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Rusty Cash >> Brian Setzer Style >>
Lesson Subject: Brian Setzer Style
What you learn: Lesson 3
Teacher: Rusty Cash

In this lesson I would like to talk a little about arpeggios. We'll use this idea again in next lessons, but we need to build a foundation and understand how we can use them in a lead like Brian Setzer. A good song to listen to is Brian's version of "Sleepwalk". Any ballad is a great place to use arpeggios. We will not cover "sweeping arpeggios", typical of a metal player. Although it's cool and fun to play, we want to spend more time emphasizing the outside tones like major and dominant 7ths, 9's etc. This will move us more into the jazz and swing sound that is typical of that song "Sleepwalk". Next lesson we'll look at a tune similar to that song where we can apply what we learn in this lesson.

Rusty: There is no lesson example for this lesson. Most of what you learn will be exercises. Although, I will give you jam tracks for each exercise. First, what is an arpeggio? I think it's easier to look at a chord and an arpeggio together.

Rusty: If we were to play a C Maj 7 (scale tones 1, 3, 5, 7) as a chord we would strum all the notes at once. As an arpeggio we would play each note separately. For our lesson we want to also follow the sequence (1,3,5,7). Later we will mix the sequence up a little but for now we want to follow the scale tones as if we were "connecting the dots".  We will also follow a pattern using thirds. The interval from the first note (1) to the third note (3) is a major or minor third. The same happens for the interval between (3) and (5), and so on.

Rusty: Let's look at the Key of C. If you have trouble understanding the charts, scroll down to the bottom where I've put up some images to better explain them.

Notes in C Major

Rusty: This shows the scale tones for C major. We will use these notes to make all of our arpeggios. All the arpeggios we will look at will start with the root note on the sixth string. Let's also look at the major scale from that position.

Rusty: If we were playing over a C chord we could choose between several different things to play. One of the easiest ways to play something that has a jazz taste to it would be to play the Major 7 arpeggio, C Maj 7. Regardless of what's going on in the rhythm, by playing the arpeggio we're implying that the C chord is a major 7.

C Major 7 Tones

Rusty: To find the notes of that arpeggio we start with our root and skip a third until we get to the 7th and then start the octave over. Giving us a Cmaj7 arpeggio. The grayed out notes in the jpegs are the tones we are skipping. They are all intervals of thirds (major or minor).

Rusty: Practice this arpeggio ascending and descending.

Rusty: This next lick combines the arpeggio with the C major scale. That's something you can mess with on your own to come up with a lot of different ideas. Here is a short loop in C that you can practice the arpeggio against and the following licks. It is in 6/8 timing because we'll use it next week.

Looping Sound Clip 1

Rusty: You can practice with this loop using the C maj 7 arpeggio and adding in some scale runs with it. The next chord we would look at would be the IV chord of C major which is F. It's four tone arpeggio incrementing in thirds would also be a major 7 arpeggio.

F Major 7 Scale Tones

Rusty: I would use the same position we used for the C but move it up to the 13th fret.

Rusty: Practice this one forwards and backwards also.

Rusty: This lick doesn't resemble the arpeggio much and not supposed to, but if you can see the lick work around the arpeggio then you can also add them together to make some interesting stuff. One thing that is cool is the addition of the B note to this lick which could also be used in the arpeggio. For F, the note (B) is the #4 or b5, an important note to jazz players. However; they would also play a lick like this over the (I) chord -C. So, you can move it back to the 8th fret and play the same lick in C and notice the difference between it and the previously played Cmaj7 arpeggio.

Rusty: Combining those two ideas will drag your lead out longer making it more interesting. This next loop moves from a F6 to Fmaj7. Once we cover some basic arpeggios we'll add in extra scale tones such as 6, 9, 13, etc.

Looping Sound Clip 2

Rusty: The next chord we would look at would be the V chord of C which is a G. It's four tone arpeggio incrementing in thirds would be a Dom 7 arpeggio. The only thing that makes it different from a maj7 arpeggio is flatting back the 7th note making it dominant. Remember, you can always use a dominant 7 chord for your V chord in any major key.

G Dom7

Rusty: Using the same arpeggio pattern and moving back to the root note on the 3rd fret 6th string gives us this dominant 7 arpeggio pattern.

Rusty: Again, practice that one ascending and descending.

Rusty: This lick plays outside the arpeggio also. Which is quite common for comparing country and blues licks to the arpeggio. This next loop uses a G13 to a G7. The G13 is already a dom7 with the addition of the 6th or 13th note being E. Both will work in the Key of C.

Looping Sound Clip 3

Rusty: The final chord we will look at is the Amin7. It is the vi chord of C. It's scale tone sequence is (1,b3,5,b7). You can use this arpeggio over any minor chord.

A Minor7

Rusty: Notice the notes on the neck they will show you the scale tones.

Rusty: This lick doesn't use the (b7 or G) but you could easily add it in. It incorporates some triplets giving more of a classical touch. And this last loop uses an Am7 to an Amin7add9.

Looping Sound Clip 4

Rusty: Next week we will use these licks and arpeggios in a song similar to "Sleepwalk" We'll also jazz them up a bit to reflect a little more towards Setzer's style of playing. Plus we will alter them a lot breaking away from the strict pattern we used in this lesson.

Rusty: Thank you.



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