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Rock Guitar Lessons: Blues Arpeggios

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want to show you some arpeggios that you
can use in blues.
First of all, let's take a look at the
chords in blues.
I'm going to play an A7.
Doing a thumb version.
So, I've got my bar here.
On the two middle strings.
My little minor third to major third move.
And I've got my thumb on the root.
That's just going to set up my ear for
the, for the blues sound.
I'm just going do some, some toss away
improvised licks.
To, to let us know what the one chord is
Now, we've done that sort of thing before.
But the thing I want to focus on is the
four chord.
Now this is a chord with, it's a D9 and
we've got our.
Third finger bar there to play those top
three notes.
First finger.
On the third.
One, two, three.
Third and
then our second finger on the root.
Now, there's a lot of really cool arpeggio
potential over that four chord.
And it happens in every blues song.
So, here's one I'm going to show you
You know, this is something we've done
we've done this triad licks, we did the D
And we're going to begin with that.
But we're going to begin it down low,
right here.
Or a ninth position, and instead of
this time we are going to ascend.
We are going to go up the arpeggio.
And then I've got a really good trick for
We are going to go to the middle strings,
but instead of doing the octave,
I'm going to stay in the same position,
and do a C major triad.
So I'm going to go from D to C.
All right.
So what's going on here?
How can we use two different keys at once?
Well, there's two different ways of
looking at it,
you can either look at it as a slash
Or even D major.
Or C major, I'm sorry.
Over D.
you could look at it as just some
extensions on top.
What are those extensions?
Well, that's not an extension.
That's actually a chord tone, that's the
seventh, which is.
Inside this chord.
There's the ninth.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine.
And that's in this chord as well.
So far, we're just playing chord tones.
The last one is the 11th.
Which actually isn't in here, but
it's a nice note.
I like that note anyway.
Especially if we resolve it down.
To the third.
Creates a little tension just like a sus
The same note.
We're used to that kind of sus sound.
So, maybe it's almost like a dominant sus.
Really nice sound to this,
so I think you're already digging it.
Now, what I wanna do from there is take it
up an octave.
And that's going to be easy, because all
we have to do, actually,
is go up a whole step from here.
And there we're at our D, which is an
octave higher than where we started.
So we just do two triads, whole steps
[SOUND] Let's put that together.
If we do.
[SOUND] Like that.
Then I wanna do an octave of my C [SOUND]
triad, which is going to be here.
[SOUND] This is C.
[SOUND] So let's look at the shapes all
What I want to look at is the targets from
my second finger.
Because my second finger is starting all
of these.
So, we start right here on the tenth fret.
Same fret, but the D string.
Same string, but the 12th fret.
And then 13th fret.
On the B string.
So, I'm going to play those one at a time.
Just the target notes.
There's four of them That's where your,
your second finger has to go.
I don't care about the picking.
I'm just memorizing these, these
Getting my second
finger used to jumping there.
All right.
After we do that, let's add on the triad
on each one of those.
you speed that up that sounds pretty cool.
And I'm gonna resolve it.
Down to the third.
Our ear is going to like that, end of the
nice chord tone.
All right,
let's try it over a four chord to see how
it sounds, and
we'll take a look at some of the details
of playing, so if I go.
That's a nice sound.
All right.
One more time.
Just listening to get the sound in our
Three, four.
Just arpeggios rising from the bottom.
All right.
Now, the picking, again, I'm not picking
I'm using a balance of, of hammer ons and
and picked notes.
Let's see what they are.
I'm picking the first two notes because
they're each on a different string, so
I have to do that.
And I'm doing down, up.
After that I'm doing a hammer on.
The next ones, I'm picking everything.
So, I have one spot where I can rest.
And that's that third note which is a
hammer on.
After that, I pick all three then I repeat
my pattern of doing the hammer on and then
I pick all three.
let's find out where those hammer ons are.
It's, it's the third note.
And the third note of the octave, as well.
So, the pattern stays consistent.
then ending with a downstroke on your
third interval.
Now, again, the transitions are the trick.
So, let's take the transitions one at a
We wanna go from here.
That's the first one.
Have to be able to move our second finger
from here to here.
If you've done the triad work, this is
gonna be really easy.
Actually, even easier because you don't
have to shift positions.
You can stay in the same spot.
So, one, two, three, four.
That's going be pretty easy.
All right.
After we get there.
Let's do that.
One, two, three, four.
I just realized something.
When I play all three of these notes.
I'm starting with an upstroke.
So, I'm going down, up.
Up, down, up.
