the pattern by using its inversions
-Use inversions as a way to harmonize the notes in your arpeggio
You must have great fretboard visualization skills to be able to expand an arpeggio using its inversions. Choose any arpeggio and attempt to locate its notes across the entire fretboard (for example, find the notes A C E for an A minor).

This example shows the A minor pattern played using inversions and covering the entire fretboard.
In order to add harmony to an inversion, you must record the inversions separately above one another (to do this the inversions can be played in any order).
Watch the video at 1:52 to see a sample of this.

Harmonizing different arpeggios makes this concept sound even more interesting (as you can hear in the video).

Study guitar with a teacher to discover how to get more creative results using this concept.

3. Insert A Break Into The Arpeggio’s Pattern
If you simply repeat the same arpeggio up and down over and over it will eventually become boring. Rather than doing this, break each ascending and descending section into separate licks:
So instead of playing a lick like this:

See what this sounds like by checking out the video at 33 seconds.
Make sure you use both of these variations. If you overuse either one it can become boring over time.

This sweep picking resource gives you twenty-five additional ways to use arpeggios creatively.

4. Use A Varying Amount OF String In Your Arpeggio Shapes
Use a combination of 2, 3, 4 etc. string arpeggio shapes while playing arpeggio licks. This gives your guitar playing more variety and adds additional texture to the music.
Use the following three step exercise:

Step One: Come up with various different arpeggio patterns to play in a progression. For instance:
C minor
E flat major
G major
Ab major

Step Two: Use different sized string patterns plus new inversions each time you switch arpeggios. For instance:
C minor 2nd inversion (3 string pattern)
E flat major root position (4 string pattern)
G major root position (6 string pattern)
Ab major 1st inversion (5 string pattern)

Step Three: Think of ten variations of the arpeggios you came up with and play each variation with a different number of string lengths, plus new kinds of inversions.

5. Bring All These Ideas Together
You’ve got to play arpeggios with a lot of variety in order to keep them interesting. Even the coolest ideas can sound boring if you play them too much. Create variations of an arpeggio and utilize the ideas explained in this article.

This sweep picking resource shows you how to make your guitar arpeggios sound amazing.

About The Author:

Tom Hess is a professional musician, composer, and highly successful guitar instructor who trains and mentors guitarists with online guitar tuition. Visit to get free guitar playing tips, guitar playing resources, mini courses and more guitar playing articles.