lesson on guitar arpeggio technique is all about the physical application
on guitar. There are several ways you can play arpeggios -
picking, legato (hammer ons and pull offs), sweep picking and tapping.
There are also essential lead techniques you should be confident with
for playing arpeggios at higher speeds, such as string skipping and
All the arpeggio techniques in this lesson will be covered in more
depth in their own individual lessons, but hopefully by the end of this
page you'll be more aware of the many different playing skills you can
apply to your arpeggios.
The arpeggio rolling technique
Rolling is a technique that allows you to play two vertical notes,
same fret, in quick succession, using just one finger. How? By
playing one note with the tip
of your finger and the next note with the pad of your finger
(or vice versa if you're descending the arpeggio pattern).
To do this you need to work on collapsing and raising your top finger
Let's say we wanted to play two consecutive notes, from the G to B
string. Here's how we would roll using the index finger...
On the G
Start by fretting the lower string as usual, with the lower tip of the
On the B
The finger collapses or "rolls" back to a flatter position, fretting
the string above and muting the string below.
Many arpeggio patterns involve two "vertical" notes like this, in
varying positions, so you need to ensure all your fingers can execute
this rolling technique.
Use the below exercise to practice this technique using all four
fingers, starting with your index finger as pictured
above. The tab shows the down strokes
and up strokes
we'd use to negotiate these note pairings.
Rolling is especially important for sweep picking, as
it's the only way you'll be able to play vertical notes like this at
Alternate picking arpeggios
A lot of great guitarists use strict alternate
picking for both scales and arpeggios.
picking isn't the quickest, most efficient guitar arpeggio
technique, but it's fine for styles where speed isn't such a big deal
(i.e. if you're just playing quarter and eighth notes most of the
A lot of guitarists choose alternate picking for consistency and