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Thread: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use the

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    Registered User Pasha Alden's Avatar
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    Default Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use the

    Hi all mandolin players
    A query: any tips on mastering the playing of arpeggios? I know in themselves they are part of an exercise for the fingers and the notes on the fret board. However, I believe they can be put to good use in music in various forms? That is not merely as an exercise for the fingers. Any thoughts?
    With thanks

    Vanillamandolin
    Happy playing and let the music take you!

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    I'd love to hear the answer to this as well, VM!
    John
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    Registered User Don Julin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Funny You asked this question today. I just started working on the follow-up book to the very popular "Mandolin For Dummies". The publisher (Wiley & Sons) feel that sales are strong enough in the first 6 months to warrant a second, more technical book entitled "Mandolin Exercises For Dummies". This book will be loaded full of scales and arpeggios in a variety of forms and positions. There will be a section that includes 10 tunes that put scales and arpeggios to use so you can see them in action.

    In the same way that knowing the scale (key) makes learning a piece of music easier, knowing the arpeggios of the chords in a song enable you to come up with melodies, harmonies, fills, licks, double stops, etc. that match the chord progression to any given song. Think of the arpeggios as harmonic possibilities based on the chords more than the scale.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    I also have an arpeggio book in the works - demonstrating how to connect arpeggios musically, so they're not just an exercise for the fingers. More on that soon!

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Hi Don
    Many thanks. I really hope it is possible for me to purchase your books here in SA. I know that sometimes the transfer of funds poses a problem. Also my thanks for the advice on the thinking around arpeggios. I guess as I was playing g major D major, a major a7 and g7 I was considering them even serving as partial background playing, while making some welcome changes to the melody. Have even played these two g major and g7 one way and another. They certainly seem to produce an interesting and different effect on the song being played. Even experimented with different speed to play these, also different rhythms? I hope that is acceptable playing practice.
    Thanks again.

    Best regards

    Vanillamandolin - and John I hope we get interisting answers to my question though Don has certainly got me thinking.
    Incidentally to the two replies to my post: could not help but notice that Don and John rhyme well!

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Julin View Post
    Funny You asked this question today. I just started working on the follow-up book to the very popular "Mandolin For Dummies". The publisher (Wiley & Sons) feel that sales are strong enough in the first 6 months to warrant a second, more technical book entitled "Mandolin Exercises For Dummies". This book will be loaded full of scales and arpeggios in a variety of forms and positions. There will be a section that includes 10 tunes that put scales and arpeggios to use so you can see them in action.

    In the same way that knowing the scale (key) makes learning a piece of music easier, knowing the arpeggios of the chords in a song enable you to come up with melodies, harmonies, fills, licks, double stops, etc. that match the chord progression to any given song. Think of the arpeggios as harmonic possibilities based on the chords more than the scale.
    That's awesome Don. When do you think the target release date will be? I look forward to seeing you in July!
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by August Watters View Post
    I also have an arpeggio book in the works - demonstrating how to connect arpeggios musically, so they're not just an exercise for the fingers. More on that soon!
    Excellent! This sounds great. Please keep us posted on the book progress.
    "Money is a complication man created that the universe doesn't care about."

    Amateurs practice until they can play it right.
    Professionals practice until they can't play it wrong.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Mike Marshall has a arpeggio-centered Homespun course that was useful to me at the stage I was at when it came out.

    I am very interested in what August and Don will be putting out, though what my mandolin instructor is teaching me now might make their books less relevant for me.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Arpeggios are so darn fun. Just a rip. Seriously. Throwing in simple but unexpected arpeggios is a blast.
    Indulge responsibly!

    The entire staff
    funny....

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Here are some exercises per Tim o'Brien;
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vannillamandolin View Post
    Hi all mandolin players
    A query: any tips on mastering the playing of arpeggios?
    Sorry, hate to be a smart @$$ but the answer is practice regularly. It always helps with scales and arpeggios to do much more than play them straight up and down. After you can do that, learn as many patterns as you can. An example is:

    1 3 5 1
    3 5 1 3
    5 1 3 5

    You can make up many. Violin books are full of these things. I bet Dons' and Augusts' books will be good sources of these as well.

    Now the magic is how to take these and make music... I don't think there is anything better than transcribing solos from you're favorite player and see how THEY do it. Look at hornpipes as examples of how tunes use these. Thousand Fiddle Tunes is a great source of hornpipes (plus they are HUGE fun to play!!).
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vannillamandolin View Post
    Hi Don
    Many thanks. I really hope it is possible for me to purchase your books here in SA. I know that sometimes the transfer of funds poses a problem. Also my thanks for the advice on the thinking around arpeggios. I guess as I was playing g major D major, a major a7 and g7 I was considering them even serving as partial background playing, while making some welcome changes to the melody. Have even played these two g major and g7 one way and another. They certainly seem to produce an interesting and different effect on the song being played. Even experimented with different speed to play these, also different rhythms? I hope that is acceptable playing practice.
    Thanks again.

