This month’s exercises will broaden your repertoire of sweep-picked arpeggios. Last month, we learnt sweep arpeggio patterns for two-octave major, seventh and minor chords with the root on the fifth string; this month, we’re going to learn sweep arpeggio patterns for the min7♭5 chord, the first-inversion major chord and the second-inversion major chord – for reasons that will become apparent as you work through the exercises. Once again, it’s important to practise slowly and accurately, making sure only one note sounds at a time. Start practising at around crotchet = 60 and ultimately aim for crotchet = 200.
This ‘m7♭5’ may seem a trifle obscure, but students of theory will recognise this as the chord built on the seventh degree of the major scale. Like last month, this one begins with a hammer-on. There’s no rolling of the fretting-hand fingers, but you need to move the second finger accurately between the fourth and second strings.
Now, using the major arpeggio pattern and the minor arpeggio pattern from Ex. 3 last month, you can play an ‘arpeggio scale’ in the major key by starting each arpeggio at the appropriate fret. All the arpeggios from last month and this month take their name from the note on the fifth string. So, in the key of C the pattern of arpeggios would be C (Ex. 1 from last month, fifth string, third fret), Dm (Ex. 3 from last month, starting on the fifth string, fifth fret), Em (Ex. 3 from last month, starting on the fifth string, seventh fret), F (Ex. 1 from last month, starting on the fifth string, eighth fret), G7 (Ex. 2 from last month, fifth string, 10th fret), Am (Ex. 3 from last month, fifth string, 12th fret), Bm7♭5 (this exercise’s arpeggio, starting on the fifth string, 14th fret) and C (Ex. 1 from last month, starting on the fifth string, 15th fret).
The chord progressions for suggested sweep picking arpeggio practice at the end of last month’s lesson involved some considerable leaps for the fretting hand. One way to avoid jumping all over the fretboard is to introduce inversions – that is, an arpeggio in which the lowest note is not the root of the chord. This C/E arpeggio is a first inversion – it has the major third of the C arpeggio at the bottom of the chord. Again, this arpeggio starts with a hammer-on then involves rolling with both the third and first fingers.
Once you’ve got this under your fingers, practise changing from a sweep-picked E arpeggio (Ex. 1 from last month) to this C/E arpeggio – the two arpeggios share the same lowest note.
This is a second-inversion A arpeggio with the fifth at the bottom. Yet again, it begins with a hammer-on, this one being a bit of a stretch. There’s no rolling for the fretting hand, but the first finger has to move quickly between the third and first strings. Once this is under the fingers, outline an E to A/E progression using the sweep arpeggios already learnt – the two arpeggios share the same lowest note. Then play through a E, C/E, A/E, E progression.