Major Triad Arpeggios (Guitar Lesson)

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Nick Kellie

Major Triad Arpeggios

Building on the CAGED system he taught in lesson 1, Nick teaches the major triad arpeggios built off those chords.

Taught by Nick Kellie in Theory and Improvisation with Nick Kellie seriesLength: 7:13Difficulty: 1.5 of 5

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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desirockerdesirocker replied

I am still a bit confused as to how you combine the arpeggios - I have written out the arpeggio patterns on tab so C in A shape, F in D shape and G in E shape. Not even worrying about the rhythm, how is it that you combined them? Are you able to tab it out as that may be really helpful to see how you get to what you are doing? Thanks

desirockerdesirocker replied

Especially which notes to choose in what order for the different arpeggios, stuffing from going between F to G

desirockerdesirocker replied

Wait, I got it, took a while. Just a couple of clarifying questions though: So it seems that you can start the following chord arpeggio on any note, do some combinations work better than others (& are is there any way to know, i.e. some combinations must fit better into the mood of the song). Like moving forward and backward from CFG and GFC requires some semblance to a progression without it appearing like random notes - or are you basically playing random notes during your construction of this particular sequence of arpeggios. And if so how is the sound appearing so coherent - or is it basically as long as you start the next chord on a note around your previous ending note, it will sound OK. Are we going to cover how to construct licks based on arpeggios in this series too? Just to get some general guidance and a better handle on using arpeggios for lick construction fitting the mood of the song. And thanks - great lesson!

imonarimonar replied

Watch the first movie really clearly and focus. You will get it. Took me a good 20 minutes

teggenbergerteggenberger replied

Thanks Nick, i only wish you would've spent more time with how to 'finger' the Arps. - but i think i can slow it down and see what your doing.

SDgrSDgr replied


rarebird0rarebird0 replied

Confused. I know arpeggio is playing the notes of a chord individually versus all together. Triad means three notes. I didn't find it clear why this is called major triad arpeggios. Shouldn't that mean just playing root, 3rd and 5th? I will watch again, but ???

rarebird0rarebird0 replied

never mind. I blew that the 3rd was an E (in the C chord) and that explains the repretition of the octave and the 3rd. So in effect, the C chord only has the major triad in it whilst two of the notes are just octaves. I assume that's what you probably left out in the snappier version--just playing the essentials and not the superfluous

heikkila31heikkila31 replied

Hey quick question, how are these applied in songs? Like do you improvise with them, solo, etc... Also would have been nice to show fingerings on the tab, i keep rewinding your video to see how you do it. Thanks!

heikkila31heikkila31 replied

Oops my bad i see how you apply them on the second video. Finger tab would be a HUGE help though...Thanks

kevfkevf replied

Yes great lesson set Nick. I was tempted to skip parts I thought I knew or didn't need but thankfully stayed right through the first few sections and will now complete the full set with no gaps. Great work

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied


madasenmadasen replied

Great lesson! My only question is, what if you are not playing in the key of C Major? There are different arpeggios for all different major keys for the different shapes, correct? So in this video lesson, you only covered the arpeggios for the shapes involving C Major? How should we learn the arpeggios for different keys?

nickbalcombenickbalcombe replied

Hi Nick - there is a gap for me in the learning here, as there is no connection between the shapes and the fingering required for a triad arpeggios? i.e. I couldn't see why you used particular notes in each arpeggio?

nickbalcombenickbalcombe replied

Scratch that - just watched again and realised just to find ALL notes associated with triad in that position and that makes up full arpeggio :) Thanks man!

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

glad you figured it out!

mikeb4mikeb4 replied

do you recommend alternate picking when playing arpeggios

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

it depends on how you want to play them... I sweep them if playing fast, but alternate pick if improvising with them

mikeb4mikeb4 replied

do you recommend alternate picking when playing arpeggios

dranak992dranak992 replied

The G triad in the G shape of the arpeggios is wrong. What you have there is the F# triads in the G shape I believe. The second version of it is right though.

dranak992dranak992 replied

Great lesson. Only thing I would say is that you never told us what strings/frets the arpeggios are on.

james carrolljames carroll replied

Hi Nick great lesson but there's no way I'll be able to put this into practice unless there are some songs or exercises i can apply them to.I should be able to but i can't! Sorry. Maybe you could add some backing tracks to noodle over. Thanks jc

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

Hi there - you can apply these arpeggios over any chord progression containing only major chords... there are many. I suggest you make a recording of yourself playing something as simple as a major blues or twist and shout by the Beatles and practice navigating through the chord changes using the arpeggios to improvise. Or even sweet home alabama... I used to spend hours making chord progressions and slowly piecing things together over this... play the chord progressions extremely slowly if you have to and gradually get it faster and more fluent. good luck!

james carrolljames carroll replied

Thanks Nick, good advice. Got over my rockers block!

nettlesomenettlesome replied

Thanks Nick! Your lessons made me subscribe to Jamplay. But my problem is that I end up practicing scales and arpeggios all the time. Having a few songs to play that re-enforce your lessons would really help alleviate the tedium and motivate me to continue. Would you consider writing a list that reflect the techniques you this case, arpeggios?

