How to Play Two String Arpeggio Riffs on Guitar

This is a very cool technique and will serve two big purposes:

  1. Give you a new songwriting tool
  2. Help fix up what is (probably) a weak area of your playing.

What we are looking at with this lesson is creating riffs using arpeggios based on two strings. Let’s quickly recap the intervals in the arpeggios that we are going to be using today:

Major: 1 3 5

Minor: 1 b3 5

Dimnished: 1 b3 b5

So what we want to do with this idea is map these arpeggios onto two of the bass strings. We’ll put them on the D and A strings:

two string arpeggios
Two string arpeggios

And in tab, they look like this:

Two string arpeggios in tab
Two string arpeggios in tab

Pretty easy so far! Have a go at playing them and get them under your fingers before moving onto the next section.

Got that? Cool!

So what do we do next? Now we want to write a short chord progression and play it using these arpeggio ideas. As an example, let’s use:

E-        | F∆      | F#dim | G∆   G#dim

And by tabbing it out with some repetitions, we get:

figure 2

I recorded the riff so that you can hear it. Listen here: