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Mike Olekshy
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 09/21/10
Posts: 971

Hey Moe! Thanks for jumping on YT last night - appreciate it!

Your questions are all very good ones! When it comes to arpeggiation, there really is no set standard or way to go about it. It really comes down to coming up with a picking pattern that is appropriate for what you are trying to do musically.

There are a number of factors that will determine what arpeggiation pattern makes sense - number of notes in the chord (eg triads as you mentioned), the time signature, and when the chord changes happen - just for a few examples.

But the variations are truly endless. In the example I used on the YT session last night, I arpeggiated the first few chords with a steady stream of 16th notes. But what if you'd like to make the root note ring out for a full eighth note, then pick other notes in the chord with 16ths? That's another common variation - but you have to adjust which notes in the chord to pick in order to make it work out timing-wise.

Check out Anders' tutorial on this from the Rock Course for more detail:

Thank you for your questions - you've given me the idea to do the entire next Friday YT session on Chord Arpeggiation, so be sure to tune in for that. If you can't make it, don't worry, these YT live sessions stay on the GT YT channel so you can watch them anytime afterwards.


Originally Posted by: mjgodin

Hi Mike, don't think we had the pleasure to chat before.

I caught the tail end of your Youtube lesson last night. Was watching from a smart TV so hard to input or log on. Anyway, you were demonstrating arpeggiating chords and I've started to get more into that. I've learned bits and pieces from all the instructors. You, Anders, Lisa and Chris from various songs and lessons taught and the directional picking is coming along just nicely. I got the concept of picking in the direction of the notes your about to play as you go up and down the fingerboard.

However, my question is what determines the picking order and the number of notes played within the measure? For instance the pattern you showed last night, if I'm not mistaken is the same for the intro to "Freebird". Is that some sort of standard pattern because when I play "First cut is the deepest" it's different as there are not as many notes within the measure and the D string gets skipped on two of the chords.

Reason I ask is I'm trying to arpeggiate other songs which are typically strummed and I'm not sure how to go about it. Also how do you deal with Triads? If there is only three notes played I imagine it's a repeating pattern, but again what notes would be repeated and how many times do you repeat it. Hope I'm explaining this correctly.

I don't usually play my guitar at night as I'm usually winding down in the evenings, but that lesson inspired me to pick up my guitar at an odd time for me so good job there.