1-String Horizontal Arpeggio Exercises

Posted on 23 April 2021

I'm watching a guitar course on Truefire called Modern Method for Guitar with Frank Vignola (you can get a 14-day free trial here -- we both get $30 of "Truefire Cash" when you sign up). I don't have a guitar teacher at the moment, so I use Truefire kind of like a virtual guitar teacher, watching 30 minutes of a video per day.

The course has some interesting exercises in it. One that I liked involved playing 3-note arpeggios on single strings. First you play all the 3-note arpeggios on the 1st string. Then you play them on the 2nd string. Then the 3rd. Keep going until you've played them on all the strings. The octave you play them in doesn't matter.

I figured that it would be ideal for me to practice 4-note arpeggios, because it would give me a better grasp of what notes are in each 7th chord. I don't want to have to calculate the notes by counting on my fingers -- it should be intuitive. I say the notes as I play them in order to drill them in my head.

So I've added the 7th notes to the basic idea and notated it in standard notation. Here's how I play it on the 1st string. The same arpeggios can then be played on other strings. (Some of the octaves will be different on other strings, but the notes names are the same.)

1-string arpeggio exercise for guitar

I also made a printable PDF version.

Edit: I also made a version that has all the notes from each arpeggio on the 1st string. I'm going to practice this while saying the note names until it's in muscle memory. I didn't know how to remove the 4/4 time and barlines in Musescore 3, but the meter doesn't matter. My electric guitar has 22 frets, so the notes stop at that high D.

1-string arpeggio exercise for guitar -- all notes

Here's a PDF version.

I'm avoiding tablature, because it's so easy to read that I sometimes end up looking at the tab rather than the standard notation. If I don't force myself to read standard notation, it's going to take me longer to become a good sight-reader.

By the way, if you're interested in lyric writing, also check out my new Object Writing Prompt Generator. I'm using it to do 10 minutes of object writing first thing in the mornings, as recommended by the book Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison.