Howtopractice 1

- How to practice arpeggios & triads on your guitar

Hello everyone, I'm happy to meet you here for this reflection on the use of arpeggios and triads in improvisation.

How to use arpeggios and triads positions to improvise ?

That's the big question ... I think we all find ourselves learning our positions and trying to improvise ... and that's the drama ... It seems like nothing works, we do the same things all the time, we go round and round, we re-engage the distorsion and we play the same things because we have fun!

This is quite legitimate because the guitar is made to be for pleasure.

In this video I will try to give you some tracks to practice triads and arpeggios but especially to make music with.

This is, of course, only a tiny sample of what can be done. In addition, I invite you to create your own exercises.

The most important thing is to give you some tips for adding phrases to your music.

YouTube Video

How to use triads and arpeggios in improvisation?

More than useful material

The question that comes up the most in the comments is: "How should I use of triads?".

I understand that many guitarists find it useless and complicated. It is true that it is much more complicated for a guitarist than for a pianist.

A pianist, even if he doesn't know music theory and harmony well, plays them naturally from the moment he plays chords, plays little Bach pieces or jazz phrasings. He is used to knowing the name of the notes. From a technical point of view the piano is much easier than a guitar ...

On the guitar the positions change according to the group of strings on which they are played and with the Drops, it becomes even more complicated.

This will require a lot more time and practice. When he learns the chords the guitarist works in terms of "positions", he has only to seek the root note on the low strings and move his positions. This type of learning also creates a flaw, because we can see that a guitarist is uncomfortable on a chord change when he is looking for his roots on the bass and plays its scales ....

Even for me who has practiced the triads for years, it's still difficult in some tones and chord changes ... The day I master 10% of what we can do I'll be happy.

Anyway, getting acquainted with the triads will help you to:

- Know your neck better

- Improve your visualization of the intervals 

- Memorize, remember and reuse the licks that you will transcribe 

- Articulate your sentences and target the important notes

- Know how to play the same thing in many different ways which will be very useful in the framework of an arrangement

- Develop your voice behavior as part of solo guitar improvisations

- Realize that the main Hits that are found everywhere are not a coincidence (when you understand this point come back here and mention it in comment)

- Realize that the list could go on for a long time

Hard to use at the beginning

When I was 11-12 years old, I took guitar lessons with a Jazz teacher whereas at that time I only listened to progressive metal and guitar hero. This teacher taught me all the chords, the arpeggios, the harmony, how to build the chords etc ... Even if I did not really see the interest because what interested me was to make sweeping like a frantic, I worked conscientiously all he gave me to work. And the great luck that I had is that this teacher explained very well all that (modes, harmony etc ...) but especially that it interested me and made me want to go look further.

I used to use or compose with all the news I was learning. For example, when I was transcribing a Steve Vai solo, I practiced reuse the shots in my improvisations. And I wanted to do the same with my arpeggios.

When I learned this arpeggio Major7, exactly the one I gave you, I absolutely could not speak with ... I went up and down without real purpose ... and it's true that we Boredom quickly ... So we reset the distortion and go back to his plans and his pentatonics ... At least I knew my positions ...

It was not long after that when I really started Jazz that I really started to understand how to use it.

First, by transcribing the saxophone and trumpet choruses ... When we tackle the solos of different instruments than ours, the first difficulty is the problem of fingering is that I started to realize ... "-" ha .. but it is the triad with notes of approach ".

When my Master at the time asked me to play Donna Lee in all 12 tones I realized the importance of a good knowledge of the triads and it was from there that I started phrasing with.

Over the relays of Charlie Parker, Stan Gets, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and so on ... THE TRIADES WERE FAR THE MOST ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT.

How to do

Once you master your Major triad position7, which really should not take a lot of time, start playing it by setting a pace. You realize that if we add the rhythmic parma meter, the possibilities are endless. (In the video I did some very basic things)

So to have fun we can play 2nd and 4th 16th notes of each time (example 2) or dotted eighth notes (example 3). I remind you that the point behind a note adds half of the original value, so a dotted eighth is equivalent to 3 sixteenth notes.

This type of exercise serves to nourish your creativity. It is extremely difficult to make it musical. But believe me it will serve you, especially when you have worked enough to forget about it.

V1 1

Let's try to make music

Work of melodic and rhythmic fragments

In the first example below I play the arpeggio by fragments of 4 joint notes but assigning a rhythm. You will notice that the sentences start from the 4th 16th note of time. I did not write the exercises before the video and it's a matter of taste but I tend to often start my sentences on the 2nd and 4th 16th notes of time. I think it grooves better. I find that the phrases "too much played on the times" tend to weigh down the solo.

In the following exercise it is the same principle going down with another rhythm.

I do not pretend to say that these exercises are msical ... It still sounds very academic but I find that these are some interesting tips that can help you develop your language. That said nothing will be better than to transcribe from ear a solo that you like, write it to understand what arpeggios or scales are built sentences, what is the rhythm, what are the rhythmic starts, isolate sentences, transpose and reuse them ... and then create yours from that. For me it's the best method because you are in an oral apprenticeship doing this.

