What Are Guitar Arpeggios?

On the guitar arpeggios are often seen as these really complicated theoretical things, and I’ve discovered there’s actually quite a bit of confusion as to what guitar arpeggios actually are.

In its simplest form, an arpeggio is simply notes from the scale or chord, played in sequence or some sort of pattern. Typically the notes are allowed to ring out over each other, but not always.

You’ll find that on the guitar arpeggios are used in many different types of music. From metal with the fast rake picking to country or blues with a slower, more melodic sound, and everywhere in between. If you’re into finger picking, then you’re probably using guitar arpeggios all the time, and possibly didn’t even know it!

Anyways, due to the confusion out there as to what an arpeggio actually is, and how it can be applied to the guitar, I’m posting this video from my friend Colin from RiffNinja.com. (I highly recommend checking out his site by the way!)

The video is short – only 4 minutes, but he covers a bunch of different ways you can use arpeggios on the guitar.

Watch the Guitar Arpeggios Lesson on Youtube.

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  1. I’m not the quickest at picking up things, but I don’t quite. At age 65 I learning to play the guitar, and I learn a little every day. I thank you for the vedio, it made something I thought I wouldn’t understand, simple and clear. I can do that some day. Kenny………

  2. Riff Ninja (Colin?) was very easy to listen to and he explained it very well. Thank you! Now I just have to get the picking down!

  3. Great explanation on arpeggios. They are something I’ve been using for as long as i, been playing (off and on 40 years)and didn’t know what I was doing. When I got my first guitar in 1968 The guy I got it from gave me “house of the rising sun” to start learning on. All in arpeggio. And I didn’t even know what it was. Thanks

  4. Thank You Colin, for clearing that up… Somehow I
    thought that Arpeggios were for only Playing Jazz Guitar.
    EveryDay YA Learn Somethng New…
    Thank You…


  5. This lesson was kind of like telling us that water can be wet. I was disappointed that nothing was said about resolution obtainable from arpeggios using minor, major, or dissonant chords, nor was modes nor how arpeggios can be used to foreshadow progressions discussed.

    1. Hi Wyatt, yes this lesson was very basic. I’ll see if Colin wants to do a more advanced one on arpeggios, and we’ve also got a lot more advanced material over at RiffNinja.com.

  6. sometimes simple is best for those of us just learning, or learning something new. It’s not always about complicated and over detailed. One step at a time is what I say.

  7. Thank you for sharing , my atempt is not as clean as yours maybe it will be now . If you get the chance check my one song out on u-tube I be putting more on when I have time .I work for globalsmartproducts.com my user name is : maryb , I use and distribute OM that helps us guitars players with less discomforts , see what I am writing about . The Om it may help you with pulled muscles like it helps me and my friends and family .

  8. Ah finally, an explanation. Its so simple, and I use them all the time, I just didn’t know what an arpeggio was. I don’t see why other people feel the need to over complicate things by throwing in a bunch of musical talk that I can’t understand yet.

  9. Thanks alot, i thought it was alot more complicated, cause i’ve seen all those youtube videos with the fast and advanced arppegios.

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