All right.
Which leaves me in a good
spot to do a down.
All right.
It's all coming together.
That's a good amount to take right there.
One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
You got it.
Let's slow it down even more.
One, two, three, four.
At that tempo, you can really see what's
going on with your strokes and with your
fingers, making sure everything is muted.
Three, four.
Making sure that the C note is
starting with an upstroke.
That's gonna get you through this.
Two, three, four.
All right.
I think you're ready because the next part
is exactly the same.
All we're doing is
we have to change the position slightly
because of the way the guitar is tuned.
So, we can't stay on the same fret.
We've gotta jump up a fret.
All right.
Let's try that together.
One, two, whole thing.
There we got it.
Those are such beautiful notes.
Let's hear it one more time on the blues.
Three, four.
All right.
That's a great way to navigate from your
one chord to your four chord.
It's called a four chord because
it's based on the fourth step of the
One, two, three, four.
All right.
So, you got a great blues arpeggio to
start your day with.
And I'd love to hear you play that one.
It's a really good one and a great use of
the techniques that you've already built.
From playing those major triads and minor
triads that we worked on.
So, this should come easy since you worked
on those.
I'd love to hear you play it.
Send it in and I'll give you some advice
ideas on how to even expand it further.
All right.
Thank you very much.
Practice that one.
I've got another blues arpeggio for you.
This one I think is easy to play.
I think it sounds great.
And I know you're gonna love it, so let's
check it out.
Again, it's based on the four chord of the
blues progression.
So let's play the one chord [SOUND]
Some nice little solo and
then were gonna go to the four chord.
Our D9 and
then this is the arpeggio I'll play it for
you first to get it in your ear.
All right now what is that?
What are those notes?
They're good ones,
I love the way they sound.
There's only four of them.
And they are E, F sharp and A and C.
Now the shape of this,
let's take a look at the fingers we have
to use to play this.
Our first finger is always gonna be on
the same fret, we get to do, that's a,
that's a nice one that happens,
you don't have to think about it.
You can just leave it there.
I'm shifting from string to string to make
the notes clean but, but my visual concept
of this is one fret.
Now the other fingers on the other hand
have to do different frets.
Doing the 14th with my third finger,
[SOUND] and doing the 15th with my pinky.
[SOUND] When you first try this it might
be a little upside down feeling
because it's actually the opposite of the
familiar pentatonic shape.
If we play E minor pentatonic, [SOUND]
we're doing this.
[NOISE] So it's,
it's like these fingers reversed.
From a familiar pentatonic shape.
But with a little practice you'll get it
in a second.
And we're gonna use our octave technique
where we play this in every octave.
So we have to find the E note on the next
next location [NOISE]
right there with the same finger, and then
we do the same shape.
And find another E, same finger and the
same shape.
So again we, we almost get like two
octaves for free.
We just learn this one, and we find our
three E(s) with the same finger.
And then we just, we just.
Lay the arpeggio over that.
Now, I want an ending for this and
I found the ending that works is just to
basically a unison bend after I hit the C,
I bend up from below and that gives me a
nice ending.
So, let's here it in context, if I go.
That's a nice little 16th note line.
Real quickly I wanna tell you what this
actually is
because I think it's a valuable music
theory lesson in, in brief.
What I'm doing is a chord substitution.
I'm playing a minor seven flat five, this
is scary I know, these are big words.
But minor seven flat five arpeggio, don't
be scared of the term.
It's only got four notes.
It just takes longer to say it.
Minor seven flat five.
It's got six syllables but it's only got
four notes.
it's actually a minor seven flat five in a
different key.
It's an F sharp.
Minus seven flat five, but
that's what a seven flat five chord looks
Easy way to find it is to play an A minor
Drop the bass.
Down to F-sharp,
millions of songs do that.
it's basically just a, A minor on top, F
sharp on the bottom.
That gives you an F sharp minor sim flat
five chord.
if you take those notes out one at a time,
these are them.
You can hear how it has a similar sound.
So how can that crazy chord.
Work over this D9, cuz that's what we're
playing over.
Well if you take those notes one at a
time, each one is inside this chord.
The E note is right here, that's our
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
eight, nine.
All right the next one, F sharp let's find
That's the third, that's in there as well.
The next one A, that is, that's our fifth.
One, two, three, four, five.
And the next one is a C.
Is our seventh.
So all of those notes are inside this
There's only one note that this chord has
that this arpeggio doesn't have.
And that's the root, the D.
There's no D note in this.
And that's kinda cool.
