Chord Tone Fluency

In this lesson I will be showing you a great way to learn your arpeggios and triads all over the neck. This exercise will not only help you master chords and arpeggios, but it will also help you develop melodic solos. The key is to memorize formulas and the notes for each arpeggio, scale and chord. This lesson we will be focusing on 3 note triad type arpeggios and we will start with a few of the common types like major, minor and diminished. This method works with any chord type, so be sure to experiment.

Example 1. Let's begin with a F major triad, which is just (F, A, C) and the formula is just 1, 3, 5. This exercise starts at the 1st position and moves through all the chord tones, which are just F, A, C. You will notice the pattern is a 3 note sequence; up 3 notes, down 1 note, up 3, etc. Practicing this will help you master your triad inversions, create arpeggio shapes across the neck and help you gain chord tone fluency. I'm using alternate picking throughout, but you could also try playing these using sweep picking.

MP3 - Example 1

Example 2. OK, let's do the same thing with minor triads, this is a F minor triad (F, Ab, C) and the formula is 1, b3, 5. Be sure when you practice these exercises you say the notes to yourself, this will help you memorize the neck and it will help you construct your own shapes. You might want to follow the fingerings suggested.

MP3 - Example 2

Example 3. Now let's move to a F diminished (F, Ab, Cb) and the formula is 1, b3, b5. This one has some tricky fingerings in it. I gave you some suggested fingerings you could follow, you could experiment with your own.

MP3 - Example 3


That wraps up the lesson. Be sure to spend time with chord tones all over the neck and do this with all types of chords and arpeggios. Be sure to check out my CDs on this amazing site and visit for more information.

Mike Campese is an all-around music performer, session artist and teacher competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. He has studied at G.I.T. (Honors Graduate), and with Paul Gilbert, Norman Brown, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson and Keith Wyatt.

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