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Practice Journal: A7 Arpeggio Exercise

Here’s a good arpeggio exercise for warming up. It’s based on an A7 chord, and takes you from one end of the neck to the other, through all five CAGED forms. I devised it as a drill to help develop my ability to shift positions during arpeggios. If you can shift a single harmony through multiple fingering forms, then you’ll be well prepared to tackle multiple harmonies in a progression. More on this later. For now, here is the exercise:

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I added picking and slurring marks to reflect my own preferences; feel free to use your own articulations. All consecutive downstrokes or upstrokes are to be swept.

Bonus points for adapting this to other chords: Am7, Amin/maj7, A+7, Adim7, Am7b5, and so on.

Note that the pattern does not remain consistent. For example, the reach to the 17th fret at the end of bar 3 is an extension of the a-form, whereas no previously employed fingering form was extended on the first string. Also, I chose to end with a scalar flourish, rather than an abrupt interruption of the arpeggio pattern. I was more interested in musicality than consistency. That’s an important takeaway: When devising your own exercises, there is nothing wrong with using a pattern as a mere basis for something more varied. It’s always better to practice something you would perform.

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