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Practicing arpeggios practically

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LeftyLB70P, Jul 20, 2005.


  1. LeftyLB70P

    LeftyLB70P

    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    I love developing systematic routines for practice. Doing so allows me to plan practices and monitor what I am doing so that I don't just grab my bass and waste time (which I do belive has value of it's own at times). I have NOT found a systematic way to practice arpeggios.... can someone please give some advice. I would love it if mutliple options were presented.

    And please be detailed and specific. For example, as a way of warming up my fingers, I play through the Circle of 4th. I begin at the C note on the E string at the 20th fret, play the major scale and then drop down to play the F major scale starting on the A string, 20th fret. I work my way up the neck and finish with a C major scale at the 3rd fret of the A string.....mmm hmmmm fun :hyper:

    Thats the sort of detail that I am looking for please. Thanks all :D
     
  2. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    Well, first of all, that's playing down the neck.

    Secondly, are you asking for tips? You say "I have found a systematic way..." but then don't mention it. I'm guessing that you're asking for tips.

    I don't know how much theory you know, but we'll assume that you've learnt the degrees in each arpeggio. I suppose you could learn it as patterns, but I think it would help in the long run if you think of them relative to the root note, rather than patterns, especially on different strings. Decide what arpeggios you want to learn, and go through them each in different keys, deliberately choosing positions where you can't play a simple pattern.

    That's off the top of my head, so feel free to mock.
     
  3. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    I've been practicing taking a chord progression, say I-IV-V for a certain scale (say G Major). Then I plant my middle finger on the root note and play I-IV-V lines in that position. Then I put my index finger on the 2nd note in the scale (A in this case) then I play I-IV-V, but now I have different notes available to me so my lines are different. Then I plant my index finger on B and do the same. Then I plant my middle finger on the D, then index on E, then index on F#.

    Now you've just practicing running through I-IV-V progressions in the G Major scale up the neck. Continue until you run out of neck. Do this in all keys. Once you have that down, pick a different progression, like I-vi-ii-V, etc.
     
  4. LeftyLB70P

    LeftyLB70P

    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    oops burnt...... i meant that I have not found a way.

    Thanks willplay, thats cool.
     
  5. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    I don't get that, WillPlay4Food. Surely you're just moving a pattern up the neck? You hit the G on E, then the C on A, then the D on A, then just shift it up two frets to be playing in A on the E string. Or do you mean lines based around the I-IV-V, not just the actual notes themselves?
     
  6. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    What I'm saying is to get used to where the chord tones are up and down the neck. Depending on where you are on the neck, you have different inversions of chord tones available to you so your lines will be different, if you limit yourself to each position (this is so hard to explain in words).

    For example, put your middle finger on G on the E string (3rd fret). Play the I chord. You have the G, B, D, G(octave), B(octave) notes available. For the IV chord you have G(5th), C, E, G, C(octave). For the V chord you have F#(2nd fret, E string), A, D, F#, A notes.

    If you move so your index finger is now on the A of the E string (5th fret) you have different notes available to you. For the I chord you have B, D, G, B, D. For the IV you have C, E, G, C notes & for the V you have A, D, F#, A notes.

    Now say you create a 12 bar blues line in generic I-IV-V form. With your middle finger planted on G of the E string, you'll probably play a 'root up' type of line like G, B, D, C# (approach), C, E, G, etc., type of line.

    Move up to the second position and now for the I chord you can start on the 3rd (B on E string) instead of root and work up to the root, or you can hit the root G on the D string and work down to the third or other combinations as well. For each position, the chord tones will be in different inversions so you'll get a different flavor from each position. Also, this can get you out of hitting the root on the 1 of each bar.

    This exercise can also help to keep you from shifting to nail your index/middle finger to the root of the chord you're working with. This can help the flow between each chord and create a moving/flowing line vs. playing a line like so: I = R-3-5-A, IV = R-3-5-A, V = R-3-5-A.

    Now you can take say, the form where your index finger is on A, 5th fret, E string still in the scale of G Major and create a flowing line that looks like so: I = B-D-G-F#, IV = E-D-C-B, V = A-D-A-B, etc. (I = 3-5-R-A, IV = 3-A-R-A, V = 5-R-5-A)
     
  7. LeftyLB70P

    LeftyLB70P

    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    perfect......burnt, that's exactly why I asked the question. That is how I see practicing arpeggios at this point simply moving a shape up or down the neck and/or up and down the strings. I am hoping that someone has some sort of 'approach'.
    One thing that I do do is to harmonize scales (i might be using terms incorrectly here) so instead of playing 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 i play 1-3-5, 2-4-6, etc,etc.
     
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    That's a great start. Practice the scales musically. Many great players here have said "What you practice comes out in your playing." So you don't want to practice scales from root to octave unless that's what you want to play.

