Arpeggios (Guitar Lesson)

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Danny Voris


Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Taught by Danny Voris in Classical Guitar seriesLength: 8:43Difficulty: 1.5 of 5
Chapter 1: (03:12) Introduction Arpeggios

An arpeggio occurs when the notes within a chord are plucked individually rather than simultaneously. Many musicians use the terms "blocked chord" and "broken chord" to describe the difference between strummed chords and arpeggios.

Arpeggio patterns occur in countless pieces. Mauro Giuliani claimed that if you can play all 120 of his arpeggio studies accurately at an appropriate tempo, then you can play any piece of music that he ever wrote.

General Arpeggio Guidelines

Usually, the thumb is used to pluck notes that occur on the three bass strings. The index finger usually plucks notes on the third string. The M finger is typically used for notes on the second string. Usually, the A finger plucks notes on the first string. Keep in mind that these are basic guidelines. Almost half of the arpeggio patterns that you will encounter will break these rules.

Arpeggio Exercise

Apply your own arpeggio patterns to some basic progressions. To keep the left hand element simple, use "open" chords that you already feel very comfortable with.

At 01:27, Danny demonstrates one such arpeggio pattern. This pattern is applied to an open Em chord. He doesn't place his left hand on the fourth and fifth strings, because they are not involved in the arpeggio pattern. Then, after a few measures, the bass note is changed to A. The bass notes are plucked with the thumb. The guidelines listed above are used for the index, middle, and ring fingers.

Experiment with various patterns using these open strings. For example, Danny reverses the basic pattern at 01:48. If you tire of the sound of open strings, feel free to perform a basic progression such as Em to Am or C to G7. Also, feel free to pluck two strings simultaneously within the pattern.

Note: Tablature and standard notation to all exercises presented in the lesson video are included under the "Supplemental Content" tab.
Chapter 2: (02:20) Exercise Danny elaborates on the exercise presented in the previous scene. The basic arpeggio pattern remains the same. This time around however, any note from the E natural minor scale can be played on the first string. Tablature to the E natural minor scale on the first string can be found under the "Supplemental Content" tab. Strive to create meaningful melodies within the arpeggio pattern. For simplicity's sake, fret each note on the first string with the index finger.

Feel free to experiment with the arpeggio pattern as well. You can reverse the basic pattern or change the pattern altogether.
Chapter 3: (03:18) Giuliani Arepeggio Patterns Mauro Giuliani - 120 Right-Hand Studies

Giuliani's 120 right hand arpeggio studies will prepare you for any arpeggio you may encounter in a classical piece. If you can play these arpeggios smoothly in a wide variety of tempos, you will never have problems when you encounter an arpeggio pattern in a piece of music.

Some of the studies are rather advanced. Danny demonstrates and breaks down one of the easier patterns in this scene at 01:45. The arpeggios that he demonstrates in the lesson are notated in tablature and standard notation under the "Supplemental Content" tab. All of the Giuliani patterns are written in standard notation as well. Tablature may be added to these documents in the future. If you have questions concerning these arpeggio patterns, feel free to write in to Danny or Matt Brown for help.

The arpeggio patterns are broken up into groups based on similar arpeggio formulas. Groups 8 and 9 feature a random collection of arpeggios that do not fit in with the other groups.

Practice Suggestions

-Practice one group at a time. Make sure that you can play each group comfortably along with a metronome before moving on to the next.

-Always practice your weakness, not your strengths. If a certain pattern gives you problems, drill it until it becomes second nature.

-Each arpeggio pattern can be repeated an unlimited amount of times for extra practice. Just be careful that you don't zone out and loose your focus.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

darksidedarkside replied on July 5th, 2011

Hello, Danny, I started my musical journey playing the Double Bass in orchestral capacity and I had a lot of similar etudes, but that is another story. Regarding these Giuliani, 120 R-H. etudes, when fingering the Group #2, C to open G, do you advise using i,(middle finger) then r,(ring finger) and staying consistently w/ that fingering, especially on these type of etudes? Lastly,your list of great inspiring classical guitarist you omitted Christopher Parkening, and Scott Tenant, which the later artist published 2 very impressive etude books, Pumping Nylon,vol. 1,and 2, which near the back of book #1, has very similar Giuliani-esk studies... are you going to go over that scorge of classical guitar... Tremmello ?( I may have miss-spelled it)

jeremy81jeremy81 replied on May 20th, 2010

Hi, I'm new to this... where do i find the Giuliani Arpeggio patterns? Are all 120 available?

