Chances are 9 out of 10 (if not 10 out of 10) of your favorite guitar tunes have arpeggios in them. So what is an arpeggio? Simple. An arpeggio is chord notes played in succession instead of simultaneously. So if someone says to arpeggiate an Am chord what they mean is play it one note at a time, instead of strumming all the notes at once. Here is an example:
Using arpeggios in your solo is a great way to create interesting melodies and outline the chord changes you are playing over. A great way to do this is to use the arpeggio of the chords you are playing over to help indicate the chord changes and great nice melodies on guitar. Here is an example of using the arpeggios of the chord you are soloing over:
Having an arsenal of arpeggios at your fingertips will greatly improve your soloing technique and help you become a better player. Here are two great exercises to practice to help you learn arpeggios and improve your speed and technique. The trick to this exercise is to make sure you say the same of each arpeggio as you play it so you really learn their names. Also make you are alternate picking and using a metronome! And lastly, make sure you are not going too fast for yourself. Always start slow.
The first exercise is to go through the C major scale and arpeggiate all the triad of the C major scale. First we will go up the strings in one position, then we will stay on the same strings and go up the neck:
Now see if you can play the same thing but play 7th chord arpeggios. If you don’t remember how to make a 7th chord see the lesson on building 7th chords. If you go up the neck in a similar way as this you will need to use three strings to play the 7th note. I’ll get you started by showing you the Cmaj7 arpeggio:
See if you can figure out the rest ony your own going up the neck and starting each arpeggio from the A string. If you have questions post them to the comments!
After you master this in C you should play it in all other keys. That way you will know all the standard arpeggios in all keys and you will be able to apply them all to your guitar lines. Good luck!