    Best regards

    Vanillamandolin - and John I hope we get interisting answers to my question though Don has certainly got me thinking.
    Incidentally to the two replies to my post: could not help but notice that Don and John rhyme well!

    VM - It's EASY to tell us apart! Don is the talented one! - John
    John
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    String-Bending Heretic mandocrucian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Pattern-ization is a big tool for acquiring melodic playing. Classical players would called this motif development.

    Any "pattern" that you do with scales can be applied to arpeggios, or any set of notes for that matter. (Your chosen pitches are equivalent to a number set)

    simple ascending scale pattern. (pitch set = DEF#GABC#D)
    Can be done in either 4/4 (884 884) or 6/8 (888 888):
    DEF# EF#G F#GA GAB ABC# BC#d C#de d
    (or 123 234 345 456 567 678(1) 782 8

    this same ascending idea be applied to the note set of an arpeggio (pitch set = DF#AD)
    i.e. DF#A F#Ad Adf# df#a
    (135 358 583 135)

    Any phrase pulled from a tune can be used as your pattern....say the first phrase of "Harvest Home" or "Soldier's Joy" (for arpeggios)

    You can play the phrase (pattern) where it lies, then move it up and do at the next chord tone, and the the next - basically playing a harmony for the initial phrase. Or you can move the pattern up to the neck scale degree of the key you're in., as a D lick, than as an Em lick, then an F#m lick etc.

    Maybe you need to write these down on paper as exercises to keep track of them, until you can mentally juggle them around. Also, play them ascending, descending, reverse the order of the note sequence of the "pattern" for new patterns (like Pete's example)

    As Pete says, hornpipes are abundant in the use of arpeggio phrases, as are polkas. All major arpeggios that you practice should also be practiced as minors as well. Also any patterns can be extended with added tones - 7ths 9ths, etc. (D F# A C = D7).

    Lots of this stuff in violin methods - go to Sevcik: Technic for Violin for a ton of them. The Jerry Coker classic manual Patterns For Jazz also has plenty and will give you a different way of looking at this.

    Niles H

    I do a lot of scales/arpeggios/lick patternization etc. as technical exercises since it seems I still have acquire flute chops via practice (as attempts to swap my mando skills at the crossroads at midnight did not yield any results)

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by mandocrucian View Post
    Lots of this stuff in violin methods - go to Sevcik: Technic for Violin for a ton of them.
    Sevcik can be downloaded here.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Hello all of you Niles, Jim, Don, John, Pete, Mike Bunting, JeffD what a helpful response. I am certainly on the right track with arpeggios then. Practiced different rhythms and patterns last night. They ar such fun! Don - I have a friend in the UK who ordered your book I think or is looking into doing that for me. She is coming to SA later and naturally I will reimburse her when she is here. I look forward to have your book. Of course that is your first book. As soon as I hear when the next is arriving I will try and ask her to get me that as well and do the reimbusing part again. Happy playing and thanks for the helpful response VM By the way as for Don and John - I like the rhyming part.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    The more I play arpeggios, the more aware I am of the box patterns of the scales. I guess that is the purpose of the arpeggio writers? Other way I think of it is: "The notes in an arpeggio are like the facts of a Scientific theory." If you hit on a wrong note, it bonks your eardrum, and lets you know that particular note fits in a different scale. Or: "The notes of an arpeggio are like the words of a language(which music is) and when you hit the wrong word you know it is foreign. Anyway, thanks to the arpeggio studies I now recognize the scale by the note pattern, and can add other notes up the neck to the arpeggio that I know by the box pattern. Aother tool in the musical tool box. A fun exercise I like is to double stop the arpeggio, then to play a simply familiar melody with double stops.
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Go to the MP3 section here on the forum and listen to Don Julin's and Billy Strings' Kickin' Mule. It is full of arpeggios. E.g. most of the B part is a nice G major arpeggio. You can find this in the Dummies book.

    Rethinking what Joe Carr writes about the Monroe style in 'Play like a Legend' it appears to be arpeggios to me: quite often Bill Monroe used to play the chord notes twice (or more) but leaving out the passing tones in his solos.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    My kids are getting into playing jazz, so I decided I had better learn all of my diatonic triads and sevenths as both chords and arpeggios. Once you get going on it, it gets easier, because you begin to see how each new arpeggio you learn is just a variation of one you know.

    There is a classic jazz voice-leading exercise that can help you to understand your arpeggios inside and out, and learn to use them musically. To start, you take a typical chord pair, like G-C or Dm7-G7. You play up and down each arpeggio for a set number of measures. When you get to the first beat of the new chord, you play the closest note from that arpeggio, in the direction that you moving. In other words, the last note you play in the G chord is followed by the closest available note in the C chord. Of course if you reach the top or the bottom of a pattern, the next note will be in the opposite direction. You want to do this so that the chord changes are always happening in different parts of the arpeggios, so you are not just repeating a static pattern. You could do this by adding an extra measure to one chord, or by repeating a note in the pattern.

