Approach #1: Extend Standard Triad Arpeggios
Do not limit yourself to playing only standard major/minor/diminished triad arpeggios.
...add other notes to the triad to create cool extended sweep picking shapes.
This is a very simple way to make your arpeggio playing sound more exotic and interesting.
Watch the video below to learn how to do this:
Whatch the second part of this sweep picking video (for free) to learn even cooler sweep picking shapes to add to your guitar playing style.
Approach #2: Integrate & Combine Arpeggios With Other Guitar Techniques
killer arpeggio guitar licks
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You can combine arpeggios with hammer ons and pull offs, 2-hand tapping, string skipping, legato and any other guitar technique.
Here is an example of a major 7th arpeggio that was created by adding notes to a major triad arpeggio with hammer ons, pull offs and 2-hand tapping:
To learn more cool sweep picking shapes like this, watch this video about arpeggio guitar licks.
Approach #3: Connect Shapes (Inversions) Of The Same Arpeggio All Over The Guitar Fretboard
When you learn any new arpeggio on guitar, practice playing it all over the fretboard, connecting all shapes of the arpeggio together. This will not only make you more free to use the arpeggio creatively, but also will be a great exercise for building your guitar technique.
Here is an example of this, showing an A minor arpeggio played all over the fretboard, connecting several shapes (inversions) together:
On top of increasing your creativity with arpeggios and improving your guitar technique, connecting arpeggio shapes together will develop your fretboard visualization skills. This will greatly improve your general creativity as an improviser and songwriter and help you remember new music more quickly and easily.
Note: Fretboard visualization is a specific skill that can be practiced and improved, just like any other area of your guitar playing. To maximize your progress with this skill, you should be consistently tracking your progress with it. Check out this tool for tracking your guitar playing progress to learn how to do this effectively.
Approach #4: Superimpose Arpeggios Over Different Chords:
On top of varying how arpeggios are played, you should practice changing when arpeggios are applied. The easiest way to play any arpeggio is over a chord with the exact same notes (e.g. an A minor arpeggio played over an A minor chord). In addition to this, you can also play the same A minor arpeggio over other chords, such as F major, C major, D minor, E minor (among others) to imply very cool extended chords.
Here is an example of how to do this, comparing 2 chords: A minor and F major.
The A minor arpeggio (or chord) has these three notes: A, C and E. The F major chord contains notes: F, A, C. Notice that 2 of these notes (A and C) are the same to both chords. So when you play an A minor arpeggio over an F major chord, you’re basically playing two common notes (A and C) plus one more note (E). The result your ears hear is an F major 7th chord (consisting of notes F A C E).
So simply changing when the arpeggio is applied (over what chords) will make any sweep picking lick sound totally different, depending on what chord is played under it.
Here is an audio example of an A minor arpeggio played over the chords: A minor, F major, C major, D minor, E minor.
Begin applying these concepts to your guitar playing and you will open up a treasure chest of creativity for using sweep picking in your guitar licks and solos. To learn even more about mastering sweep picking, watch this free video about playing arpeggios on guitar.