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

I am happy to hear that! thanks. I agree... having a repertoire is very important indeed. I would suggest listening to players such as frank gambale and carl Verheyen... what you suggested would be a good topic for a lesson.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

Hi Nick, the arpeggios make sense, but is there also a way to note which finger will start the arpeggio with each chord shape? They don't seem to be the same as the finger that is on the root in the CAGED chord shapes. That's why I've found the CAGED system confusing to me for solo-ing. Any clues would be helpful! Cheers...

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

hey Steve, as a general rule... if the shape is going north of the root (towards the headstock) then you obviously wont use the 1st or 2nd fingers as this would make it physically very difficult to play the arpeggio properly... if the shape goes south from the root (toward the body) you wont wanna start on the 4th or 3rd fingers for the same reason. Hope that makes it a little clearer ? Nick

teppe498teppe498 replied

I had the same question. Thnx

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied

OK, thanks for the suggestion, I'll try to apply it that way!

joel13joel13 replied

the exercise reminds me of twist and shout by the beatles

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

hey thats right -its the same chord progression.. and La Bamba also

teppe498teppe498 replied

hehe yeah I noticed that! Nice

joshuagrosserjoshuagrosser replied

Hey excellent lesson Nick. This is teaching me the technical stuff that I haven't understood previously. Stoked to progress through the rest of the series!

brian1962brian1962 replied

i'm brand new to this site and want to learn to improvise. heard of CAGED before and really want to buy into it but could you please give me some tips for fingerings and exercises to improve these new chords and apreggios. it seems in actuality one will only be using small portions of these apreggio shapes rather than the whole shape as outlined in supplental section. i'm looking for exercises to improve fluidity between shapes. i hope this makes sense and i look forward to your tips.

guitman80guitman80 replied

After trying to remember arpeggio shapes all over the neck and on each string I would have to say that the CAGED method is the most practical way to learn arpeggios instead of learning a hundred different fingerings on the neck. Thanks Nick, this is quality stuff!

jesseboy000jesseboy000 replied

Keep them coming! :D

cboyer22792cboyer22792 replied

I really like these lessons, will there be more from you soon?

wayne66wayne66 replied

Wow... gonna take some practice, but this is really good stuff. I'm sold... thanks Nick. Keep them coming...

CarolLBCarolLB replied

Finally got some lessons up Nick! That's great. I haven't been able to join the chats lately & I missed them because I was learning so much. Now I can continue soaking up your knowledge and great teaching methods! Thank you so much!

guitarmonkeyguitarmonkey replied


alien_xalien_x replied

Great lesson Kelly! That was really really useful. I will try to work my way through it. Hope to see more from you soon.

guitarmonkeyguitarmonkey replied

Hey, awesome lesson, but could u tab the arpeggios out for the chords? that would be great! cheers

Nick.KellieNick.Kellie replied

thanks! Sure... the tabs are on their way soon

Theory and Improvisation with Nick Kellie

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Nick Kellie teaches the CAGED system and theory of modes based around this system of learning.

CAGED SystemLesson 1

CAGED System

Nick Kellie teaches the CAGED system and the 3 point root guidelines to finding your chords.

Length: 22:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Major Triad ArpeggiosLesson 2

Major Triad Arpeggios

Building on the CAGED system he taught in lesson 1, Nick teaches the major triad arpeggios built off those chords.

Length: 7:13 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Dominant 7th Arpeggios Lesson 3

Dominant 7th Arpeggios

Nick Kellie demonstrates the dominant 7th arpeggios as they relate to the CAGED system.

Length: 9:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Major Pentatonic Scales in the CAGED SystemLesson 4

Major Pentatonic Scales in the CAGED System

Nick Kellie demonstrates the major pentatonic scales as they relate to the CAGED system shapes.

Length: 7:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
CAGED System Major ScaleLesson 5

CAGED System Major Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the major scales in relation to the five shapes of the CAGED system.