    Let's take what I've been talking about in my previous posts and apply it to the I chord of a Major scale. With your middle finger on the root of the scale you have the following chord tones available to you: R-3-5-R-3. With your index finger on the 2nd tone of the scale you have the following tones available: 3-5-R-3. With your index finger on the 3rd tone of the scale you have the following tones available: 3-5-R-3-5. With your middle finger on the 5th tone of the scale you have these notes: 5-R-3-5-R. With your index finger on the 6th tone of the scale you have: R-3-5-R.

    So, where you are on the neck easily determines which chord tones are available under your fingers. Once you learn this, you can flow your lines through multiple octaves because you'll know where the chord tones are across the whole neck. Right now I'm still limiting myself to working in one position at a time because A) I still need to nail where the chord tones are in each position and B) I'm still immersing myself in the flavor of the chord in each position on the neck.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    By the way, I can't take credit for any of this. I got this all from a lesson I took with Mike Dimin last weekend.
     
  10. LeftyLB70P

    LeftyLB70P

    May 4, 2005
    Athens, Ga.
    WillPlay,
    this is really great stuff. Thanks for sharing it. Good music is all about communication IMO.

    Leads me to believe that you must be a pretty decent player :)
     
  11. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Like I said, I can't take any credit for this, I got this from my lesson with Mike Dimin.

    Thanks for the compliment. :D I haven't ever played out or been in a band so I have no clue if I'm decent or not.
     
  12. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    Thanks, I think I understand you better now, but I'll have to work at it a bit more. So, in essence, instead of starting at the root and working up, you can start at a different tone, and move about? However, surely in a root position you have access to nearly all of the tones in a scale or chord anyway? If it's about playing tones in a different order, why couldn't you just do that from the root?

    I feel I've almost got you, it just needs to click a bit.
     
  13. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    If you always work from the same position, you'll always have the same notes available. For example, if your middle finger is on G and you're playing the G Maj chord, you have G, B, D, G(Oct), B notes available to you.

    If you play a little farther up the neck where your index finger is on the B note of the E string (7th fret), you have B, D, G, B, D notes.

    In the first position, you have octaves of the root and 3rd tones of the chord. In the B position you have octaves of the 3rd and fifth tones of the chord. So while you'd still be playing G Major chord tones, the octaves are available on different chord tones, a different chord tone is the lowest sound available, etc.

    It's still a G Major chord, but playing G, B, D, G or B, D, G, B in the first position is a different flavor when compared to playing D, G, B, D in the second position. Also, these are only examples going from lowest to highest notes. You don't have to play the notes in this order.

    This may seem pointless when only working with a single chord. Change it up and work a I-IV-V progression in the different positions. You'll get different walking lines in each position on the fretboard because in the first position you might walk down from the D of the I chord to the C of the IV chord. If you put your index finger on the B of the E string you might walk down from the G (10th fret A string) to the E (7th fret A string) instead.
     
  14. burntgorilla

    burntgorilla

    Jan 24, 2005
    Belfast
    Oh, I think I see now, I was interested in learning walking lines, so this was good timing. When you said "in the second position you get different notes" I was thinking "but they're still the same tones," so I was trying to work out what I had missed. So it's really playing around with octaves, and so, for example, the root isn't always the lowest note? And then, also, it helps up with linking different chords? Thanks for taking the time to explain that!
     
  15. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Try these:
    triad arpeggios - closed position, maj, min, diminished, aug
    Pick a "root". Then do all root position triads, then all 1st inversion, then all 2nd inversion. Like with C
    CEG CEbG CEbGb CEG# EGC EbGC EbGbC EG#C GCE GCEb GbCEb G#CE
    go through all 12 notes as "root"
    then pick a "root" and go through each inversion before moving to the next triad type. Like with C
    CEG EGC GCE CEbG EbGC GCEb etc.

    Open positions - an open position triad "displaces" the notes of the triad by putting what usually should be next in the order above the following note. A root position, open C major triad is spelled C G E (always going higher for the next note, not below)
    So as above first all the forms, then all the inversions.
    CGE CGEb CGbEB CG#E ECG EbCG etc etc

    And then there's 7th chords...
     
  16. chardin

    chardin

    Sep 18, 2000
  17. chimp

    chimp

    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    Take the chord progressions of any song (i prefer working with jazz standards) then set yourself a limit (eg. first 5 frets) then play the arpeggios of those chords but dont always start on the root with each new chord but make sure you are in the right chord then when you get to your limit (5th fret on g string) then you work backwards throught them. kinda hard to explain but it makes your brain work really hard!
     
  18. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    That's what I was trying to say. You put it so succinctly! Then once you get good with the first 5 frets, then stay in frets 6-10 using the same progression and staying in the same scale.
     
  19. Another way is to go thru the cycle of fifths with say R-3-5-7 but within a five fret radius say for example from F to A ( E-string ) so you'll begin to find all the inversions played as said before but you come up with different ways of playing these arpeggios also do what Ed said play all the types of chord so you have it under your fingers but more IMPORTANTLY have these in your ear so you can hear what you play which is the ultimate goal that you strive for in learning these arppeggios also learn patterns ie:1-2-3-4-5 or 3-5-1-2-5 etc and consistently practice these which will in turn help you in the long run