Visualize your intervals

Already the name of the intervals with respect to the fundamental, ex: third, fifth etc ... But also that you know which intervals separate each note, ex between the major third and the right fifth, there is an interval of minor third .

So do not work your arpeggios in a linear way without rhythm and without knowing what you play. Better is 5 minutes of concentrated work than 2 hours in front of the television.

Be creative

If you understand the principle of these 2 exercises, I let you imagine the number of possibilities of working tracks ...

Only one small fragment moved 16 times in the measure (there are 16 sixteenth notes in 1 measure so 16 starts possible) could ask you a few hours of practice ... Add parameters of nuances and accentuation and you n 'll not have enough of a life to work everything.

However I create these exercises in order to illustrate my words and because I seek a method to share but for me, I repeat, nothing is better than to transcribe the solos of the musicians that we admire.

V2 1

A phrase Jazz / Fusion style

Using approach notes

In the sentence below, I use the language I learned by transcribing Lee Morgan and Charlie Parker ... and Sylvain Luc can be as well ...

You can see that the sentence is articulated around the arpeggio of G and the triad G. I use fragments of the range as well as notes of approaches that surround the notes of the triad. I tried to enrich the sentence rhythmically starting from the mishap. I like to solve also on the second half of the second measure.

And I end up with a little extra sentence at the end of the second measure.

This style of phrase is part of my style ... I analyze it only to explain to you, when I improvise I do not say "ha like I'm going to make notes of approach etc ..."

Creating a cadence inside the sentence

I also create a cadenza aiming at the minor second of D7 (the note E flat). You can do that even if there is no D7 ... Some call that play out, others call it the superimposition ... When I "play OUT" that's how I think most time ... I sentence chords that are not necessarily played.

I invite you to get this book if the subject interests you: A chromatic approach to harmony by David liebman

It is with this book that I really worked this type of concepts, moreover it is accompanied by a CD. This book allowed me to understand the sentences and concepts of the sentences of Allan Holdsworth and John Coltrane that I found.

View chord positions and melodic lines

This is the system I use (it's not very original). I only think in a position of agreement. That is, I visualize my sentences in relation to chord positions. In this case, even if the rhythm plays GΔ or Em7 I allow myself to play a sentence that describes "imaginary chords".

I assure you that this is the best way to visualize your sleeve. This is the principle of the CAGED system.

V3 1

Chord colors that you like

Create a "style"

I find it very interesting to develop a chord vocabulary too. Those who have followed the first season of Guitar Vlog know it: THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF POSSIBILITIES for chords ... I will explain how I proceed.

This is the kind of process that takes a lot of time.

- You must look for all reversals (In some cases, some reversals will be totally unplayable)

- To work them a few weeks to have them in the fingers and know how to reuse them in context and in all the tones

- To be able to play them ... It is obvious that it is not likely that you can play singular reversals in English Pop ... After it is necessary to innovate ...

The method I use

So when an agreement I like, I look for all reversals:

If the chord is composed, as in the video, notes Sol Re Fa # La, each will move on the note like this:

- Ground state Sol-Re-Fa # -La

- 1st reversal La-Fa # -Sol-Ré

- 2nd payroll Re-Sol-La-Fa #

3rd reversal Mi-La-Ré-F #

Only with these 4 chords played on all groups of adjacent strings, in drop and in all the tones there is a week of work ...

Develop again and again

When you like a reversal, expand it in all the scales of the range as I show in the video. It's like harmonizing a melody with 3 other voices.

Find functional keys

As I said above, some reversals will be completely unplayable in context or just do not sound good in your ear ... Nothing serves to burden with ...

V4 1

Several lives of research and work

So you see what can be done from a chord or a triad ... And again I really flew over the subject ... We could develop that with other triads and other chords, with other modes or in another range ...

Play everything in all the possibilities offered by the guitar, ie on the different groups of strings with drop etc ...

In short, a life would not be enough ...

And put that in context ... another life of work ...

I hope you enjoyed this article.

See you soon

Sebastian Zunino


Comments (3)

Glenn White
  • 1. Glenn White | 10/01/2020
Hi Sebastion....
I think I have purchased all of your backing track albums and love them all.....your work is most impressive and has taught me quite a bit more than I could have imagined. I play mainly R&B..Smooth Jazz..Neo Soul genres, but like to try accoustic offerings as well in these music types. It's all good when you have the right backing tracks to stimulate your imagination. Your music has taken me to heights I didnt think I would reach....Im.still learning how to play but certain music can inspire you even more. Would love to have several tracks for my personal use if this would be possible. Love to hear from you.
Rick Davidson
  • 2. Rick Davidson | 09/10/2019
I’m wanting to buy one of your
Backing Tracks.
Can’t find it but have a practice with
Lead on that track and would like
To play it to you on the phone so yo can
Identifying the track. Or send it to you
In a text or email Address.

Rick Davidson
Proca Florentin Marian
  • 3. Proca Florentin Marian | 24/03/2019

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