Superimposing Major Arpeggios

Hello everyone! In this lesson I will show you ways to superimpose major arpeggios over different chord types. An example of this would be using triad arpeggios over one another to create a more complex harmony. We will stick to major and minor chords for this lesson. I touched on this subject on a previous triad lesson, but now we will focus just on using major arpeggios to create extensions, like the (b5), (#5), (9th), (11th) and the (13th). Also, try to experiment with some rhythm ideas, by just playing triads in a chordal fashion instead of arpeggiating them. If you really want to add some spice to your playing, I suggest you try some of these.

Example 1 is a line based entirely off 2 arpeggios A (A, C#, E) and (B, D#, F#) over an A chord. By playing a major chord up a whole step you will get a Lydian sound, because of the D# (#11) from the B triad. I use sweep picking for the first 3 arpeggios and alternate picking for the rest.

MP3 - Example 1

The line in Example 2 is also based off of 2 triads Dm (D, F, A) and E (E, G#, B). Playing a major triad or arpeggio up a whole step will give you the (b5), (9) and the (13th). This one sounds pretty interesting; I alternate pick this whole line.

MP3 - Example 2

Example 3 is a line from the key of Em, it is based off of the notes of a Em (E, G, B) arpeggio and a D major arpeggio (D, F#, A). Playing a major triad down a whole step from a minor chord will give you the (b7), (9) and (11th) extensions. Also, it uses a variety of 5th intervals and jumps around the neck. Be sure to use alternate picking.

MP3 - Example 3

Our final G major line in Example 4 moves across the neck very quickly, fusing G major (G, B, D), C major (C, E, G) and D major (D, F#, A) arpeggios. It contains the relative minors and diminished arpeggios - they are all related to the G major scale, except the added D#, which makes a great resolution to the G. Whenever you are playing over a major chord you can play 3 major triads over the root, up a 4th and up a 5th. For example, over an A chord the arpeggios will be A, D, E. This will give you the (7), (9), (11), and (13). Also, try to alternate pick this whole example.

MP3 - Example 4


That wraps up our lesson, try to incorporate some of these ideas into your playing and make up your own lines. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Be sure to check out my CDs on this amazing site and check out my new CD release, "Hidden Treasures". Also 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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