Triad Arpeggios for Guitar

By: Robb Lotta

In this lesson, I’m going to talk about triad arpeggios and show you a few practical uses that will help you incorporate them into your solos in an easy and efficient way. First, let’s define a triad arpeggio.

Well, quite simply, a triad arpeggio is built from a 3 note chord (triad), which is composed of the Root, 3rd and 5th tones of the scale from which it is derived. For example, in the key of C Major, a C Major triad would contain the following notes:

C         E          G

Root    3rd       5th

I’m going to start by showing you some examples of how to play all the triad arpeggios in the diatonic key of E Major. The triads in E major would be as follows:

E          F#        G#       A         B         C#       D#

G#       A         B         C#       D#       E          F#

B         C#       D#       E          F#        G         A

Here is Ex. 1

Triad Arpeggios

Triad Arpeggios Ex. 1

E          f#         g#       A          B          c          d#dim

I           ii          iii        IV         V          vi         vii0

Pay very close attention to the fingering in these examples. They may seem strange in the beginning due to the wide interval stretches, but they’re written this way for a reason, which I will address in future articles. Also, take note of the shapes in the fingerings, they can help you learn and retain these arpeggios quickly and easily as well.

Triad Shapes

Triad Shapes Major and Minor


O.K. now that we know the basic shapes we can now expand on this basic idea.

This example shows the exact same outline as the first but it extends up to the octave (root) on each triad and then descends back down to the third.

Ex. 2

Triad Arpeggios

Triad Arpeggios Ex. 3

Finally were going to take example 2 and incorporate some tapping into the lick.

Ex. 3

Triad Arpeggios

Triad Arpeggios Ex. 2

Well, I hope you enjoyed this lesson and more importantly were able to get something out of it. Till next time, stay focused on your journey. You can also visit my website for more info.


About the Author

Robb Lotta has toured with Joey Belladonna of Anthrax and is currently touring and recording with national recording artist Fallen Angel. He is also a highly sought after teacher in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y.