Length: 5:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
CAGED Minor ShapesLesson 6

CAGED Minor Shapes

Now that he has already covered the major CAGED shapes, Nick Kellie demonstrates the minor shapes for the CAGED system.

Length: 10:58 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Triad ArpeggiosLesson 7

Minor Triad Arpeggios

Nick Kellie teaches the minor triad arpeggios for the CAGED system.

Length: 5:19 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor 7th ArpeggiosLesson 8

Minor 7th Arpeggios

Nick Kellie teaches the minor 7th arpeggios as they relate to the CAGED system.

Length: 6:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Minor Pentatonic ScaleLesson 9

Minor Pentatonic Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the minor pentatonic scales as it relates to the CAGED system.

Length: 3:10 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
CAGED Natural Minor ScaleLesson 10

CAGED Natural Minor Scale

Nick Kellie demonstrates the natural minor scale using the CAGED system.

Length: 4:29 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
IntervalsLesson 11


Nick Kellie discusses intervals and interval spacing on the guitar.

Length: 24:28 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Parent ScalesLesson 12

Parent Scales

Nick Kellie discusses the three parent scales that all other diatonic scales are derived from.

Length: 10:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Harmonizing the Major ScaleLesson 13

Harmonizing the Major Scale

Nick Kellie discusses how to harmonize the diatonic major scale.

Length: 13:19 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Modes of the Major ScaleLesson 14

Modes of the Major Scale

Nick Kellie discusses the seven modes derived from the diatonic major scale.

Length: 22:07 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Phrygian ModeLesson 15

Phrygian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Phrygian mode of the major scale.

Length: 6:43 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lydian ModeLesson 16

Lydian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Lydian mode of the major scale.

Length: 7:37 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Mixolydian ModeLesson 17

Mixolydian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Mixolydian mode in five positions.

Length: 8:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Aeolian ModeLesson 18

Aeolian Mode

Nick Kellie demonstrates the Aeolian mode in five positions.

Length: 5:09 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Locrian ModeLesson 19

Locrian Mode

Nick Kellie covers the Locrian mode in five positions.

Length: 6:20 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Changing Keys Using ModesLesson 20

Changing Keys Using Modes

Nick Kellie explains how to change modes while improvising.

Length: 15:26 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Building Modal Chord ProgressionsLesson 21

Building Modal Chord Progressions

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates how to create modal chord progressions within the seven different modes.

Length: 28:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Chord DevelopmentLesson 22

Chord Development

Nick Kellie discusses chord development. Taking key strategies from pianists, Nick demonstrates how playing with a single bass note can benefit your chord construction.

Length: 15:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lick DevelopmentLesson 23

Lick Development

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates how to use the licks you learn.

Length: 11:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Determining the KeyLesson 24

Determining the Key

Nick Kellie demonstrates how to find the key of a song.

Length: 13:49 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Non-Diatonic Chord ProgressionsLesson 25

Non-Diatonic Chord Progressions

Nick discusses and demonstrates some uses for non-diatonic chords within a progression.

Length: 7:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
7th ChordsLesson 26

7th Chords

Nick explains how to harmonize the major scale with diatonic 7th chords.

Length: 11:27 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Soloing Over ChordsLesson 27

Soloing Over Chords

Nick explains how to use scales and modes effectively when soloing over a chord progression.

Length: 9:53 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Modal AlterationsLesson 28

Modal Alterations

Nick discusses how to transpose a lick or riff into a different mode.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Modal Pentatonic ScalesLesson 29

Modal Pentatonic Scales

Nick Kellie demonstrates pentatonic scales derived from the modes of the major scale.

Length: 9:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
9th ChordsLesson 30

9th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses 9th chords, how they are used, and demonstrates a few voicings to get you started.

Length: 8:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
11th ChordsLesson 31

11th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses 11th chords and their applications.

Length: 4:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
13th ChordsLesson 32

13th Chords

Nick Kellie discusses and demonstrates voicings for 13th chords.

Length: 6:08 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Dorian and Super LocrianLesson 33

Dorian and Super Locrian

Nick Kellie discusses how to use the Dorian and Super Locrian modes effectively within a single chord progression.

Length: 10:03 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jazz Soloing #1Lesson 34

Jazz Soloing #1

Nick Kellie discusses concepts and ideas for soloing over jazz compositions.

Length: 20:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Jazz Soloing #2Lesson 35

Jazz Soloing #2

Nick Kellie demonstrates jazz solo techniques for his song "30 Hour Journey."

Length: 10:50 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Building ChordsLesson 36

Building Chords

Nick Kellie demonstrates and discusses building chords and chordal tones from within a scale.

