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Watch the Arpeggios & Sweet Notes online guitar lesson by TrueFire from The Indispensable Toolbox for Guitarists

Arpeggios & Sweet Notes - Principle 7 is a video guitar lesson presented by Robbie Calvo and is sourced from Guitar Interactives.


The definition of an arpeggio is a chord that is broken into it's single tones. Arpeggiating a chord for example would mean you were playing a chord one note at a time. Chord arpeggio's can also be used to improvise single note melodies and licks. This is known as chord tone improvisation.

Each chord that we've built from the major scale can be arpeggiated or used as an arpeggio for improvisation. The strongest resolution to any single note line will be resolving to a chord tone. There is no stronger resolution in music. So, by using chord arpeggio's for licks and solo's we can not only outline the underlying harmony but we can also avoid hitting the weaker scale tones by eliminating them from our solo lines.

I call chord tones the ‘ Sweet Notes' and they truly are sweet when you hit them. Let me clarify the concept for you.

An A minor 7 chord contains the notes A - C - E - G. If you then play those notes as single note lines and licks you are playing the strongest tones over that chord. In effect you will never hit a weak or bad note if you employ this improvisational approach.

The ‘Sweet Notes' approach also works for chord extensions. If you add an extension to a chord it becomes a chord tone and can therefore be used as a sweet note or part of your arpeggiated lines. Cool? I'll say!!!

Play along to the G major scale chord track I've provided. You can play each arpeggio in sequence against the track. Once you have that down try improvising with your arpeggio's over the track.