A Right Hand Arpeggio Routine

When I wrote Fun with p i m, it was something I was experimenting with. My arpeggio technique practice is usually the arpeggios from the first three groups of studies in Giuliani 120+ done using Slow/Fast Alternation. (Yes, I do the things I write about!)

The past few weeks, however, I’ve been changing it up; I’ve been starting with different finger on each arpeggio (still using slow/fast alternation). This is an effort to challenge my fingers a bit more and keep things interesting.

The Schedule

Day 1:
p i m, p m i, p i a, p a i, p m a, p a m
i m p, m p i
m i p, i p m
i a p, a p i
a i p, i p a
m a p, a p m
a m p, m p a

Day 2:
p i m i, p m i m, p i a i, p m a m, p a m a
i m i p, m i p i, i p i m
m i m p, i m p m, m p m i
i a i p, a i p i, i p i a
a i a p, i a p a, a p a i
m a m p, a m p m, m p m a
a m a p, m a p a, a p a m

Day 3:
p i m a, p m a i, p i a m, p a m i, p a i m, p m i a
i m a p, m a p i, a p i m
m a i p, a i p m, i p m a
i a m p, a m p i, m p i a
a m i p, m i p a, i p a m
a i m p, i m p a, m p a i (cross string trill patterns)
m i a p, i a p m, a p m i

Day 4: repeat day 1
Day 5: repeat day 2
Day 6: repeat day 3
Day 7: OFF

The function of reordering the fingers is to shift the accent around. The challenge, really, is to keep the accent on the first finger, but still use the Sympathetic Motion developed by doing arpeggios starting with the thumb.

A Note About Time

At first it takes a while to do these exercises. The first week, for me, it took about thirty minutes for each day. After the patterns are better assimilated it will take less time. If it takes you a while to get right hand patterns down, consider working on just a few of the patterns at first. Build up to doing the entire routine.

The other side of time is tempo. I do not use a metronome in technique practice often. These exercises can be practice with or with out a metronome, but I do recommend slow/fast alternation as soon as the patterns are assimilated.

A Few Notes

If you’re a beginning guitarist, this routine is not for you. See Technical Exercises for the Absolute Beginner, or work with simpler arpeggio forms like p i m, p i m i, p m i, and p m i m.

If you’re confused about all these letters, check out How to Read Classical Guitar Music.

Posted on in Classical Guitar Technique


  • Lino Iglesias
    Lino Iglesias

    I’m using Carlevaro’s notebook 2 for right hand development. It is a great resource.

  • Alex Rogowski

    For those of you who tire of the repetitive C major and G seventh in the Giuliani studies, go to my warmups page and scroll down to “Vamps” where you’ll find a collection of 36 two chord progressions which are a suitable for the right hand studies.

  • danny

    very much interested to learn new arpeggio paterns