Length: 5:58 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Reading Scale ChartsLesson 37

Reading Scale Charts

Nick Kellie discusses how to read scale charts pertaining to the CAGED system of playing.

Length: 8:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Understanding Modal PlayingLesson 38

Understanding Modal Playing

Nick Kellie returns to his theory and improvisation series with a lesson on understanding modal playing and separating the modes from their parent scales.

Length: 35:16 Difficulty: 3.5 Members Only
Separating Modes from Their Parent ScalesLesson 39

Separating Modes from Their Parent Scales

In lesson 38, Nick discussed more basics on understanding modes and modal playing. In this lesson, he discusses separating your modes from their parent scales to give a more balanced and modal sound to...

Length: 16:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Practical Modal ApplicationsLesson 40

Practical Modal Applications

Returning to his theory and improvisation series, Nick discusses how you might already being applying modal playing without even knowing it. He discusses how you can pull modal scale ideas and progressions...

Length: 9:34 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Scale SequencingLesson 41

Scale Sequencing

Nick Kellie returns to his Theory and Improvisation series with a discussion on scale sequencing. In this lesson he discusses how sequencing in both numeric and intervalic forms can open up the scale...

Length: 12:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Pentatonic Scale SequencingLesson 42

Pentatonic Scale Sequencing

Now that Nick has covered the basic concepts of sequencing scales, he covers how you might sequence within the pentatonic scale. He also discusses linear and non-linear playing.

Length: 14:17 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Sequencing TriadsLesson 43

Sequencing Triads

Nick Kellie returns with another look at sequencing. Nick has been talking primarily about playing sequences using diads or intervals. In this lesson, he demonstrates sequences based on diatonic triads...

Length: 7:04 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Diatonic Seventh Chord ArpeggiosLesson 44

Diatonic Seventh Chord Arpeggios

Now that you've learned how to sequence triads, Nick applies the same concepts horizontally with diatonic seventh chords and their arpeggios.

Length: 5:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Harmonizing KeysLesson 45

Harmonizing Keys

Nick Kellie discusses how a key is harmonized and how this knowledge can help unlock playing over chords and within different keys.

Length: 15:42 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Backing Track Study #1Lesson 46

Backing Track Study #1

In his 46th lesson, Nick Kellie takes an applied approach to soloing over a backing track. In this lesson, he discusses ways to solo and connect scales and modes over his track "Melody of Hope".

Length: 18:47 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Backing Track Study #2Lesson 47

Backing Track Study #2

Nick Kellie takes a look at another backing track and discusses how to implement scale ideas over it.

Length: 15:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Scales and 3rd IntervalsLesson 48

Scales and 3rd Intervals

In this lesson, Nick discusses how applying the third interval across a scale idea can open up melodic ideas in your playing. To get you started, he teaches the third interval pattern for all adjacent...

Length: 10:20 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Nick Kellie

About Nick Kellie View Full Biography Nick was awarded the BBC Big Band Jazz awards "John Dankworth trophy for outstanding young soloist" and recorded a special show for BBC radio 2. He was invited to become a member of the Wigan Jazz Orchestra, and has played as part of the Wigan International Jazz Festival. He has played extensive gigs which include accompaniment, reading, soloing as well as styles ranging from Soul, R&B, Blues, Rock and Jazz in locations such as London, Norway, Germany and Greece.

Nick, with his professional approach towards music, brings enthusiasm and musicality to every project he is involved with. As well as being a guitarist Nick is also a fine vocalist and can sing lead vocals as well as backing vocals.

In London Nick has been involved with many projects such as Fresh Claim, which features Nick on guitar, and Jon Plotel on Bass (Billy Ocean, The Real Thing) and Vanessa Haynes band featuring members of Jeff Beck group, Eric Clapton’s Band and Allan Holdsworth’s Band. For a time Nick resided in Nashville TN where he played with many local musicians. In addition he also played in a Jazz Fusion band named "Shammah", with whom he has recorded an album.

Most recently Nick was signed to Digital Nations - part of Steve Vai's record label and has recorded an album entitled "For A Brother" with his band "Nick Kellie Band". Upon hearing the album, Steve contacted Nick with regard to a release on his own label. It has been released in the USA, Europe and Asia. As well as this, Nick is also an endorsee of Elixir guitar strings, which are world-renowned.

Nick Also contributed to around 21 issues of Europe's biggest selling guitar magazine - "Total Guitar" in his series of articles, "Techniques of the rich and famous" and "Steal their style".

Having taught at Europe's top two guitar schools, Nick was also appointed as head of the guitar department at Guitar Getaways.

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