The thing that I like about this is, your
base player or
your rhythm guitar player or your keyboard
player is gonna be playing that D.
And you don't have to,
you've got all the hip notes to play.
While the bass player is playing the D.
So, that's the way I've found
really sounds nice over that four chord in
the blues, is to not play the root.
You know, of course if you do it, it's,
it's not terrible, you could add it in.
somehow my ear prefers to have it without
the D.
The, the, the accompaniment plays the D,
you play the cool notes outside of the D,
the other notes inside this chord.
there's my little bit of music theory for
If you play the notes from an F sharp
minor seven flat five they all work over,
[SOUND] a D9 because they're the same
just minus the root, [SOUND] which
actually sounds great.
All right, let's here this a couple more
times to get it on our ear.
And we'll see what's happening with the
So, three, four.
Such a nice sound.
Now, real briefly I wanna cover the
I'm doing a lot of hammer ons.
But, I am picking some of the notes.
I'm picking the first note of course.
Then a hammer on, then another pick note.
Which is an upstroke and
then another hammer on.
That's pretty easy,
just a lot of hammer ons and one pick per
Let's see what's happening after that if I
continue the pattern or do something else.
can definitely just play once per string
in this.
This is.
Real, really a good place for your hammer
ons to power the lick.
The funny thing about this,
I'm actually using my strumming technique,
I'm not strumming,
I'm using my finger picking technique.
Where I'm going down with like,
with my thumb and then up, up, up, up, up.
Same thing here.
I'm doing a down stroke and then all up
Down, up, up, up, up, up.
But I think sometimes I pick more.
Let me just do it.
Without thinking about it we'll see what
happens so.
You can pick more if you want to and that
would be this.
A downstroke.
Followed by a hammer on and
two pick notes.
So the notes on the A string, I'm picking
both of those.
Let's see what they are.
It would be.
Up and down.
On those two.
Let's just try that to get used to it.
One, two, like a triplet.
All right.
Now let's try this as a 16th note.
One, two, three, four.
Oh, but I gotta pick it.
Three, four.
There we go.
Ending with that down stroke, three, four.
that means that the next one, I'm gonna
have to reverse because this is a down.
So this is gonna have to be an up.
That's kinda crazy but
I have time because I have another hammer
on [SOUND] to straighten out my pattern.
Let's see if I do.
this'll be down and up [SOUND] and then.
This is a down so
we're back to the same pattern here.
As we were here.
So this is kinda my own person way of
picking this and
I can definitely show it to you
And I'm gonna do real systematically right
Here it is.
So down stroke, hammer on, upstroke, down
upstroke, hammer on down stroke, upstroke,
down stroke.
Hammer on.
Down stroke.
Make sure that's right.
And it is.
All right.
If you want to pick less you can.
You can just pick once per string.
That'll work as well.
You have two methods.
Try them both.
See what works.
And enjoy this awesome arpeggio [SOUND] in
a blues.
That's being adventurous, but it sounds
good, I think.
That's a nice sound.
All right.
Send that one in to me, let me hear it
like the sound of these Blues Arpeggios so
much that I have to give you one more.
I love the shape of this one.
Lets check it out.
So again, we're doing the same idea where
we're doing.
One chord,
The I do some blues lick over the top.
then when we get to our four chord is
where the fun begins with arpeggios.
this time I'm gonna change the chord to be
a little more complex.
Instead of doing the D9,
I'll gonna do a D13.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, and
a lot of great players, have made use of
the D13.
It's an easy shape to play.
Let's look at the chord first.
We're gonna bar with our third finger.
On the 12th fret, then, the second finger
comes in the 11th fret of the G string,
and the first finger comes down.
There on the the D string.
On the tenth fret.
The thumb plays the bass.
I'm not using anything on the A string.
I'm having a nice big interval between the
high notes on the chord and the bass note.
All right.
Now the solo is going to outline that
chord exactly.
So let's take a look at this shape I came
up with, and
I'm really proud of this shape, I think
it's really cool.
The reason I think it's cool is because it
looks just like something we already know.
And the thing we already know, is the
pentatonic scale.
And of course worked a lot with the
pentatonic scale in the key of A minor.
So lets review that really quick.
I think you know this one very well by
Very familiar shape.
Now what I wanna do, I'm gonna put this in
a few steps so
you can figure this out any key.
The first step is figure out your four
We already know it's the.
It's the D13.
We know it's the fourth chord, because we
counted from the root.
One, two, three, four, and we got to a D.
And that's.
Where it is.
So, let's just hear that, like.