    This can be pretty difficult at first. If you want to just jump in, one method you might try is to chose a tune and make fretboard charts for the arpeggios that correspond to each chord. Then practice each pair with the help of the charts until you can do it without charts. Go as slowly as you need to. Focus on playing in just one position at first. When you get each pair down, do the same with 3, 4, 5, etc. chords, until you can play through the whole tune in this way.
    Last edited by JonZ; May-06-2013 at 9:37pm.
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    Registered User John Gardinsky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Take an interesting chord progression and apply your arpeggios. For example you might try descending arpeggios over the common Am to G to F to E7 progression. Try it with other common chord progressions you encounter as well. You'll be surprised at how musical it sounds.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Thanks to you all. I am sadly so, away from my mandolin, though I did put some of what you said to use in my practice session last night. Away for work travels but hope to be back home soon and then I am going to drive the world crazy with arpeggios. Just playing the first (root) third and fifth I am already playing the back ground and working some chords to a beautiful Afrikaans poem by one of the most prolific writers in Afrikaans. It is about a fellow who is playing his stringed instrument and even though there is only one string he plays happily and resolutely. His audience? the moon and the stars.
    Many thanks to you all!
    Happy playing and let the music take you!

    Playing:
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    Crafter M70E acoustic mandolin
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    Registered User rb3868's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Julin View Post
    Funny You asked this question today. I just started working on the follow-up book to the very popular "Mandolin For Dummies". The publisher (Wiley & Sons) feel that sales are strong enough in the first 6 months to warrant a second, more technical book entitled "Mandolin Exercises For Dummies". This book will be loaded full of scales and arpeggios in a variety of forms and positions. There will be a section that includes 10 tunes that put scales and arpeggios to use so you can see them in action.

    In the same way that knowing the scale (key) makes learning a piece of music easier, knowing the arpeggios of the chords in a song enable you to come up with melodies, harmonies, fills, licks, double stops, etc. that match the chord progression to any given song. Think of the arpeggios as harmonic possibilities based on the chords more than the scale.
    Any chance that could be done as a spiral-bound edition???

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    Gilchrist (pick) Owner! jasona's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vannillamandolin View Post
    Thanks to you all. I am sadly so, away from my mandolin, though I did put some of what you said to use in my practice session last night. Away for work travels but hope to be back home soon and then I am going to drive the world crazy with arpeggios. Just playing the first (root) third and fifth I am already playing the back ground and working some chords to a beautiful Afrikaans poem by one of the most prolific writers in Afrikaans. It is about a fellow who is playing his stringed instrument and even though there is only one string he plays happily and resolutely. His audience? the moon and the stars.
    Many thanks to you all!
    Happy playing and let the music take you!
    I hear you. I have basically been away from my mandolin for 4 out of 5 weeks due to work related travel that is not amenable to mandolin companionship So I am working on music theory.
    Jason Anderson

    "...while a great mandolin is a wonderful treat, I would venture to say that there is always more each of us can do with the tools we have available at hand. The biggest limiting factors belong to us not the instruments." Paul Glasse

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    Registered User Don Julin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Any chance that could be done as a spiral-bound edition???
    As much as I would like to see that, I don't think there is any chance. What you need to understand is that Wiley & Sons is one of the biggest book publishers in the entire world. Trying to get a company that size to make a custom product is the equivalent to asking Ford or Honda to make your car with special fabric for the seats. The good news is that it only costs about $5 to have a spiral binding put on a book. Many people including myself have taken "Mandolin For Dummies" to a Staples or Office Max to have this done.

    Thanks again to everyone that has purchased "Mandolin For Dummies". I will periodically post updates on the production of "Mandolin Exercises For Dummies". At this point it is scheduled for release sometime in 2014. Now I need to get back to "All 12 Melodic Minor Scales In Open Position".

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Many of you are already doing this, but this little invented exercise may help some. Take a basic arpeggio...say a "D"...and anchor the two finger d chord at the 4th fret (d string) and 5th fret(a string). You know from the arpeggio the chord notes are F#, A, D, or F#AD. Now find all the F#,A, and D notes on the G string. Those are double stops when played with your anchor chord or either of your anchor notes. Find all the F#AD notes that are on the other three strings below the seventh fret. Play around with the combinations( two, three, or four finger chords). I know there are 12 (at least) double stops in the lower 7 frets(8 just from the root two finger chord), then move up the neck to find many more. Now, before you get carried away with the fun, try the G arpeggio and when you get time try all seven majors. Then......well you get the picture, go to the minor. I have more fun with double stops than most anything else, as they fill a melody, and soon you will be invited to play with Roland White.
    I have the world in a jug, and the stopper in my hand.

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    Default Re: Arpeggios - tips and tricks to play these well and how to use

    Hi Pefjr, Jasona and others. back with my mandolin. Did my Afrikaans poem this morning playingLouis Leipoldt's poem "op my ou ramkiekie" that is the poem I mentioned before to which someone wrote the most exquisite melody.
    Truly missed my mandolin. Thanks guys I am saving all these tricks on arpeggios to a separate file and will now make work of them!
    Happy playing and healing with mandolins! Let the music take you!

    VM

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