Integrating Major & Diminished Arpeggios

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Yesterday I gave you some ideas on how you can integrate sweep picking with economy picking. Today let's look at the Major and Diminished shapes. But before we begin let's repeat the "integration recipe" that I talked about yesterday, here it is again:

1. Come up with a simple lick that uses sweep picking and another picking technique

2. Repeat that lick until it's easy

3. Come up with another lick and repeat the process

New playmates

This process of integration is something I practice daily. Over time, you develop some licks and runs that are really comfortable to play - these become your home base, - the place you like to go when you pick up your instrument. Integration is really the process of expanding that home base. It's like inviting new playmates in and giving them a fair chance to become part of the group. As you play, you stay with the home base, while being consciously aware of using some other element that aren't that comfortable to play yet.

Going up the neck

You might take the diminished shapes and play them over the Harmonic Minor, and then go through each shape up the neck and practice going in and out  of that shape, from the diminished triad into the scale and out again. You stay in one scale shape while you repeat the 3 steps in the integration process until you really feel you master that place on the neck. Then you move on and have some more fun. Focus on playing the stuff you already know, while mixing it with the stuff you don't know yet. You don't just want to learn sweep picking, you want to master it, and you only master it when you use it all the time.

"When I'm on stage the savage in me is released. It's like going back to being a cave man. It takes me six hours to come down after a show"

Angus Young

Fooling around is the key

As always it's a very, very effective idea to decide on one type of arpeggio and the practice going in and out of that for a predetermined period of time. You might decide to play only Major arpeggios and integrate those for an entire month - to make sure that you really master those before moving on. I always have a "topic" of the week. Something I practice every time I pick up the guitar. This process of Integration looks a lot like "fooling around" on the guitar, it's fun and relaxing to just play what ever you like.

C-Major Arpeggio - Sweeping and Legato

This is a very useful way to end any arpeggio with some legato playing. Practice going from the legato technique into other licks and runs you know.

The extra element

But when you're adding that little extra element, It becomes a lot more fun because you're growing and figuring out new stuff while you "fool around". Also: this is how you develop your unique style. In this process you develop your own preferences of what you like to play. You create little licks of your own all the time, and these licks become part of your own unique vocabulary. If you follow this process of integrating sweep picking with your other picking techniques and you plan your weeks and months in advance.  (Which is only a decision of what to focus on) sweep picking will become a natural part of what you do, instead of a gimmick that you pull out of your hat.

"If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards"

Joe Pass

Create miracles

At some point you have to move from playing licks to just playing. Licks are examples of what is possible but no more than that. You should take each lick, learn it and go "What else can I do with this idea?" Then come up with a variation on the same idea, practice that until it's easy, then come up with another variation and so on. When you do this enough, you create the power to improvise intelligently. You develop so many "roads" that your fingers can take at any given moment and this gives you unbelievable freedom, it's more fun and it's what every ambitious guitarist is dreaming of being able to do. The process of integration can work miracles for you if you use it every day.

A-Minor & B-Diminished Arpeggio Example

In this example I use two arpeggios together. I made a mistake in the video! The slow version is different from the fast version, so I created a tablature that showed them both. For some reason playing chromatic runs fits very well within the sound of the diminished triad. How can you use that little idea in other places?