Arpeggio Licks

Welcome back everyone! I hope everything is well. This time I'm going to give you some fun arpeggio licks that I use in my playing and hope that you will learn from them and make up your own arpeggio licks. Be sure you follow the fingerings above the notation. Let's get started...

Example 1 - We have four arpeggios in the key of C major on the first three strings. The first arpeggio is a C major (C, E, G), the second one is a B diminished (B, D, F), the third one is an A minor (A, C, E), and the last one is a G Major (G, B, D). These are some of my favorite arpeggio shapes; you can really get these flying up and down the neck. I don't use sweep picking for these - I alternately pick the notes and use a pull-off on the first string. Make sure you move these shapes around the neck to different keys.

MP3 - Example 1

Example 2 - Now we are going to do string skipping arpeggios. This is a really cool way to play arpeggios. They are played on the first four strings, but we don't ever play the B string. The first arpeggio is an E minor arpeggio (E, G, B), the second arpeggio is a G major (G, B, D), the third arpeggio is an F# minor (F#, A, C#), and the last one is a D# diminished (D#, F#, A). I use hammer-ons and pull-offs to make them more fluid sounding. The progression is based off an E dorian scale, except for the D# diminished, which is from the E harmonic minor scale.

MP3 - Example 2

Example 3 - This is the main theme from the song "Touch the Sky" from my "Full Circle" CD. The arpeggios are based off the E major scale (E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#) in 6/8 time. The first arpeggio is an E major 9th (E, G#, B, D#, F#). The second one is a C# minor 7#5 arpeggio (C#, E, A, B), and the last one is a B add9 arpeggio (B, D#, F#, C#). I don't use any sweep picking for this one either - I'm using alternate picking.

MP3 - Example 3

Example 4 - Our last lick starts off with some extended arpeggios. In the first bar we have a F# minor 11 arpeggio (F#, A, C#, E, G#, B). I rearranged the notes so it drapes across the neck. The next arpeggio is G add9 #11 (G, A, B, C#, D) which is based off the G Lydian scale. On this one I also spread the notes across the neck - pretty cool, huh? The second measure uses smaller triad (three note) arpeggios A Major (A, C#, E) and G Major (G, B, D). The last two arpeggioss are Bm7 (B, D, F#, A) and F#m7 (F#, A, C#, E). The last measure of this lick sounds great over an A Dom11 chord, because the notes in the triads A and G make up that chord. Again, no sweeping is used, but feel free to experiment.

MP3 - Example 4


This wraps up our lesson. If you have any questions feel free to email me. Also check out my CDs "Full Circle" and "Total Freedom", and for more information visit In the next lesson we are going to talk about learning the neck - be sure to stop back. Good luck!

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

Mike Campese: The Fire Within