That's just standard
place to go on a blues.
All right, so we found our root D for the
four chord.
The next step is to go up a major third
from there.
So what's a major third higher than D?
If you play a major scale.
One, two three.
That note is an F sharp.
I wanna find it on the same, on that same
low string.
All right, so we're in F Sharp there.
Now, I'm actually gonna play an F sharp
minor pentatonic scale.
We already know the shape from A.
We're just gonna transpose it here to F
So it's gonna sound like this.
All right, that's the sound.
You're very familiar with that shape
because we've used that a lot.
Now I'm going to tweak one note.
And what I'm going to do is I'm going to
take the fifth.
All right, now.
You might think that's the fourth.
Goes one, two, three, four but
when we count intervals we're going to use
the major scale so.
One, two, three, four, five.
That's actually the fifth interval and
I'm going to flat that fifth.
Okay, so that's going to be our shape.
Every time we get to this.
That's a C sharp note.
Each time we get to a C sharp we're going
to make it a C natural,
that means there's no sharps or flats it
just a plain old C.
That's natural C so that's our new shape.
The next couple notes I have no C sharps
in there so we don't have to change
them we just keep going as if we're
playing a normal scale in F sharp minor.
So now we have.
Now there's a C sharp.
So this one we have to toss out [SOUND]
and use the C natural instead.
So those are the two notes that we modify.
We modify this C sharp, we change it to
[SOUND] and
we come to this C sharp and we get rid of
that, and do a C natural instead.
All right from there we carry on to the
top of the scale as if nothing had change.
So let's take a look at it.
One more time, i'm gonna play the normal F
sharp minor.
now i'm going to play the one with the
flatted fifth instead.
the reason I did that, was mostly because
the shape is easy.
Because it's a shape I already know, and I
just had to modify two spots.
[SOUND] That spot and [SOUND] that spot.
Everything else is a really familiar
shape, and I like that.
I like basing things on something that I
already know.
But, by coincidence, or by purposeful
those notes are the same notes as this
Those notes sound nice together.
there's one small difference and that is
that this scale that we just learned,
does not have a D note in it.
Which is the root, and that's cool,
because it's,
we're playing all the chord tones and
[SOUND] But we're not playing the root.
Our bass player's playing the root, or
whoever is in our accompaniment is playing
the root.
The rhythm guitar player,
the keyboard player, somebody's playing
that, holding that done for you.
While you play all the chord tones and
extensions on the top.
All right, so
let's find a phrase that we can fit this
in as a, as our first exercise to play it.
So if we're doing our blues, we got our
Let's start there, we'll just go straight
up the scale.
And use a lot of hammer ons to make it
And then I need one note to end it and
I'm gonna slide my, do a pinky shift,
And bend up that note because that's
going to end.
On the third.
That's a strong note to end on.
is also a great technique to practice for
your pinky to be able to go.
To shift between the highest string and
the B string and immediately go into a
Really good technique,
really soulful technique.
Let's see if I can get that
A a little clearer.
There we go.
Now, let's see what kind of rhythmic
figure I'm using.
I think I'm doing sixteenth notes.
Yeah, then we'll go right back that
A afterward.
So three, four.
Oh, that's a nice sound.
All the good notes.
Without the root,
your bass player is playing the root.
And I'd love to hear you experiment with
that one.
Now this one, everything in it is two
notes per string.
So all your two note per string patterns
that you're used to doing
in pentatonic, like.
You can can throw into this one and
they'll fit right in.
Or you could do.
Let's see, if we have,
We were doing like this one.
And that would be.
That would be.
That's a challenging one,
it's, there's so many licks.
Anything that you have worked out already
You can squeeze it into this new shape and
get some great arpeggios sounds,
over that, actually in this case, our D13.
That's very hip.I know you'll like that in
the blues, and
I can't wait to hear you try it and
improvise with it.
I think you're to the point now where you
can just take these notes and
do cool phrases with them.
Let's start simple.
Build on it and make yourself a great D13
All right.
All right,
we've got some nice arpeggios for the four
And I wanna move on now to the five chord.
First of all, I'm gonna give you a chord
voicing that I really like the sound of.
Sounds like this.
Sounds great.
Lot of tension in this five chord but
I like it.
Let's look at how to play it.
Where gonna take our pinky.
bar on the eighth fret on the two highest
Our third finger is gonna come in on.
The seventh fret of the G string,
first finger's gonna come in a fret lower.
On the next string and
then our second finger.
Is the closest to the sky, so
I could remember, how to get it quickly.
That's on the E note.
