Coordinating Your Arpeggios

If you’re like most other guitarists, the reason you play scales is to practice coordination between the hands. Scales aren’t the only way to practice coordination, and today I’m going to share a way to incorporate coordination work into arpeggio practice. But first, let’s talk about a basic coordination exercise.

1 2 3 4

You’ve probably done this hundreds of times: start on the lowest string, play the first finger, then the second, then the third, fourth, next string with the first, etc. All the while alternating right hand fingers.

1234 Exercise

After you’ve done the basic run through, you probably moved on to different finger combinations: 1324, 1423, etc.

Just Add Arpeggios

Take the above 1 2 3 4 exercise and add it to your arpeggios. Pick a string, and run through the left hand fingers while playing the arpeggio. Check it out:

1234 + pim

After you’ve done the exercise using one string, move to another.

1234 + pim round two

Applying a chromatic line in the left hand can be done with any arpeggio. Try it out.


Four reasons:

  1. The aforementioned coordination issue: this brings an element of coordination to arpeggio practice. This is a good time to practice independence as well. While you’re not playing the string that the left hand is working on, try preparing the left hand early. It’s amazing how many beginers have trouble moving one hand while working with the other, and this offers a great opportunity to practice that!
  2. Why not practice arpeggios in a more realistic situation? These exercises are more similar to pieces than practicing arpeggios on open strings. It’s the same reason we practice the Giuliani Right Hand Exercises.
  3. Using this and similar exercises moves the accent to another string. The string that’s being fretted will pop out to your ear more than the others. This is a great opportunity to work on your evenness and consistency in the arpeggio.
  4. Let’s face it, technique practice can be tedious. Especially if you’ve been doing the same thing for months. Spice it up a bit.

Posted on in Classical Guitar Technique