Having just completed my 104th modern rock guitar album (samples available at dtguitar.com), I realized that in addition to really enjoying the process of creating these recordings, I am constantly searching for a new scale or technique to take my playing to the next level. What I didn’t realize is that these new techniques were right in front of me the whole time, in the form of conventional arpeggio fingerings. I found that they could, when played correctly, give your playing a fresh, polished edge. Let’s take a look at a few.
Here is an interesting A minor arpeggio fingering. It works really well since you can pivot your fingers to give it a smooth sound. Begin with your first finger on the first note, then your third finger, then your first finger again on the A note of the D string – the third note in the riff. It is this pivoting motion that makes it stand out. The fingering is key to playing the arpeggio smoothly.
If we use this type of pivoting fingering for a G major arpeggio, we would find that we would end up with example 2. Start the arpeggio with your first finger, then your last finger for the second note and then your first finger again on the third note which is G on the D string.
We can also use this type of pivoting fingering for 5th position minor chords, such as D minor. Again, start with your first finger, then your last finger for the second note, third finger on the third note and then your first finger again on the third note which is D on the G string. This will set you up to play the next three notes with your pinky.
This pivoting technique will also work for 5th position major chords, beginning with the same fingerings as last time, but substituting your second finger on the third note, then back to your first finger for the fourth note – a D on the G string. The next three notes are again played by barring the pinky across the B and E strings.
There are more efficient ways to play arpeggios, but this technique allows for smooth, fluid arpeggios. Take your time with these examples and try applying this idea to other arpeggios you know. Also, experiment by placing all four of our examples together into one long arpeggio pattern. See you next time!
Denis Taaffe has been playing guitar since age seven and has developed a unique solo electric guitar style which uses regular guitar and guitar loops done on the fly and all his material is improvised on the spot. Denis performs, records and teaches guitar regularly. He has released 80 independent CD's, nine of which have been considered for Grammy Awards. He also has endorsements with Kradl picks, Seymour Duncan Pickups, Ernieball/Musicman Strings, Parker Guitars & Boomerang Pedalboards. Always in search of unique guitar sounds, Denis is set to release his 81st CD "Modern Rock Guitar Vol.81". You can visit his website at www.dtguitar.com for more info on him and mp3 audio samples.