Eric Johnson Style Fast Ascending Arpeggios

This lesson is another in our style series focusing on the great Eric Johnson.

Eric Johnson is known for his seamless and fast guitar runs that encompass large portions of the neck. This lesson is going to focus on how he usually ascends during fast passages.

A large part of Eric Johnson's soloing style uses fast descending pentatonic phrases along with fast ascending arpeggio phrases that are picked using economy picking.

By no means am I saying that is everything that Eric does, on the contrary he mixes his playing up like almost no other guitarist on the planet. I am just bringing to your attention certain musical and technical devices that he favors over others.

Pay close attention to the picking hand in the lesson so you can fully understand the economy picking that is going on.

Here is the PDF download for this lesson.

Eric Johnson Style Fast Ascending Arpeggios PDF

Don't forget to let me know of any players that you would like to see a style series on!!

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Eric Johnson Style Fast Ascending Arpeggios

Related Lessons

Eric Johnson Style Pentatonics Lesson

Eric Johnson Style Open Voiced Arpeggios Lesson


  1. Grischa on December 23, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Hi there,
    very informative and great way of showing EJ ` style.

    • Carl Brown on December 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks I really appreciate it. There will be more EJ in the near future and I am also curious to know what other players you or anyone else would like to see profiled. 😀

  2. Flo on August 3, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Thank you so much for this great work. I think every guitarist will be a better musician by watching your videos.
    Is it possible to make a Steve Morse Workshop in the future? I like the country type kinda thing where he mixes the major and minor pentatonics or pentatonic/ mixolydian mode, but its hard to get it on guitat…
    Again, great work!!
    greetings from germany,

    • Carl Brown on August 3, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Hey Flo, thanks for the kind comment. Yes I plan on doing some stuff on Steve Morse eventually. I am actually not too terribly familiar with his work so I gotta do my research first. 😛 But I will get it up soon!! Thanks!!

      Carl 😀

      • Thomas Abbott on November 7, 2016 at 11:49 pm

        Hey Carl,
        I’m new and could only join the free lessons. Disabled Vets live on crap pensions. Anyway I read Flo’s comments and your’s concerning Steve Morse. I got hooked on his High Tension Wires release long ago. 1989. I think if you start your research there, Ghostwind is one of my favorites along with the rest of the album. It’s one of the best instrumental albums I’ve ever heard.It’s at the level of Erics cliffs of dover. Just an opinion

        Thanks for all you do

  3. Craig on September 17, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Hey man, i love your lessons! they have really helped me out a lot. i was looking for an arpeggio lesson and this was the only one on here that I could find. it would be great if you could do a lesson on some generic major and minor arpeggio forms and technique. i really struggle with synchronization and a lot of noise when i try the ones i know. i would like to figure out how to get a nice clean crisp sound out of the licks.
    thanks Carl

  4. jake on December 8, 2010 at 9:23 am

    i noticed that your thumb was above the neck when you did some of these licks, im taking a guitar class and the teacher told me to never do that, but i dont think it matters all that much, and having the thumb above makes legato riffs much easier, does it matter if the thumb can be seen over the neck sometimes?

    • Carl Brown on December 8, 2010 at 11:01 pm

      Hey Jake, can you let me know what type of guitar class it is? There are certain styles of guitar (ie. classical guitar) that use a wider neck nylon string guitar and for the most part you wouldn’t have your thumb over the neck if you were learning classical technique.

      But, for virtually any other style of guitar, if you watch ALL of your favorite players play they will constantly be positioning their thumbs over the top of the neck for certain techniques. It all really depends on the style and specific technique that you are playing. Not having the thumb over the neck will make many techniques found in rock, blues and metal very awkward.

      Carl.. 🙂

  5. jake on December 9, 2010 at 7:55 am

    it is a classical guitar class, so that makes sence now why he would tell me that, because he told me i should always have it in the middle, which is making three note per string legato very awkward, and trying to trill is becoming impossibly hard

  6. Jimmy D on April 4, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I would like to see any acoustic stuff by Rory Gallagher Especially his version of Blind Boy Fullers “Pistol Slapper Blues”

  7. Sam Rivera on April 13, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Hi Sir,

    this is so helpful. thank you so much for teaching everything you know.
    how do I get to download your vids?

  8. David Carriere on October 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Man, he starts that (lick #1) with an UPSTROKE and SWEEPS it! That bit always gave me trouble in Cliffs the two times it appears because I would alternate pick it. It never occurred to me to start that with an upstroke.

    You made my day man. That part FLIES now.

    (I actually feel slightly stupid for not trying it that way before)…

    • Carl Brown on October 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks for the kind comment David! Don’t feel stupid, it took me years and a lot of slow motion video to figure out what he was doing. 😀

      Enjoy the lessons and I hope to hear from you again really soon!!


  9. Paul Remigio on April 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This is an awesome lesson. Also digging the EJ solo style course.

  10. Eliseo on September 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Hey could you do a lesson on Lincoln Brewster

  11. Wayne on November 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Thanks for the great tips on unlocking Eric’s genius… One quick note: on example 1 of the tab, shouldn’t those last 2 notes be the 17th fret of the B string?

  12. neil booth on September 22, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Eric is easily one of my favourite guitar players ..Every note just flows ,makes it sound like a violin ,other guitarists i admire are ,not in any order .Tommy Bolin, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page, Paul Kossoff ,that Vibrato and laid back style !! .Peter Green ..Eddie Van Halen ..Satriani ..Jeff Beck ..Albert Collins

  13. Isak Nilsson on October 5, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Would it be possible to get some more EJ stuff? For example a walkthrough through the Cliffs of Dover (live at Austin) intro.

    Doesnt have to be a lesson of the intro, more like walking through the different techniques/scales/arpeggios etc used? Would be awesome!

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