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Question About Arpeggios

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BigWhammy, Jan 13, 2020.


  1. BigWhammy

    BigWhammy

    Jan 13, 2020
    Hey guys, quick question- sorry if this shouldn't be posted here I'm new.

    I'm a new player learning about arpeggios and am wondering if they can only be played on specific frets, or if they are like scales and can be played in spot on the fretboard?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'm not quite sure I understand what you're asking. Arpeggios are just selected chord tones, so yeah, you can play them with any fingering that works for you.
     
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  3. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    This ^.
    @BigWhammy
    In the same way as scales and melodies can cover all areas of the fingerboard, so it is for arpeggii.
    Work out the fingerings that best fit the preceding and subsequent phrases or passsges.
    By way of an example, try the attached, and see how the different fingerings facilitate easy shifting...
     

    Attached Files:

    Nashrakh and Spidey2112 like this.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cincinnati
    They are just a collection of notes. Arpeggios generally refer to the notes of a chord (R-3-5 or more). But they are just a collection of notes so they could be anything (C-F-Bb-Eb). And, just like scales or anything else, you can play them anywhere on the neck you care to, depending on notes before, after and the range you want to have them played.
     
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Lots of great advice above!

    In baseball, a versatile player who can run, catch, throw, get on base, and hit for power is called a "five tool player." Likewise I would say that if you want to be a versatile "five tool bassist" there are five different skills you can practice when you are learning scales and arpeggios. The five skills are reading, writing, hearing, singing, and playing. So for example if you are practicing major arpeggios, you should be able not only to read major arpeggios in every key, but also to write them down, recognize them when you hear them, sing them, and of course last but not least, play major arpeggios on the bass.

    Quick, pop quiz! Can you name any famous songs or melodies with prominently-featured arpeggios? I'll do one to get started: The first few notes of "The Star Spangled Banner" (Ooooo-ooooo say can you see) are the notes of a major arpeggio. Can you think of any others?
     
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    The opening of the William Blake / ELP hymn "Jerusalem" is another (ascending) example. "And did those feet"...
     
    Spidey2112, Quinn Roberts and SteveCS like this.
  7. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Lovin' You by Minnie Ripperton?
     
  8.  
    Fergie Fulton, BOOG and Rip Van Dan like this.
  9. Anywhere is fine.
     
  10. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Shhhhh, no help from the "peanut gallery"! This is a "teachable moment" for the OP. ;)
     
    bholder likes this.
  11. BigWhammy

    BigWhammy

    Jan 13, 2020
    So basically as long as I match the chord being played , it'll work?
     
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Depends entirely on the gig. If you are being paid to learn the song accurately (for example for a "tribute" band) then no, having an attitude like, "I don't have to learn the song; I'll just play whatever I want, as long as I match the chord being played," probably won't take you very far, professionally.

    But for a casual situation, like jamming with your friends, then absolutely yes, it is a very useful skill to be able to improvise or "fake" a bass line to any song, using your knowledge of arpeggios and chord tones. Some of my most fun musical memories are where a friend says something like, "I just wrote a song; the chords are C, G, Amin, F," and then we improvise together based on that chord progression. :)

    I'll repeat my advice: Write out a few of your favorite songs, grab a highlighter, listen along to the recording, and mark with the highlighter wherever you hear the composer use an arpeggio. As you learn more songs over time, you'll probably notice that some composers use more arpeggios than others. These are the types of musical details that give each composer or songwriter their own unique "style."
     
    Fergie Fulton likes this.
  13. BigWhammy

    BigWhammy

    Jan 13, 2020
    Ok, I think I've had my question answered. So basically I can use arpeggios to match the chord being played, first I'd have to know what notes make up the chord being played though- but regardless I can use them in that way and pair them with, for example, a major scale to create sounds that work well? Like I could be playing around a major scale in f, fill with an fmaj arpeggio when that chord is played, and the go back to the scale/move on to the next chord arpeggio in the progression? Or do I have that all wrong lol
     
  14. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    I think it would be clearer to look at arpeggios in the context of an actual song. Do you have a favorite bassist? Can you think of any song when your favorite bassist played an arpeggio? As you analyze their bass line, roughly what percentage of their bass line is made up of arpeggios and what percentage is not arpeggios?
     
  15. That's basically correct. When the guitar is playing an F Major, you can use a F Major arpeggio over it. Then when he switched to a Bb Major you can switch to a Bb Major arpeggio, and so forth. If you kept using the F Major arpeggio it would probably sound off (but you COULD do that if you're going for some kind of effect, but not ordinarily).
     
  16. BigWhammy

    BigWhammy

    Jan 13, 2020
    Ok so I get it, atleast how it works- I guess I am going to go listen to example of bassists and how they use them and stuff and then study chords and etc and basically do a lot of learning lol. Thanks everyone for being so helpful.
     
  17. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Because music is actually very mathematical, once you have a shape figured out you can play it anywhere on the neck in whatever key you need as long as there is enough room to play it. If it won't fit (not enough strings) when you start on the A or the D string, you can probably play it up higher on the neck starting on the E or A string instead. If you can't, then you need to figure out another shape that will fit those notes in the space available for you to play it. Then you can move that shape around too.

    You should have at least three different shapes you can use for each arpeggio and that's without getting into inversions of the cord. For instance you can outline a C-chord using an arpeggio starting on C and hitting E G and usually finishing with the octave C afterwards. Now if you need to play an arpeggio in C#, you can use that same shape by just sliding that shape up 1 fret (1/2-step) and then you are performing a C# arpeggio. That's because the relationship between the notes stays the same wherever you use that shape and if you were playing the I, III, V, Octave, arpeggio, anywhere you can fit that shape it will be the arpeggio in the key of the note you use as the root (the I).

    You can also use first inversions of that chord and the first inversion would be E-G-C (starting on the III), the second inversion would be G-C-E (starting on the V). All of those will give you the same chord because they are all the chord tones that outline the chord. However, normally when playing arpeggios, you start with the root (also known as the tonic).

    Now...as soon as you start playing arpeggios and runs that don't start or finish with the root, you venture into the world of modes. And that would just confuse you more at this point, so just be aware they are out there and you can check those out another time.
     
    FatStringer52 likes this.
  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Root and Tonic are not the same thing.
     
    devnulljp, joeeg33 and Mushroo like this.
  19. You’re getting a lot of information thrown your way and much of it should have been saved until you have more experience.

    Bottom line for beginning player:
    A chord is three or more pitches (notes) played together.
    An arpeggio is those same pitches (notes) played one by one.

    For now that should be enough to practice.
     
    Lobster11 and BOOG like this.
  20. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    Go dig around Scott Devine's site



    This is a good intro too:
     
    BOOG likes this.

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