Spanish Arpeggios and Trills

An étude is a short musical composition designed as an exercise to improve a specific technique or demonstrate a particular skill.

This arpeggio exercise was a section from a mediocre song I wrote years ago. However, I feel this riff is better served as an exercise to work on chordal arpeggios and trills. The wrist flexion during the latter major shapes is tough stuff!

I like these types of lessons because they’re musical — rather than playing random scales and chords.

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How to play Spanish Arpeggios and Trills (étude for guitar)

The fingerstyle style technique in this exercise, is something I borrowed from Gustavo Santaolalla: Each chord is comprised of 4 notes on 4 strings. Line your thumb, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers with the strings and pluck in succession. After a few tries it becomes really smooth and efficient. Voicing the chord this way also sounds more elegant.

If you’re a beginner guitar player, I recommend first learning this fingerstyle technique with this post.

With Spanish Arpeggios and Trills, I’m adding a trill on top of the chord — then cascading back down. As we get to the major C and Bb shapes, you’ll need to look like me at 1:05 in the video above: I have freakishly long arms so this is easy for me, but you’ll need to be low and underneath the neck of your guitar. Your wrist must must be totally flexed.

The guitar tab is a single page long, and beautifully written. In the video, I’m playing the étude three times through: medium tempo, slow tempo, and fast tempo.

Good luck with this, the guitar tab is available below:

Spanish Arpeggios and Trills is played in standard tuning.

Spanish Arpeggios and Trills (étude for guitar)