Arpeggios are liquid chords, the notes of a chord played one at a time. They outline the harmony and are very important for people looking at playing jazz, modern blues or any music where there are key changes.
All about arpeggios...
Arpeggios are not of much use for a beginner guitar player so if you have stumbled in here and you're not sure about what they are, then make sure you check out the AR-101 lesson below and get hip to what they are all about and see if you are ready and need to learn them. They are not 'hard' but if you don't know why or how to use them you may just waste a whole lot of time and effort with very little gain.
AR-101 • Arpeggios: Why? How? Which? When?
In this lesson I address many of the common questions about arpeggios and how to learn them. This lesson has had a huge response from people who were never sure about what they were exactly or why people spent time learning them!
Most arpeggios have at least 5 patterns, one for each of the CAGED positions, and in the following lessons I'll go through all five for each of the 4 most important arpeggios, and then two shapes of the Diminished Arpeggio (there are not 5 patterns for it!).
Be aware that you will be far better off learning and memorising 2 patterns of each type (most commonly used are the E and A Shape Patterns) before trying to master all 5. LEARN WHAT YOU WILL USE and don't waste time and energy learning things you don't need yet!
More advanced use of arpeggios
AR-111 • Superimposing Arpeggios
An advanced way of using arpeggios, can sound really cool with a bit of practice! The basic idea being that you play the 'wrong' arpeggio to create 'extended' arpeggios, say playing a C#m7b5 arpeggio over an A7 chord can function as an A9 arpeggio. Scared yet? ;) The reason we don't usually learn 9, 11 and 13 arpeggios is that we can get those sounds by superimposing ones we already know! Awesome.