How to Play a Major Arpeggio on Heavy Metal Guitar

Let musician Alex Skolnick teach you how to play a major arpeggio on guitar in this heavy metal guitar lesson from Howcast.


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Hi, I'd like to talk to you about the major arpeggio. There are major arpeggios in all keys. We're going to be looking at A major. There are variations on the arpeggio, but the basic arpeggio form is just the root, third, and fifth. If we take the root, third, and fifth of the A major scale, we get this. Alright. The scale itself is this. Okay? So listen to how the notes just consist of the root, third, and fifth. That alone is called the triad. If we combine that with the next triad, an octave higher, we get a nice little two octave arpeggio. Okay? I can play this as a sweep, and it sounds like this. Another option is to start this on the 12th fret, the first finger. So now if I play these notes, I finger them like this. And now I can play an A up an octave. So that makes a nice little sweep pattern, for an A major arpeggio. If I put those together I can also play at the 5th fret, and this almost looks like an A major chord. It makes a nice sweep. If I put all of those together. One more option is to start this one from here, the 7th fret. So you have these all over the neck, but this is a good place to start for learning the A major arpeggio. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson.


  • Alex Skolnick

    Alex Skolnick is one of the most diverse guitarists of his generation. Best known for the thrash metal band Testament (which he joined at 16), he has performed with Ozzy Osbourne, ranked high in guitar magazine polls, achieved a BFA in music from New School University and gone on to make a mark in jazz (Alex Skolnick Trio), acoustic world music (Rodrigo Y Gabriela), symphonic rock (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and much more. Alex pens the popular blog Skolnotes on his website,