Learning to solo on guitar comes with its challenges. But, there are some tricks you can use to get ahead. Learning arpeggios, for instance, is widely regarded as a surefire way to know you’re going to play the right notes over a chord progression. But, making your arpeggio playing sound like music instead of just an exercise is the tricky part.

In his course, Take 5: Blues Arpeggios, Jeff McErlain gives you the tools to turn your arpeggio playing into sweet sounding blues solos.

Here are 3 free blues arpeggio guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Jeff McErlain’s Take 5: Blues Arpeggios on TrueFire!

Blues Arpeggios Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Overview

Download the tab & notation for this blues arpeggio guitar lesson

So, “How do you learn all of these arpeggios?” you may ask. Well, the answer is patience and diligence. That’s a shock, isn’t it?

First thing, memorize the fingerings I give you in the first section and practice them every day. I’ll also suggest learning how to spell the chords away from of the guitar, writing them on a piece of paper, spelling them while you are driving, etc. In my case, I would do these kinds of things in the subway. Knowing how to spell the chords will come first, as finding those notes on the fingerboard takes more time, so it will be a mixture of fingerings, patterns, and knowing the note names together at first. Eventually, you’ll just know the notes when you play them. The next level after that is hearing the notes and knowing which chord tone you’re playing sonically. That takes even more time!

Blues Arpeggios Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Performance

Download the tab & notation for this blues arpeggio guitar lesson

OK, as we progress, you’ll see how things are starting to get slightly more difficult. This is by design. You’ll see how I’m using a repeated melodic idea on this melody. Repeated melodic ideas are an excellent way to construct solos and create melodies. Solos are melodies; well the best ones are, that is! It’s an excellent exercise to repeat a melodic idea through the changes. Remember, we need to practice things like this slowly and with intent to be able for them to make their way into our playing.

Blues Arpeggios Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Breakdown

Download the tab & notation for this blues arpeggio guitar lesson

Each chord tone has a specific sound to it. The root being the most common, safe, and least colorful I’d say. You probably play the root the most — we all do! The 5th is also not all that colorful, but at least it’s not the root!

Now the 3rd and the 7th are the good stuff. They are the most colorful, and you should really spend a lot of time getting that sound into your head. The third is the brightest and is very distinctive especially in the blues where we use a lot of tweaked thirds and messing with the b3rd. The b7 took me the longest to get used to as it really wants to resolve up that whole stop to the root. It’s a great sound for more color, and Jimi used it quite a bit when playing the blues.

Digging these free blues arpeggio guitar lessons? Check out Jeff McErlain’s Take 5: Blues Arpeggios.