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In this article I want to introduce sweep pickers and people who are new to tapping to maybe a different way of playing quick, smooth arpeggios on the guitar. If practiced slowly and relaxed, these patterns will sound extremely fluid when played up to speed, very melodic if played slowly, and once you get your fingers around them, you can develop all sorts of cool sequences.

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I call it the 2 and 1 concept because we use 2 fingers in the left (fretting) hand and 1 finger in the right (tapping) to play 3 notes on each string. First of all we need to isolate each hand.

First practice the left hand portion of each position, these are the circle markers on the neck diagram, practice playing up and down this shape using hammer ons and pull offs only. This shape itself is a very cool, modern, and useful way of looking at arpeggios, players such as Ritchie Kotzen and Greg Howe use patterns like this a lot in there improvisation. Aim to keep the notes smooth and connected, keeping string noise to a minimum with proper left and right hand muting. Once this hand of the pattern is comfortable, we can now add the tapped notes (the triangle markers)

Once we have a comfortable grasp on these arpeggio types, it is very easy to create new and interesting arpeggios by simply moving the tapping hand about, or adjusting a few notes in the left hand.

It doesn’t have to stop at just two notes in the left hand, or one note in the right hand, we can add all sorts of cool variations. Such as adding in two finger tapping, or slides within the tapping. Or adding more notes in the left hand to create an even smoother legato effect.

Part 2 Muting and Hammer Ons

Have fun with these ideas, start slowly, experiment, and most importantly have fun! You can hear some of these ideas on my band’s new E.P “Mask of Judas Axis” which is due very soon! For more of my guitar lessons here at Your Guitar Tutor click here.

Sam Bell



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