Developing p,i,m,a,m,i arpeggio

by Alan Hirsh
The p,i,m,a,m,i arpeggio works most efficiently when organized as two sympathetic motions: i,m,a followed by m-i, with an opposed a,m in between.  This opposed movement is one of the more challenging aspects of the arpeggio and should be first isolated in a p,i,m,a, m-i pattern.   The m-i dyad also trains the fingers to prepare immediately after a plays. Begin by practicing this on open strings:

Next, apply this to alternating bass strings:

When secure, practice in a string crossing context:


The Mist

This preparatory study is played mostly in open position with a few momentary shifts to Pos III, producing a campanella effect (playing three scalar notes on three adjacent strings).  In the following excerpt (mm.3-4), G is played at V on (4), C at V on (3):

At m. 47, the Bb chord with 1 on F, requires some stretching and may take some practice.

Visualize on the fingerboard:

When proficient with The Mist, begin the p,i,m,a,m,i arpeggio.  This feels almost the same, except the 3rd beat dyad becomes a sympathetic m,i movement.  For more on the p,i,m,a,m,i apreggio, see The Shearer Method Book I, Classic Guitar Foundations, p.160.  Other studies that apply this arpeggio may also be found in Sheet Music section of the Shearer Studio.


  1. Matt Cosgrove

    I just started “The Mist” with one of my students. This is a really cool sounding piece. The chords remind me “The Unforgiven” from Metallica. Thanks for sharing these additional resources.

  2. alntom

    Many thanks Matt…so glad you’re enjoying the piece and finding it useful for your students!

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