Reply To: Questions & Answers

Rob Ickes

Hi Y’all,


I received a great question thorough my messages page, so I thought I’d share my answer here.  The question is from ralf wolterhoff

Hi Rob, can you say something about Arpeggios ? I know the Arpeggios over the hole fretboard but I can’t bring it in a musical sense.Best Regards Ralf

Hi Ralf,

Great question, a lot of people ask me how to APPLY arpeggios, scales, etc…which I think is the essence of what you’re saying when you say, “bring it in a musical sense.”

A few thoughts come to my mind-

1-Don’t force it.  I think these things should work there way into your playing naturally. I’ve found that after I’ve worked on a technique for a while, it drops into my playing unexpectedly, and that’s always a great feeling when it happens. Don’t put any pressure on it, it will happen. It’s like the saying, “a watched pot never boils.” Don’t “watch” the arpeggio “pot,” just do the work and let it happen naturally.

2-Practice playing arpeggios over one chord with another musician, or a rhythm track.  This will help bridge the gap between learning and applying (making music) with the new technique.

One thing I really like about arpeggios is they get me to start using the whole fingerboard for one key, not just the root position. Just seeing that and learning about the other positions on the fretboard is a mind-blower and can help you get out of your “box” that you may be stuck in. Check this video out and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m playing all over the fretboard, but it is all key of A.  So now I’m not limited to the 2nd fret when playing in the Key of A.  That is a good thing and gives you a lot of musical freedom!

3-Listen to, and learn some musical examples of what you’re trying to do. When you mentioned arpeggios, I immediately thought of Bill Monroe.  He used them (or pieces of them) a lot in his playing, and some of his most famous licks/ songs are based on them. For example-

Roanoke, Wheel Hoss, The Old Crossroad, The First Whippoorwill intro

Mike Auldridge also did a lot with them, although mainly at one fret position. Here are some examples from his playing-

“Little Rock Getaway” intro-

“It’s Over” intro-

“Greensleeves”on the F and E chords-

LMK if this helps!



  • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Rob Ickes.

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