The Leads Are Weak

The Leads Are Weak: “Violin-ce,” a New Approach to Arpeggios

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The Leads Are Weak with Job For A Cowboy's Tony Sannicandro

Arpeggios are a staple of any would-be shredder’s arsenal, and of course the most popular and common of those are played using the sweep-picking technique. Fuck all that. Let’s look again at the coolest and most challenging way to play arpeggios in different inversions across the neck.

This technique was re-introduced to me after watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. During the scene with Beethoven blasting away at the music store, Extreme’s “Play with Me” is blasting in the background and Nuno is hammering away at these insane violin-like arpeggios.

This technique is way cooler than sweeping and has the aforementioned violin quality to the sequences. Many solo violin pieces, particularly from the Baroque era, utilize a cool arpeggio style that flows and contours the musical terra.

So here’s a fairly simple and familiar sequence of chords that follow a Baroque-sounding progression; the triplet arpeggio technique is used throughout the exercise. It’s all triplets, so it’s really simple. Picking is shown in the first chunk, and is similar to other string skipping licks that have pull-offs involved.

(click to enlarge)

Now obviously this is an exercise, so it doesn’t make much sense trying to mush this into a song, but the best way to make this work as a riff or as a lick is to simply follow the chords — whatever the progression is — using the arpeggios over the top will always work 100% of the time and make you sound like a boss. It’s also really cool when mixed up with some eccentric scales that you might like, such as Japanese scales, and especially with symmetrical scales like whole tone and diminished. Try taps and slides and other fun right hand techniques for added effect.

This second example is another way to play arpeggios. In this case: a made up type scalar idea with almost all legato technique. Same shit; arpeggios that span three octaves with some wang doodlery in the upper register. My advice is play it very, very slowly and work the technique. The notes don’t matter as much as the technique when it comes to learning this shit. The notes will come later.

Anyway. Saddle up.

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