Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Paganini Caprice No. 1, Part 1

Mike Campese arranges a violin classic from Niccolo Paganini for guitar

This lesson I will be showing you Niccolo Paganini's Caprice No.1 from the 24th Caprices, which I always loved and always wanted to arrange for the guitar. This piece was originally nicknamed "L'Arpeggio" and uses chordal arpeggio playing with ricochet across all four strings on a violin. When I first heard this piece way back, I felt a little intimidated because the way it is originally played and I knew it would be tricky on guitar. The violin has a very small neck compared to a guitar and it would be easier to move around on that instrument. Recently, I sat down and started to tackle this piece for an arrangement on guitar, and figured out how to make it lay nicely on the fretboard. To get it to work on the guitar I had to move some notes around from the original, but the most important thing was to maintain all the harmonies. This piece opens in E major and quickly transitions into an E minor section, but I only will be showing you the first part for this lesson, so we will not get to the E minor section.

To play this piece I use sweep picking for the whole thing, which is a great workout if you want to develop your sweep picking technique. I listed the right hand picking pattern on the notation. For this first section, there are basically two different types of picking patterns. The first one is when you are not skipping a string and you are just playing the notes in a row, the other one you are skipping the B string when you are ascending. Be sure to take it slow and gradually build up speed and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

Download Example Audio: Fast - Slow

Next lesson I will be showing you more of this great piece, so be sure to stop back.