Lesson 4 – Arpeggios and Basic Chord Theory

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Historical Comment Archive:
  • Anna Baluyot Jun 3, 2022

    Would you confirm that to create an arpeggio from any note in a major scale the distance is: 2 whole steps (or 3 frets between notes 1 and 3), and 1 whole step + a half steps ( or 2 frets between notes 3 and 5)?

    • Brad Bordessa Jun 5, 2022

      Yes. The formula you’ve outlined is correct for creating a MAJOR arpeggio. But it will be different for other chord types.

  • Margie Landis Jun 15, 2022

    You did about as well as anyone to describe the theory behind major chords, without looking at a piano keyboard. Nice job of breaking it down and making it understandable. The visual of a keyboard makes it so much easier.

    • Brad Bordessa Jun 15, 2022

      Mahalo Margie!

  • Kevin Sandgren Sep 11, 2022

    Does the arpeggio need to start on a root note?
    Example picking open GCE would be the C arpeggio?

    • Brad Bordessa Oct 12, 2022

      The arpeggio does not have to start on the root note. However, arpeggios are usually organized exactly like the notes that make up chords. For instance, if you take the lowest note (C) in a CEG root inversion (chord or arpeggio) and move it up an octave, you get EGC, which is now the 1st inversion.

      Here is some more info for piano players, but you should understand the visuals even if you don’t play piano: https://soundtrackwriting.com/what-are-chord-inversions/

      I explain inversions for ukulele more in my Ukulele Chord Shapes book.

  • bob seeley Oct 12, 2022

    Brad, I have hesitated starting the “Intermediate” lessons until I felt that I had comfortably understood, reviewed, and had gained proficiency on each of the “Beginner” lessons. I am glad that I have continued on as I have already been practicing many of the exercises outlined in the “Intermediate” lessons. You have built in helpful review, but continue to push the skill level which is so helpful.

    • Brad Bordessa Oct 12, 2022

      Glad it’s all fitting together, Bob!

  • Wayne Gordon Oct 22, 2022

    So, the first thing that this pattern triggered was:
    O bla di, o bla da, life goes on, ah (0 4 7, 0 4 7, 0 4 7, 12)
    La la la la, life goes on (7, 5, 4, 5, 4, 2, 0)

    and in 4 different keys!

    Fun stuff!

    • Brad Bordessa Oct 22, 2022

      That’s a perfect example! I’ll have to remember that.

    • bob seeley Apr 17, 2023

      Fantastic! It’s great to find such a familiar example of this exercise in something that we all know so well. My brain and heart are both smiling right now.
      Thanks for sharing this discovery.

  • Lyda Den 0s Apr 19, 2023

    That’s a good one, I’ll try it right away…hihi