How To Play Amazing Guitar Arpeggios (Without Playing Super Fast)

by Tom Hess

You don’t have to blaze through sweep picking arpeggios at high speeds to make them sound great. Instead you can use creative exercises to make them sound musical (AND badass).

The following video will help you play awesome arpeggio guitar licks:

These ideas will transform your arpeggios into creative, engaging musical expressions:

1. Add A Break Into Your Arpeggio

If you simply repeat the same arpeggio up and down over and over it will eventually become boring. Rather than doing this, break each ascending and descending section into separate licks:

So instead of playing a lick like this:

AMinor Sweep Picking Arpeggio Sample

…isolate the descending part:

Minor Sweep Picking Decending Arpeggio

…or isolate the ascending part:

Minor Sweep Picking Ascending Arpeggio

See how this sounds by watching the video at 33 seconds.

Don’t just use one of these variations, make sure to use both. If you overuse either one, it can become boring quickly.

This sweep picking instructional guide helps you become more creative with arpeggios.

2. Expand And Harmonize Your Arpeggios Using Inversions

You can maintain interest in your guitar arpeggios while repeating them over and over IF you do the following:

-Expand the pattern by using its inversions

-Utilize inversions to harmonize the notes in the pattern

You need solid fretboard visualization skills to be able to lengthen an arpeggio using inversions. Take any minor arpeggio and try to locate all of its notes covering the whole fretboard (for instance A C E for A minor).


Sweep Picking Arpeggio Inversions Pt1

Sweep Picking Arpeggio Inversions Pt2

Sweep Picking Arpeggio Inversions Pt3

Hear It

This example demonstrates the A minor pattern being played with its inversions, covering the whole fretboard.

To harmonize your inversions, you need to record the inversions one after the whole while super-imposing them (inversions can be recorded in any order).

Watch the video at 1:52 to see a sample of this.

Hint: harmonizing various different arpeggios makes this idea sound even more creative (as heard in the video).

Take lessons with a guitar teacher to learn how to better apply this concept for even more creative results.

3. Use Different Numbers Of Strings In Your Arpeggios

Don’t play 3 note per strings over and over. Use a mix of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 string patterns. This will add more variety to your guitar playing while adding more texture to your arpeggios.

Use the following three step exercise:

Step One: Come up with various different arpeggio patterns to play in a progression. For instance:

C minor

E flat major

G major

Ab major

Step Two: Use different sized string patterns plus new inversions each time you switch arpeggios. For instance:

C minor 2nd inversion (3 string pattern)

E flat major root position (4 string pattern)

G major root position (6 string pattern)

Ab major 1st inversion (5 string pattern)

Step Three: Create 10 variations of these arpeggios and make each variation with a varying number of string lengths/different inversions.

4. Create Excitement By Inserting Silence Into Your Arpeggios

Place silence into an arpeggio at unexpected times to make it sound more interesting. Instead of playing through an arpeggio over and over like this:

Diminished Sweep Picking Arpeggio Sample

…insert silence at various points like this:

Sweep Picking Arpeggio Sample With Rests

This makes the arpeggio easier to play and also makes it sound more awesome.

This sweep picking instructional video shows how killer this idea sounds.

Alter where you use silence and the length of time you use it for. Don’t stop at the same point every single time. This is crucial for keeping your arpeggio pattern from becoming boring.

5. Integrate These Ideas Together

Playing creative arpeggio licks requires being able to play with a lot of variety. Even if a single idea sounds cool on its own, it can become old quickly if repeated too much. Create variations of any sweep picking lick and apply the concepts you learned in this article.

This sweep picking instructional guide shows 20+ ways to make arpeggios sound awesome (it’s free).

Author's Bio: 

About The Author:
Tom Hess is a professional recording artist, composer, and expert guitar instructor. He teaches and trains guitarists how to become great musicians in his online rock guitar lessons. Visit to receive additional free guitar playing resources and to read more guitar articles.