Legato Arpeggios

As a lover of the legato sound I always tried to adapt every new thing I learned so that it would fit my way of playing and technique. One of these were the arpeggios. Although there's quite a good number of techniques that can and should be learned and used to play arpeggios with, the method I will speak about in this lesson isn't very popular as compared with the 'usual' ones. Let's see.

If you check the tab/notation you'll realize that I'm using the 5 most important sounds of 7th chord arpeggios i.e. Maj7, Dom7, Min7, Min7b5 and Dim7.Knowing them in all keys will be very beneficial! I'm using 3 octaves ascend/descend fashion and the common tone approach i.e. same root throughout but changing the chord quality all the time. Very beneficial for the ear this kind of approach.

Some performance tips are that you should go by the indicated fret hand fingerings and pick directions. The reason is so that you keep everything as legato and tight as possible. Don't forget that when you slide up or down don't change the finger as obviously the slide would vanish! When descending try not to pick the new string but hammer to it before you slide or pull. This can be tricky at first but trust me the result will be very impressive indeed. Pick only the first note of every string and use downstrokes. Alternate picking will slow you down apart from complicating things. If played with an overdriven tone be sure to mute any unwanted notes precisely so that everything will sound neat and cool.

When you feel comfortable with them record some type of rhythm using any of the chords and solo upon it using the appropriate arpeggio(s). Be sure to play in time and with accuracy. Then fit them in a solo whenever you're sure they will theoretically fit. You will be amazed at the speed and smoothness they can add to your chops. You can even use a one octave arpeggio at a higher register on your fret board and keep repeating it to create a fast but subtle effect! I included a small short example for you at the end of the 'five wise guys'!

Enjoy and remember to practice slowly and accurately!


Jean-Pierre Zammit is a guitarist and instructor from Malta who has been playing guitar since the age of 14.

Zammit uses complex techniques, time shifts and scales in his writing, and always puts the song and the message he wants to portray first.

His is endorsed by Music Man guitars to use their Axis BFR models and Ernie Ball strings.

Jean-Pierre Zammit