How to Play Jazz Guitar Arpeggios

Welcome to your complete online guide to arpeggios on jazz guitar.

Arpeggios are your best friend. If you are beginning jazz guitar, arpeggios are your easiest and most direct way to navigate chord changes.

jazz-guitar-arpeggiosUse this lesson to:

  • Understand the theory behind arpeggios.
  • Learn the easiest approach to improvising with them.
  • Quickly master the most important ones.
  • Have fun while learning!

I am first and foremost, a Jazz Guitarist, and secondly a Jazz Guitar Teacher. Remember that I don’t TEACH these arpeggios everyday. I USE them everyday. This lessons is my opportunity to share with you some tips and tricks that I wished I had know when I started out.

Before I continue, a definition for you:

Arpeggio = picking a chord one note at a time.

As guitarists, we are at a distinct advantage because we can transpose (move around) arpeggios easily up and down the fretboard. It won’t take you long to have all the main arpeggios under your fingers.

Let’s get started!

Why Should I Learn Arpeggios?

When you play an arpeggio over a chord you play all the important notes of the chord. Arpeggios are you fastest and most effective approach for playing chord changes. It is important to play chord changes because that is what jazz is about. Arpeggios = playing changes = interesting lines = jazz.

Arpeggios = JAZZ.

How To Practice Jazz Guitar Arpeggios

  • Play the arpeggio upwards and downwards freely (not in tempo). Focus on constant down, up, down, up motion in your picking hand.
  • Play them slowly in tempo with a metronome. When you are comfortable, raise the tempo.
  • Sweep trickier arpeggios to impress your friends.
  • Explore single and multi octave arpeggios.
  • Practice them over jazz standards. Set a metronome to a comfortable tempo and as each chord occurs, play the arpeggio.

The Complete Arpeggio Index

Below you will find an extensive index of jazz guitar arpeggios. Have fun!