Arpeggio Study

Simply put, an arpeggio is the act of playing a chord one note at a time. All chords have at last 3 notes (the 1 3 5 for major, 1 3b 5 for minor etc) though there are chords that have more notes in them – like the dominate 7th chord which has 4 notes (1, 3, 5, 7b) or a 13th chords (1, 3, 5, 7b, 13) etc. Knowing the notes that make up a chords can be a huge help when you’re playing rhythm or soloing.

One of my favorite mandolin players, Tim O’Brien, uses the below study to warm up. Aside from helping get warm, these studies can really help you find new ways to play chords and improve your soloing capabilities by showing you where all the notes in a chord are.

For example, if you are playng over an A Chord, generally speaking the notes A C# and E (the 1 3 and 5 of the A Chord) will always sound good. More generally, when playing in the key of A, knowing the notes can help you move through the progression smarter. For example, if you are playing a basic blues progression in A (commonly called a 1 4 5 progression – in this case A D E), the C# in the A chord could be moved a half step up (or one fret) to get the D note for the D chord (which is D F# A). When it’s time to change from the D to the E chord, you can just move he F# from the D chord up another half step (or one fret) to get the E chord.

The below was borrowed from the Mandozine site.

  A                 D                  E        

A                 D                 G

A                  D               G 

C                  D                  G

  C                 F                  G

C                   F                 Bb

C                  F                 Bb

Eb                  F                 Bb

  B                 E                  F#

B                 E                 A

B                  E 

         © Mandozine 2020

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