giardjagiardja replied on October 21st, 2009

I bought Mauro Giuliani's 120 Right Hand Studies - How important is it to use the right hand fingerings that he suggests? I find using p on the low E, A, and D strings and i, m, a on the D, B, and high e feels more natural.

clownno9clownno9 replied on August 11th, 2009

hi is there tab available for the guiliani arpeggio patterns i don't read music!

sourcoresourcore replied on June 21st, 2009

Excellent! Thank you for posting great excercises. I will practice these daily

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 23rd, 2009

Hey everybody! I'm currently working on the remaining Giuliani arpeggio patterns. They should be up either today or tomorrow.

mattbrownmattbrown replied on March 24th, 2009

Feel free to send me an email if you have questions about the right or left hand fingering of a certain arpeggio.

bany_rockbany_rock replied on March 21st, 2009

GREAT!! i was looking for this, i´m most a rock guitar player, but i love playing classical pieces sometimes, also i like to add arpegios in my rock-pop songs, cool lessons!

Classical Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

The origins of the classical guitar date back to the fifteenth century. The vihuela, lute, and baroque guitar are the early predecessors of the guitar. With its origins reaching deep into the past, the classical guitar repertoire spans over five hundred years worth of material. Danny Voris explains the techniques necessary to mastering this timeless art form.

Lesson 1

Overview of the Classical Guitar

Danny provides an overview of the topics that will be discussed in this lesson set. He also explains the origin of the classical guitar.

Length: 5:57 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Preparing to Play the Classical Guitar

In this lesson, Danny covers proper posture and how to hold the classical guitar. He also explains how to shape the nails in order to produce the best tone possible.

Length: 19:44 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Installing Nylon Strings

Danny demonstrates how to install nylon strings on a classical guitar.

Length: 12:58 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Left Hand Technique

Danny covers the basics of left hand techniques for classical guitar.

Length: 20:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Finger Independence

For lesson five, Danny discusses left hand finger independence. He also discusses hammer-on and pull-off technique.

Length: 17:06 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Right Hand Technique

In lesson 6, Danny discusses and demonstrates right hand technique for the classical style.

Length: 24:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7


Lesson 7 is all about arpeggios. Danny provides discussion and exercises designed to build your right hand skills.

Length: 8:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

The Importance of Scales

Lesson 8 covers scale exercises in the classical format. Danny provides a few patterns that focus on finger independence and position shifts.

Length: 6:26 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Renaissance Period

In lesson 9, Danny begins discussion of the five different musical periods of classical guitar music. He starts with the Renaissance.

Length: 40:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Robert Johnson's Alman

In lesson 10, Danny takes a more in depth look at a Robert Johnson's "Alman." This lesson contains a detailed explanation of fingering.

Length: 27:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Behind the Scenes with Danny Voris

Danny Voris discusses the major music periods and the advent of tonality.

Length: 7:19 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Baroque Period

Danny discusses and demonstrates a piece from the Baroque period.

Length: 22:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 13

Classical Period

In lesson 13, Danny discusses the Classical period of music.

Length: 20:53 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Romantic Period

In lesson 14, Danny discusses the Romantic period of music. He demonstrates a famous piece from this period commonly referred to as "Romance."

Length: 21:11 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 15

The 20th Century

In this lesson, Danny discusses the 20th century influence on classical guitar.

Length: 22:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Danny Voris View Full Biography

A unique guitarist in the region, Wright State alumnus Danny Voris, musically fulfills audiences with a mixture of exciting guitar playing and talented compositional skills. After graduating WSU in 1989, Danny obtained a teaching position at Sinclair Community College. In the fall of 2000, Danny obtained a scholarship to the graduate program at The University of Akron. After graduating the University of Akron in 2002 with a Master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance, Danny returned to Dayton. There he began teaching at Jim McCutcheon Music Studios and at The Miami Valley School in Kettering, Ohio.

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