We can also,
in this key we can use the low E as a nice
low bass note.
All right, what is that thing called?
I think it's called an E dominant seven
sharp nine flat thirteen.
But don't worry about that name
just think of this cool sound that you're
gonna put in your blues progression.
Now, as we did with the four chord,
I wanna find an arpeggio that gives me the
notes of this chord.
And I've got the answer for you already.
Now first of all,
I wanna show you how you can build it
easily from something you already know.
Let's take the A minor pentatonic scale,
you know this one well by now.
Now, I'm gonna change
one note inside the scale, and it's gonna
be an important note,
the root, the A is gonna change down a
half step to a G sharp.
So, now every time we come across an A
note, it's gonna be a G sharp instead.
So lets see which strings have changes on
Some don't.
Some are the same.
In fact, the next two, [SOUND] are
untouched, because there's no A in there.
[SOUND] But the next note, [SOUND] there's
an A.
So we gotta take it down to a G sharp.
[SOUND] All right, let's keep going.
another A on the bottom, it's gonna become
a G sharp.
So all together.
All those notes are inside of that chord.
That's a great sound.
All right, so, what do I do when I come up
with something like that,
cuz that's kind of a crazy fingering.
Initially I practice it,
just to see if I can go up and down using
my existing techniques and phrases.
But then, I wanna explore the fret board
to see if I can find
either better sounding or easier
So I'll take those notes, I'll write down
what they are just in order,
I'll go G sharp, C, D, E, G.
And that's all of them.
There's actually only one, two, three,
four, five notes.
And then it starts over an octave higher.
I'll wrote those down and then I'll take
some neck diagram paper and
I'll write those notes all over the whole
fretboard and then I'll look at it and
I'll look for shapes.
I'll think where would my fingers fit
easily and, then I'll try those out and
see how they sound.
So it's basically just finding different
places on the guitar to play exactly
the same notes.
And I'm gonna go ahead and give you the
I found what I think, is the easiest one
to play, and
the one that I really like the sound of.
It's up a little further.
But again, it's just the same notes in a
higher range.
So, I'm gonna teach this to you in terms
of how I visualize it.
This is very much how I make it easier for
my brain to think about it.
The way I get started with it.
It's the same key, E, and the thing I like
about it is it starts on E.
It starts here.
With a whole step.
So my third finger is connected to the
I like that.
And the next thing I'm gonna do is find
all the places where I have that same
And it happens two times.
We have that shape on the D string.
we have that shape on the low E string.
So, so
far I have half of the guitar figured out.
I know I do a whole step here, I do a
whole step here, [SOUND] and
I have a whole step here.
[SOUND] All I have to figure out is what
notes to play on the other strings.
And those are, I'll give you the answer.
First of all, I'm gonna make a visual note
that I have gotta bar here.
I might,
I might actually not play it as a bar.
I might switch my finger.
[SOUND] But just visually I'm gonna
remember that these are on the same fret.
[SOUND] Now with these fingers I'm gonna
play these notes.
[SOUND] So that's a big stretch, a major
third stretch.
Four frets.
Between those two notes, and
then on the G string.
A three fret stretch.
All right,
now if we put in our whole steps that we
already know, we got.
Our new one.
And then a whole step we already know.
Then the only string left that we don't
know is the A string and that,
fortunately, is a pretty easy one.
We're gonna do a half step.
And the nice thing about this is,
our first finger is in the same place that
it is for those whole steps, so our first,
first finger gets to stay on the same fret
for this whole end section.
Makes a nice little shape there.
All right, let's hear this whole thing
And that's all the notes,
inside this five chord.
That's a wild sound.
Now if your ear isn't used to that kind of
let's put it in context let's do a quick
blues and
when the five chord comes up I'll try to
play that over the top.
And we'll see how it sounds.
I'll go.
Wasn't that cool?
I just for that moment, we got kinda
That's such an emotional sound.
And I say outside, but
actually, we're playing every note that's
inside the chord.
So we have a direct relationship between
the solo and the chord.
And I think that's a great shape to do,
to get started on a pretty wild sounding
five chord.
And again, this is two notes per string,
all your two note per string patterns are
gonna work here.
If we have something familiar like.
Just change that to like.
What a cool sound.
So, our, the, the techniques we've learned
are really paying off here.
We're able to, to, to modify them to fit
different chords and different sounds.
And we're gonna have a pretty, pretty
awesome blues that way.
All right.
I'd love to hear you experiment with that.
And that's an awesome chord.
[SOUND] Rock and roll.